Activities For Dogs After Leg Surgery

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Introduction

A dog recovering from leg surgery needs time to get over the experience. Anesthesia may take several hours to wear off and then your pet must be allowed time to heal, so provide a secure, quiet place that will contain them during this period. Once your pet is more themselves, they may want to start moving around. Follow your veterinarian's advice regardless of how good your dog may seem. Keep them on a leash when you take them outside for toileting purposes, or they may take off on you and do themselves an injury. Dogs are not the best of patients; they want to get moving, they want to be busy. Try to provide a variety of activities that restrict movement but tax their mental abilities. Activities can be a good gentle massage to soothe their body and soul, teaching your dog targeting by getting them to touch an item with a paw or nose, and offering puzzle games to stretch their minds. Remember to reward them with a little treat for all their hard work.

Therapeutic Massage

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 to 30 min
Items needed
warm cushion
Soft music
Activity description
A massage can be very therapeutic and relaxing for your dog. An injured pet will enjoy a gentle massage from their owner which will relieve stress, reduce the pain, and help to eliminate toxins, allowing your dog to heal. If you have never massaged your dog before, get some advice on how to do it from your veterinarian. They will show you the areas to avoid, as a dog that feels sudden pain may bite in response. Never apply too much pressure on your dog's body, and take careful note of their body language. If they are not enjoying it, then stop. You might want to get an expert in dog massaging in, to show you a few steps. The whole experience should be relaxing for your dog and strengthen your friendship.
Step
1
Set up the massage area
Find a nice quiet place for you and your dog and place a few cushions and blankets around for your dog to snuggle into. Play some soft music; you could even burn some natural incense like pine trees or something similar - just don't over do it. Get settled in and get ready to start.
Step
2
Begin with patting
Talk gently to your dog, and start to stroke their fur gently. The more rhythmic you can make it the better. As your dog relaxes, gently introduce some massage moves that you have learned from your veterinarian. Gently move the muscles, and stroke and massage as close as it is comfortable to the injury site. The moment your dog winces or starts to look stressed, stop immediately and just pat their head and ears gently.
Step
3
Vary the strokes
Stronger strokes can be made around the chest and ears, or even on the back. But be light and gentle near their injury. After a relaxing time, praise your doggo for being such a brave pooch. A small reward will be wolfed down, and this new activity will have gained a devoted follower - your dog.
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Puzzle Play

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 60 min
Items needed
New Kong or food puzzle toy
Variety of small treats
Activity description

Using a puzzle toy to challenge your dog's mental ability will keep your dog entertained for hours. The Kong toy can be prepared with a lot of hidden treats inside, and your dog will have to learn to poke, prod, turn and shake the toy to get a reward. While it isn't a tough physical game, it will challenge them to focus and work out how to get those yummy treats out. There is a range of toys that can be stuffed with treats and they are perfect for a housebound dog who is recuperating from leg surgery. If your dog has never had a toy like this before, they may need your help to discover that the more they work on it, the more treats they get! Encourage your dog to get every single treat, and they will have earned themselves a good rest afterwards.

Step
1
Stuff the toy with goodies
Whatever puzzle toy you have, fill it up with treats as instructed by the manufacturer. Then, introduce the toy to your bored pooch. One sniff and they will try to see where the treat is. Help them if they have never had a food puzzle toy before. One treat is all they need before they will be trying everything in their power to get more goodies out of the toy.
Step
2
Upgrade to a tougher toy
A variation of this game is to start with a fairly easy food puzzle toy to begin with, then change to a harder one when your dog thinks they have mastered it. Change the treats for variety and watch them go. You can almost hear those little cogs turning in their brain as they think it all through.
Step
3
Don't overdo it
These types of games are fun, but give them a break from it after they have mastered it once. Remember they are eating, yet not exercising, so you need to be careful that you don't 'over treat' them. Variety is the spice of life. Play once a day or every second or third day as a special treat. Give your recovering pet something to get excited about.
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Painting Fun

