Activities For Dogs On Crate Rest

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Introduction

Imagine you were told you had to stay in bed for a few weeks to rest after having a procedure.  Chance are, you would not be too thrilled about the idea but unlike your dog, who was just order to crate rest, you understand why it is necessary.  Your dog, on the other hand, has no idea why their life suddenly went from free and happy to stuck in a small space all day.  When your dog's veterinarian orders your pooch to crate rest, you have to take doctor's orders serious, but that does not mean your best friend has to suffer in silence.  Fortunately, there are several activities dog can do with their dogs while they are on crate rest that will help keep them healthy and happy.

Puzzle Time

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Puzzle toys
Kibble or treats
Activity description

When you take away your dog's exercise, you have to make sure their minds stay active while they are on crate rest.  If they are left alone, and without anything to actively engage their minds, they may develop depression, anxiety, or nervous habits that make healing more difficult.  Chew toys and puzzle toys that unlock treats and kibble are excellent ways to actively engage your dog while you cannot be with them full time. If your dog has never had a reward-based toy, there may be a learning curve.  Be sure you are monitoring your dog's food and water intake during their crate rest to ensure they are getting enough of both.  Keeping your dog healthy is critical while they are healing. 

Step
1
Purchase reward-based toys
Reward-based toys, such as the Kong or other puzzle games, stimulate your dog’s mind. Your dog can smell the treat or the food inside the toy and will work in relative peace to extract the goodies. You can use reward-based toys to give your dog their treats and part of their food. However, you do not want to rely on the toy to feed your dog. Your dog will need plenty of food and water to regain their health.
Step
2
Monitor your dog's process
Your dog may have a difficult time unlocking the treats or food from the puzzle toy. They will try for a while because they can smell the food inside. You need to check in on your dog and see how much of the food they have successfully been able to unlock. You may have to supplement their food bowls with the missing kibble from the toy in case your dog was not completely successful in opening the food. Additionally, you do not want to overfeed your dog while they are on crate rest because this may lead to weight gain since your dog is unable to exercise properly.
Step
3
Use other toys
Even the most intelligent of dogs who can quickly unlock their food treats will tire of the same old game after a while. You want to give your dog plenty of options when they are on crate rest. Does your dog have a favorite toy they enjoy cuddling with or a squeaker toy they love to chew? Find these and other toy options to keep your dog company while you cannot be with them. As soon as you’re able to go back to your dog, fill their puzzle toy with goodies again, and play with them with their toys to help them cope with crate rest.
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Cuddle Time

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Blanket
Leash and harness
Activity description

Your dog will most likely feel confused and possibly depressed the longer they stay in confinement in their crate.  You can let your dog out while you’re home and able to give your dog your full attention and one of the best activities for the both of you is cuddling.  You can cuddle at any time and in any weather condition since this activity is done indoors.  Cuddling is, as always, free and it brings a lot of joy to both you and your dog.  After a long day at the office and a long day of confinement, both you and your dog will find comfort in the moments you spend on the couch, watching your favorite show or movie.  You do not need a blanket for this activity, but it does not hurt to have a soft one nearby for cuddling.      

Step
1
Greeting your dog
Invite your dog to cuddle with you after your dog has eaten their dinner and is resting again. It is crucial that you do not over excite your dog while they are in the crate or out of the crate. Slowly open the crate with a gentle voice and try to soothe your canine companion, who may be overjoyed at the prospect of seeing you and getting out the crate. Potty breaks are always a good idea before you cuddle up to a movie. Grab your dog’s leash and gently take them outside, stay close to their body so they don’t try to pull away as soon as the door to the outside world opens.
Step
2
Get comfortable
Making your dog as comfortable as possible will keep them from wanting to run off and play as soon as they are free of the crate. Grab their favorite blanket or another soft blanket and let your dog curl up in it with you. After a long day in the crate, your dog will be in need of some attention and affection so come prepared to give them lots of love and pats. Stroking their coats, scratching behind their ears, and rubbing under their chins will give your dog the necessary love and attention they have needed all day.
Step
3
Keeping them comfortable and content
Once you have committed to a comfortable cuddle spot, you need to keep you dog contented in place. A harness and short leash might be required at first to prevent your dog from jumping off the couch and chasing after the cat who relentlessly teases your dog in their injured state. Treats are an excellent way to get your dog to stay with you if the petting and rubbing does not do it alone. The key with any crate rest-activity is routine. After a time, your dog will understand what it is you want them to do and they will do their best to please you. Be patient, offer love, and if they appear too restless, get them back to the safety of the crate, as much as it may break your heart.
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Fresh Air Break

