Activities For Dogs With a Torn Ligament

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Introduction

No matter how much we care for our fur babies, sometimes accidents happen. With older dogs, or those who are more out of shape, physical activities can cause injuries from time to time; and a common injury that can be seen in such situations is a torn ligament. Ligaments are vital for movement, and when one is torn, too much movement can cause a lot of pain and prolonged healing for the injury. So, if your dog experiences a torn ligament, it is extremely important to keep them as calm and still as possible. Depending on the type of dog that you have, such a task may seem almost impossible! But the good news is that there are still plenty of activities that can be done in order to help your dog to heal as well as keep them from being too bored. By trying some of these suggestions while the injury is healing, your dog should be on the way back to being a healthy and happy pup in no time!

Acupuncture

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Veterinarian
Activity description
While acupuncture may seem like an odd thing to consider for your pets, it is actually a rather beneficial practice when done by an experienced individual. It is very important to keep in mind that one should never do acupuncture on their own unless they have had proper training in the skill. A veterinarian who specializes in such things as acupuncture will always be the best choice in order to ensure your pet's safety and well being. If you are not sure what acupuncture is, it is a non-drug treatment that uses tiny metal needles to pin-point specific points on the body. This practice is well-known for helping with recovery, and can be used as either the primary therapy, supportive adjunctive therapy, or a backup and alternative therapy if regular treatment seems to be inadequate. Acupuncture helps by easing pain as well as stimulating specific organs or body parts and is great for issues such as respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal problems, neurological issues, and musculoskeletal injuries (such as torn tendons and sprains).
Step
1
Find a vet
Choosing the best caregiver for your pet who specializes in the treatment you're looking for is extremely important. Keeping your pet's best interest in mind, read reviews and consider carefully the vet you would like to perform the acupuncture. While this practice is not necessarily life threatening, you want to make sure that your dog will be comfortable and safe through the entire process!
Step
2
Express concerns and thoughts
Once you find the best vet, it is important to speak with them about the process and express any concerns that you may have. A good vet will be able to put those concerns to rest and explain exactly what will happen during the acupuncture session, and how it will benefit your dog. If you feel comfortable with the vet and their knowledge, then you can proceed with helping your pup through this activity of recovery.
Step
3
Repeat as necessary
If you find that the acupuncture doesn't seem to do much for your injured pup, that's alright! There are always many other methods that can help heal the injury, such as Laser Acupuncture (for those dogs who do not handle needles well). However, if acupuncture does help to ease your dog's pain and discomfort, then speak with the vet regarding future visits and how long this treatment will be needed. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and your dog will receive exactly what they need to make a speedy recovery.
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Physical Therapy

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Any Day
Expensive
Normal
1hr
Items needed
Rehabilitation Center for Canines
Activity description
Although physical therapy is technically something that humans tend to benefit from the most, you may be surprised to know that there is physical therapy available for all kinds of animals as well. Canine therapy (also known as canine rehabilitation) is a way to get a dog up and moving again after an injury. This is extremely important as animals who do not begin to gain mobility again can suffer from ailments such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and bed sores. Thanks to rehabilitation centers popping up in veterinary offices around the country, animals are now able to take advantage of the same attention and care that humans receive; thus speeding up recovery time substantially. While this is a relatively expensive process, if you are willing to pay the price, it is truly beneficial to get your dog into a rehabilitation program in order to gain full mobility back to the injured tendon as quickly as possible.
Step
1
Pick A therapist
Just like with acupuncture, you will want to find a physical therapist who is going to be the best fit for your dog. Handing over something you care about in order for them to receive treatment can be quite difficult at times, so it is important that you can trust whoever will be helping your dog work back to a full recovery!
Step
2
Follow instructions
Unless you have some kind of experience with physical therapy, you will need to listen carefully to what your dog's therapist suggests for recovery. Such requirements may be certain stretches that you help your dog perform in the injured area, particular massage techniques, or designated walk times. Whatever the suggestions may be, it will be in your dog's best interest to follow them. Be sure to ask questions if you aren't totally confident in a suggestion and have clear communication with the therapist; this will help your dog get back up on their paws as quickly as possible.
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Massage

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Essential oils (optional)
Activity description
Massaging your pet is a great way to bond with them while also bringing a bit of comfort as they are healing. Even if you do not feel comfortable massaging the injured area, just rubbing their ears, face, and tummy will be a great way to distract them from the area that is hurting!
Step
1
Get comfy
Bring your dog into a comfortable position with their head either on your lap or on the ground beside you. Make sure that the injured area is not in any danger of being hit or jostled through the activity.
Step
2
Find the favorites
If your dog has a favorite place to be rubbed, perhaps start there. Whether that is massaging the ears or even the bridge of the nose, your dog will begin to relax as they are familiar (and comfortable) with this area being massaged. Stay away from the injured area if you do not feel comfortable working with it. If a paw is injured, you can rub the others and up the legs. Belly rubs tend to be a fan favorite for most dogs, so don't forget to his that spot once or twice!
Step
3
Using oils
Essential oils are an excellent way to aid in healing and promote a sense of calm in those who use them. These amazing products of the earth can definitely be used on animals, but it is vital that you speak with a vet about the correct oils to use for your pet and always dilute the strength of the pure essential oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut or almond). The general rule is to dilute three drops of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil to make sure that they are at a safe strength for your pet. You can them massage the oil mixture onto the injured area gently, or on other parts of the body (such as the bridge of the nose) to help promote relaxation.
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More Fun Ideas...

Bones or Kongs

With most dogs, the way to their heart is through the stomach. So, if you need something to keep an active dog that has been injured occupied, a great tool is a stuffed bone (perhaps with peanut butter) or a Kong. These toys are excellent distractions and do not take a lot of movement to enjoy. If it is summer time, you can even freeze the Kong to make whatever goodies are inside last longer. A great combination for a Kong recipe is peanut butter, oats, and banana pieces (just be sure you know what your dog enjoys before feeding it to them, as each individual is different).

Snuggle Fest

No one likes to be injured, and sometimes a good cuddle or pat can really make a big difference. So if you can't come up with anything else to do with your injured doggo (or they are just to sore to care about participating in anything) spend just a bit of time loving on them and letting them know that you are there. This will  boost their spirits and hopefully spur them towards a quick and painless recovery.

Puzzle Toys

Toys that stretch your dog's mind while their muscles rest are a great way to entertain an injured dog. These puzzle toys offer quite a bit variety so that you can bump up the amount of activity allowed as your dog recovers. For instance, at the beginning, a toy that simply takes a bit of nuzzling to get the reward out would be excellent for a dog that is just coming out of the initial injury. Later on, as more mobility is available, puzzle toys that require more work will be a great way to get your pet moving in a gentle way. You can find many toys from places like Amazon or PetSmart.

Conclusion

While having an injured dog is never fun, you can still come up with ways to keep them happy and comfortable as they heal. Humans have a big responsibility when it comes to pets as they look to us for their care and safety. Because of this, as your dog heals, be sure to pay careful attention to their needs. If any one activity seems to be too much for your dog, take a step back and try something else. Recovery may be slow, but with time and a lot of TLC, your furry friend will be back on their feet in no time! So be patient and know that the slower you take things, the better the chances are that an injury will not have problems later on.