Activities For Dogs After Owner's Stroke

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Introduction

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. 

Dog Park

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Toy
Activity description

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. 

Step
1
Choose a park
If a stroke has affected your mobility and ability to drive, then it’s essential to find a park that’s as close to your home as possible. Not only does this make the distance shorter for if you’re hiring a taxi, but it can mean you have a better chance of being able to walk there if you can. After all, recovering after a stroke requires you to keep moving. If you’re not sure where your closest park is, look online or ring your local vet clinic.
Step
2
Play
After arriving at the park, your pup is bound to be excited about the fun that awaits. Introduce them slowly into the enclosure then enable them to introduce themselves to other dogs present. It’s also crucial to keep a safe distance from your dog and others that are playing. Strokes can affect your balance and dogs that are playing may cause you to fall or lose your balance.
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Food Puzzles

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treat
Food puzzle
Activity description

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.  

Step
1
Intelligence level
Before you purchase a food puzzle, take a moment to think about your dog’s intelligence level. Some pups have more smarts than others, which means that a food puzzle that works for one dog won’t work for another. While you may like to challenge your dog’s mental aptitude, they are more likely to lose interest if they have no idea about where to begin. Therefore, try and start at a lower level and purchase a more advanced one as they get the hang of how it works.
Step
2
Treats
Many dogs love food puzzles because they let them get treats through play, but as a rule of thumb, everything is okay in moderation. If your dog spends a lot of time with a food puzzle, it’s a good idea to consider healthier treats rather than prepackaged ones. Frozen sardines, cabbage, red pepper, and even pumpkin are all valid options. Or, if you require a paste for a food stuffer ball, spam or peanut butter also work well.
Step
3
Supervise play
When you choose to give your dog a food puzzle, you are onto a winner. You don’t have to worry about exercising when you’re not feeling up to it, and your dog won’t miss out and feel sad. However, you will still need to supervise the play in case your pup gets into mischief. Some dogs can be quite destructive, pulling toys apart to “find out” what’s inside.
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Short Walk

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
10 min
Items needed
Leash
Doggy waste bag
Activity description

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. 

Step
1
Consult your doctor
If you’re not sure if a short walk once per day is going to be in your best interests, then talk to your doctor. Often, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You may find that your doctor will encourage you to take part in physical exercise, but to be aware of your limitations. When you get a clean bill of health, you’ll benefit in so many ways.
Step
2
Plan routes
For a dog, going the same way for every 10-minute stroll will soon get boring – and probably for you as well. Therefore, you may find it’s going to be helpful to plan out several different 10-minute routes. These may include five minutes in one direction and five minutes home again. You can plan these on Google Maps – offering real-time previews of how long it will take you.
Step
3
Go walking
With your doctor informed, your dog on their leash and a route planned, it’s time to hit the road. Your first walk after not having gone for one for some time is going to be slow, and that’s okay. Take your time, make sure your dog walks at a steady pace, and don’t be afraid to stop and rest. Dogs like to smell things, so use those opportunities to take a quick breather before making your way home again.
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More Fun Ideas...

Ball Thrower

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. 

Laser Game

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! 

Conclusion

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.