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
20 - 30 min
Items needed
Pet stroller or wagon
Leash and harness
Treats
Activity description

Going for a stroll to get some fresh air while on crate rest may seem like going against the veterinarian’s order, but it is not if you don’t let your dog walk.  Smaller dogs have the advantage when it comes to strolling because they can either be held or placed in a pet stroller.  Going outside is beneficial for your dog while they are on crate rest because they have the opportunity to see new sights and smell new smells.  You want to have a leash and harness on your dog, even though they are in a pet stroller.  This will keep them safe at all times and prevent them from running off if they are able to get loose.  For larger dogs, you will need a wagon, a blanket, and a second walking companion to keep a close eye and hand on your dog. Generally, you want to take in the fresh air on pleasant, sunny days so you dog can experience the best the outdoors has to offer them.  This activity can also be moderately expensive because you will have to buy a pet stroller, or in the case of larger dogs, a wagon.     

Step
1
Get your walking gear together
Most dogs on veterinarian ordered crate rest are unable to take walks, but this should not stop your dog from enjoying the fresh air and smells of outside. However, you will have to get creative, especially if you have a large dog. Smaller dogs have more options when it comes to carriers for outdoor exploration. Small dogs can comfortably fit in pet strollers or pet backpacks that securely contain your dog behind a breathable mesh while allowing your pooch to feel the warmth of the sun and the smells of the outdoors. For larger dogs, you will have to get a wagon, preferably with high sides. Grab a blanket and of course, your dog’s leash and harness. You have to secure your dog in the wagon and prevent them from jumping out at the first sign of a squirrel or neighbor cat. Bring a spotter companion along for the walk who can hold your dog’s harness or stay close enough to grab a hold of it before it’s too late is equally important.
Step
2
Get your dog ready
Fresh air is necessary and so is your dog’s safety. Ensuring they will not hurt themselves starts with getting them from their confinement. Excitement might happen each time you come to unlock your dog, so you have to wait until they calm down before letting them out. Once your dog is calm enough, take them out of their crate and make sure their harness and leash are secured to them before walking or carrying them to the stroller or wagon. Once you have your dog secured in their pet stroller or cart, you can begin your walk outside. It is always best if you bring along a walking companion of the human kind to assist you with watching your dog.
Step
3
Enjoy your walk but keep it short
The fresh air and warm sun are a novelty to a dog on crate rest. Unless their crate or pen is placed outside, your dog will most likely not experience much of the outdoors while on crate rest. The stroll outside in the cart will be beneficial, but you must also keep it short. Dogs will, after a time, potentially develop a restlessness to get out and run in the grass or chase a neighbor's cat, and a dog on crate rest can do some serious harm to themselves if you allow this to happen. Stay vigilant and watchful over your dog’s current state. If you detect restlessness is increasing, you might have to cut your stroll short and return to a safe and controlled environment indoors. If this is the case, fall back on some of the mind stimulating games and puzzles inside once you have your dog secured adequately in their crate or pen.
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More Fun Ideas...

Give Massages

Your dog will need a lot of attention, including pets, pats, and rubs.  Giving your dog massages will communicate love to them and help then cope with their current situation.  However, be sure to ask your veterinarian first about how to handle your dog and where not to touch.

Practice Tricks

A dog on crate rest has an active mind and needs more mental stimulation to make up for the lack of physical exertion.  Practicing tricks like paw, ears up, and lick nose can help your dog pass the time while stimulating their minds and strengthening your bond.

Conclusion

If our dogs could talk, they would certainly say "crate rest stinks."  However, under veterinarian's orders, crate rest is sometimes necessary and hopefully temporary for our canine companions.  No matter how much it breaks your heart, you must follow orders, but you can make it easier on your dog by providing them with plenty of mental stimulation as well as emotional support through frequent cuddles, pats, and as much time out of the crate as possible.  Always make sure your dog's activities align with what you veterinarian requires for your dog and hopefully your pooch will be back their normal self and running amuck in the backyard again soon.