Big or small, short or tall, young or old -- all dogs need some level of exercise or stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. But when you’re laid up after surgery, keeping your four-pawed pal entertained can be particularly challenging. And the situation isn’t just bad for dogs, either. A lot of owners feel guilty when they can’t play with their pupper, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to look after yourself!
Luckily, all is not lost. We’ve put together a list of furrific activities you can do with your doggo when your mobility is impaired.
While it shouldn’t replace physical exercise entirely (at least not for long periods of time), mental stimulation can tire a pooch out almost as well as physical stimulation. Even when you’re in the peak of health, mental exercise is very important to a pup’s development, and can stop energetic pooches from tearing up the couch!
The Shell Game is an easy, cheap and effective way to get your pup’s brain going, and is suitable for breeds of almost all intelligence levels. It works the same way as it does for humans, except with dog treats instead of a coin. All you need is some plastic cups and some smelly treats. One word of warning, though -- the cups will need to be at your dog’s nose height, so this game may require some bending on your part. If you’re not able to bend, try something else, like a food puzzle (see below).
If you really can’t move, and your buddy needs to, having them chase a remote-controlled toy car is a grrr-eat way to get them going while you stay stationary. You can even do this activity from your bed if necessary! However, if you don’t have small, vehicle-obsessed children, a remote-controlled car might be a bit of an investment. This one can work both indoors and out, but it might be best to do it outside if your pooch is on the larger side. If you do have small, vehicle-obsessed children, you can ask them to assist. Otherwise, all you’ll need is the car, a treat, and a fairly good awareness of things that your pup can bump into.
For some dogs, flashlights and laser pointers can work almost as well as a toy car, plus they give you a greater ability to control the speed.
This will definitely depend on your mobility level and location, but if you can leave the house and there’s a dog-friendly beach, river, or creek nearby, swimming is pawesome way for a pup to get exercise off-leash and with little input from you.