Every 40 seconds, someone suffers a stroke. It is number five on the list of the most common causes of death in the United States and affects around 800,000 Americans every year. While a standard outcome is dying, strokes are entirely survivable. However, they can have lasting effects which mean you may not be as active as you used to be. Not only do those with the stroke suffer, but so too does that person’s pet. Stroke victims are no longer able to provide their dogs with as much exercise, nor are they able to act in the same way the dog remembers. It can be a period of adjustment, but many stroke sufferers are still able to provide their dog with all the love, attention, and stimulation they require. We’ve included some of those options below.
Rather than have your dog rely on you to exercise them, you can let them burn off steam with other dogs at a dog park. On a sunny day, there’s often nothing better than heading outdoors with man’s best friend for an hour of fun. If you aren’t able to drive the distance to the park, it may be helpful to arrange for a dog-friendly taxi to pick you up or a family member or friend who may live near. Sometimes, a trip to the dog park can also be a chance for you to get out and enjoy social engagement for other people as well. Therefore, it’s a win-win for both owner and dog.
If physical activity is harder than it used to be, then there’s no harm in substituting some of your dog’s simulation activities with indoor food puzzle fun. Food puzzles are an excellent way to keep your dog entertained indoors in any weather, or when it’s raining out. While buying the toy can cost a little bit of money, it’s bound to provide at least an hour of entertainment. You will almost be able to see their brain hard at work trying to figure out how to get the treat! What’s more, even though you aren’t able to walk them as much or take them places, food puzzles mean your dog isn’t short of attention or stimulation.
For many stroke sufferers, physical activity in small doses is still quite crucial. If your dog walks well on the leash, doesn’t pull, and won’t drag you off when they see wildlife, then there’s no reason why you can’t continue with your walks. Set 10 minutes aside every day to take your pampered pooch for a stroll along your street. Take it slow, build up strength in your body, and benefit from a free activity that feels invigorating in the summer sun. All you need is a leash, a doggy waste bag, and one very well behaved dog, and you can head out for a short walk.
If your dog loves playing fetch, but you don’t have the arm strength anymore, your dog doesn’t have to miss out. There are now ball throwers on the market specifically designed for your dog to take control of their game. They can put the toy in the hole of the unit, then wait for it to shoot out. It also doesn’t take long for the dog to pick up that if they put a ball in there, they can have a lot of fun.
Finding activities that tire your dog out but not yourself is challenging, but it’s not impossible. A laser game using a pet-friendly laser lets you sit in one place while your dog does all the work. Point the laser along the floor in an open space with poor lighting, and let them run rings around it trying to get it. After 20 minutes, they will be no closer to catching that elusive red light, but they’ll be worn out and ready to nap!
A stroke is a serious medical event that can change your life forever. However, even though you may have lost some of your physical and emotional strength, you don’t have to lose your dog. If you think outside the square a little, you will find there are many pawesome activities your pampered pooch is bound to love – many of which require little to no physical exertion.