What To Do If Your Injured Dog Is Under Vet-Ordered Confinement

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QUESTION:

Hi Don. We have a two-year-old lab (very active) and a 10-month-old lab. We use your system and love it, so thank you. Our 10-month-old had to have a full hip replacement this past Saturday and the orthopedic vet said to limit her walks to 2-3 minutes a couple of times a day. The poor thing is going out of her mind. We have to keep her confined or on a leash at all times for 10 weeks. She wants to listen and not disobey commands, but not getting the proper exercise is making her a bit frustrated. Do you have any ideas on how to deal with the exercise and frustration problems for her?

 

ANSWER:

Thanks for the positive feedback!

Your poor lab…! I’ve been through this before with one of my dogs. He was a 6-month-old yellow lab. He was relegated to 6 weeks of confinement after tearing something in his leg – I can’t remember the details, it was such a long time ago. I felt terribly sorry for him, but I had to do what was best for his longer-term wellbeing. He ended up settling into his temporary life in the training kennel. I made it nice and cushy for him, and I gave him lots of fun dog toys and good quality bones (smoked cow knuckle bones).

You could also try taking your lab for regular car rides if the toys and bones are not sufficient. Enlist the help of other family members and friends to interact regularly with your dog, too. Lots of loving company will help relieve her boredom. You could also try music and even television. These options are not as weird as some may think – they may not work, but there are some dogs that seem to be happy to be entertained this way.

Swimming is also a good, rehabilitative exercise. It’s non-weight-bearing, so it will work her body gently, especially if you carry her in and out of the water. If it’s a doable option for you in your area, check with your vet regarding when it would be best to start introducing your recovering lab to regular swimming.

And, one last thing that could really help a lot is to refrain from giving your dog her meals in complete servings. Rather, break up the meals into smaller portions and feed them to her more regularly than normal. You’ll probably need to cut back on the overall quantity of food that you normally give her (otherwise she’ll gain a bunch of weight during her 10 weeks of sedentary lifestyle), but by offering your dog small portions of food regularly throughout the day, you’ll add to your repertoire of methods for keeping her occupied.

I hope many of my suggestions help you out. Soon it will be over and your lab will be back to her normal self.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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