Activities For Dogs After Hysterectomy

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Introduction

When you have a female dog and are weighing up your options for how to prevent accidental breeding, hysterectomies can often come into the equation. For larger dogs, a hysterectomy is a valid form of spaying that may even help to extend your dog’s lifespan. While there are other spaying methods, new studies show that in large dogs, hormonal imbalances are preventable, as are some diseases, by removing the entire uterus but keeping the ovaries. Just like a traditional method of spaying, however, there is a period of recovery. For some dogs, the quiet time of no physical exercise can be a lot to handle. If both you and your pup are struggling, we’ve included a few fun (and quiet) options to stimulate the mind while the body recovers. 

Dog Massage

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Any Day
Free
Normal
10 min
Items needed
Hands
Activity description

While it might be an unusual concept to massage your dog, it’s a valid form of therapy. It’s common for treatment of elderly dogs, but can be useful in relieving pain and discomfort, as well as helping your dog to relax. When your dog is sore and doesn’t know why they are, there’s every reason to believe they will be a little bit panicky and maybe a little upset. Therefore, a gentle massage can help to calm them down. While there are experts to undertake a proper massage, you can carry out a gentle non-targeted one at home in any weather. It’s an easy 10-minute and free process where you only need the use of your hands. 

Step
1
Start patting
Rather than begin massaging right away – risking a confused dog who wants to get away from you – start the process by gently patting them. By doing so, you’re able to relax them, get them into a calm space, and have them get used to the repetition of having your hands rub over their fur. What’s more, it may even lull them off to sleep – something that can be quite challenging when all they feel is discomfort.
Step
2
Move to the neck
With a bit more force, rub your hands in a circular motion along the back of your dog’s neck. Typically, there is a bit of fur, skin, and fat in this region. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior as well. Are they looking more relaxed? If not, release the pressure and begin gentle patting. Your dog should be more comfortable than they were with patting.
Step
3
Start on shoulders
As you work the neck, move down to your pup’s joints, where they usually can’t reach themselves. Use the same technique of a circular motion but also feel for harder areas that may hold tension. Use a little bit of pressure and run your hands in a circular motion – all the while paying attention to their body language. The ultimate goal is for your dog to fall asleep after the experience.
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Chew Toys

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
2 hrs
Items needed
Chew toys
Activity description

If your dog loves to chew, then there’s every reason to grab your wallet and head to the stores to spoil them rotten. Remember, your dog doesn’t know why they’re sore, so if you’re usually one to pamper your pooch, don’t stop now. Your pup will love nothing more than seeing you walk through the door armed with new chew toys. The best part is, they can happily chew them inside, spending at least two hours with their mind stimulated. They can be more expensive than regular toys, but the payoff for your dog’s brain to be on something other than pain is worth it. 

Step
1
Know your dog
Before you go and buy toys, it’s a good idea to be aware of your pup’s chewing habits. Some dogs, such as Terriers, will have any toy in pieces in seconds. If you know your dog is typically quite destructive, pay attention to the toy labeling. Some toys are targeted toward tough chewers so that they last longer.
Step
2
Buy the toys
Now that you know which toys you require, it’s time to get out the wallet. You may wish to purchase more than one – in case that “indestructible” toy ends up not being so. It also helps to read the packaging before you give them to your dog. Do they feature any toxins or small parts? Knowledge is power.
Step
3
Supervise the fun
Whenever you give your dog something to chew and play with, you should always supervise. However, when your dog is recovering from a hysterectomy, you should monitor them even closer. You want to make sure they aren’t putting any pressure on the wound site and aren’t making a mess with a broken toy as well.
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Food Puzzles

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Food puzzles
Treats
Activity description

After surgery, your dog’s appetite can be a little off for a few days. While you can try them with a different food or feed smaller portions, you can also opt for food puzzles. Food puzzles are typically quite moderately priced and provide both mental stimulation and a treat. You can also make them or buy them yourself. For the sake of keeping your dog immobile, a purchased food puzzle is a preferred option. Once you put a treat in them, they’re bound to keep your pup entertained for at least an hour. Even when your dog isn’t injured, food puzzles are also a great indoor activity for when the rain outside won’t let up.

Step
1
Choose a puzzle
Because you want to keep your dog as immobile as possible, a ball or similar-shaped toy you can fill with treats is going to be the best option. It won’t require your dog to stand up or move around, and they can quite happily lie down and get the treats out as well.
Step
2
Select treats
If your dog is suffering from a low appetite post-surgery, it’s more important to focus on getting them to eat food rather than worrying about whether it’s healthy or not. You can try their regular kibble, or you can even opt for store-bought dog treats and natural options such as pumpkin and frozen sardines. Try whatever will work, while being aware of what dogs can’t eat.
Step
3
Supervise always
Because you don’t want your pup to aggravate their wound, you will need to supervise their playtime. Even if you’re in the same room watching TV, you want to make sure they are trying to remove the treat, rather than running around the room or trying to pull out their stitches. However, they are sure to be too enthralled by the treat that appears to be “stuck” in their new ball.
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More Fun Ideas...

Choose a Hand

Choose a Hand is a fun game for dogs who can’t move around too much. Put a treat in one hand, then ask your dog to choose one. Encourage them to go for either one or the other to ensure they get to grips with what the game entails. When they go for the side with the treat, release it to them and start again. 

Targeting

This game consists of having your dog sit still, something you want to encourage, but using their brain and one paw or their nose. The aim is to teach your dog to touch something on the ground that you want them to touch, then rewarding them for the behavior. For example, if you placed a piece of paper on the ground, you would try to coax your pup to touch it. While it might not seem like a fun game for you, your dog’s brain is working overtime to figure out what it is you want them to do. 

Conclusion

It’s never any fun for your dog or you to go through any form of surgery. However, even harder than the procedure is trying to keep your dog quiet during recovery. These peaceful activities above may be the ticket to helping your dog recover in the safest manner possible. Just be sure to treat them with a fun walk when they've recovered and are ready for physical activity again.