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
A few sheets of paper
Non -toxic, dog-friendly paint
low easel (optional)
Paintbrushes and sturdy pots
Treats
Wet cloth and towel
Activity description
Well, we have all heard about animal artists that have made it big! Maybe your dog is an undiscovered master such as Leonardo da Vinci? This game can get messy, so an outdoor area is probably best. Your dog can sit or lie where it is most comfortable and watch as you set up the game. Then you just have to be patient while you train your dog to pick up the paint brush from a container, and dab it onto the paper. The idea is to give your dog plenty of encouragement. They can choose any color to get going, then later you can train them to chose a color. Each time they use a color call it by name. This can be a lot of messy fun, but they will enjoy the mental challenge, and it is easy to clean everything up afterwards. This game is entertaining for everyone and who knows, maybe someone will be willing to pay thousands for Woof-a-lot da Vinci's paintings.
Step
1
Art outdoors
Find a spot for your dog, and get them set up and comfortable. A sheltered spot is best. Then, set up a low easel with a sheet of paper or just have the paper on its own laying flat, and have it within reach of your dog. Mix three or four solid pots of paint (so that they are hard for puppy to tip over) and have these within reach and with a paint brush in each one.
Step
2
Art class
Show your dog what you want them to do. For example, you may want to hold a small treat under the paint brush to encourage your dog to take it in their mouth. Then holding the brush guide them to dunk it on the paper and make a big fuss when they 'draw'. It will be slow going at first, but will really challenge them mentally. Teach them the colors as they go to each pot.
Step
3
Advanced art class
As they progress, you can ask them to use a color. For example you could say 'blue paint' or 'yellow paint' and they will soon catch on. The first time they play this game they may not achieve much, but they deserve praise and reward for trying. Afterwards, wash the paint off of them, clean up the area, and then go inside with your pooch to have a snuggle and television time. You may find they doze off to sleep, tired out from their artistic day.
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More Fun Ideas...

Brush up on Training Commands

While your dog is recovering, it is a perfect time to sit with them and go over a few commands that they should know. If your dog hasn't yet learned to take food gently from your hand, now is the time to teach them. Be patient, and say 'gently' if they go to grab, but if they take it gently then praise them highly and reward them. Commands such as 'leave it' and 'drop it' are potentially live saving commands that most dogs should learn. You can even teach your dog to learn the name of their toys. Each time you pick up a toy, call it a name. Do this often, then ask your dog to 'get the pink pig' and see if they can choose it from a selection of toys placed within their nose reach. It is all good mental agility work and is good for your dog.

Gentle Tug of War

While your dog is recovering, you can sit with them on the bed in a nice sunny (but not hot) location and play a gentle game of tug of war with them. You can use a rope or even a squishy ball and just engage in a gentle pull and tug with your sore puppy. Your dog will love this quality time with you. Adapting a few of your usual games will provide a gentle variation that your dog will enjoy. Even just rolling the ball back and forth will keep your dog interested; teach them to push the ball back with their nose or paw. But never leave your dog on the bed alone, they may try to jump off and hurt themselves.

A Walk in a Stroller

If your dog is a small to average sized dog, you can still take them out on a walk to the park. But in this case, you are the one walking, while your dog is buckled in to ensure their safety within a child or pet's stroller. Snuggled up and secure, they get to enjoy the motion of the stroller, and can smell the air. This way, both you and your dog can still get out and about and enjoy the scenery. Plan a different route each day, and off you go with your furbaby.

Conclusion

Recovery needs time, and yet it doesn't have to mean the boredom blues for your companion. With the right activities, you can keep them occupied and distracted from their predicament so that they still enjoy family time and even outings. Any dog will enjoy a car ride, set up with soft blankets and buckled in for safety. With a view out the window, they will be happy to cruise for hours. Gentle massage techniques can be learned from your veterinarian, puzzles games can be easily implemented, and nose games such as hiding a treat under one of many cups are cheap and easy to set up. Check with your veterinarian whether you dog can take short easy walks. There are many things you can do to make your buddy's life more bearable through the healing process. All it takes is some 'pawsitive' thinking and a creative mind.