is hard to watch your dog recovering from any type of surgery. Knee surgery is
especially hard because their mobility is limited while they are recovering and there is usually some type of physical therapy needed to keep their knee
from becoming too weak or tight from nonuse. There are activities that you can
do at home to help your dog keep from becoming overly bored while they are
recovering. Be sure to consult your veterinarian prior to doing any activity
with your dog following knee surgery.
Hydrotherapy is a great way to work your dog’s knee after surgery without bearing weight on the joint. Do not start hydrotherapy until any stitches or staples have been removed and your veterinarian has given permission. Hydrotherapy can basically be done anywhere there is a body of water including a pool, unheated hot tub, lake or even bathtub. If you do not have to sign up at an actual pet rehabilitation facility and can perform hydrotherapy at home, it is cheap. A pet rehabilitation center will cost much more. A life vest will be needed if you are using a pool or larger body of water; you probably do not need a life vest for a bathtub or unheated hot tub. Do not leave your dog unattended during a hydrotherapy session.
There are numerous puzzles that are available on the market to keep dogs entertained. If you happen to be crafty, you can make your own puzzles for your dog. Some people even simply use a muffin tin, tennis balls and treats to keep them entertained and boredom at bay. As your dog recovers from knee surgery, they will be fighting boredom as their normal activities have to be curtailed while they recover. Most canine puzzles are cheap or moderately priced and range from easy to solve to difficult. Your dog’s skill level will improve as they work with puzzles daily during their recovery time.
Taking your dog for long walks through the neighborhood is an excellent way for both of you to get your daily exercise. However, after your dog has gone through knee surgery it is a good idea to curtail this activity until your veterinarian gives your dog the go ahead to resume all normal activities. Even then, walks should be kept short in the beginning and then lengthened as your dog’s knee strengthens after surgery. Be aware of your dog’s needs and only take short walks that will not tire them easily and allows them to get a little exercise. Generally, 10 to 15 minute walks will be more than plenty and in some cases, you may want to start with an easy five minute walk to make sure they are ready.
Canine massage can easily be done even immediately following knee surgery. This is an activity that relaxes your dog, especially following the stress of going through surgery. Canine massage is a free activity that can be done in any weather since you will most likely be inside. When massaging your dog, be sure to avoid the knee that was operated on so you do not cause pain to your dog.
Most dogs recovering from knee surgery will be confined to a small space for a time while they heal. Once they are allowed to be up and moving, they will want to resume their normal activities but you will have to keep them from re-injuring the knee or causing more damage by doing too much too soon. A game of hide and seek is a way to keep them from overdoing it and give them bonding time with you. Be sure to give them plenty of praise and a reward when they successfully find either you or the hidden object.
While it can be frightening to have your dog go into surgery, it can also be a time for you to strengthen the bond between you as they heal from their operation. Bonding will come from doing different activities together that will help them heal and give you the opportunity to try new things. Before starting any activity with your dog that has had knee surgery be sure to talk with your veterinarian regarding their limitations and the recovery process.