After a surgery, your pet will be required to rest for a set period of time. In more complex surgeries, they may need to be crated to avoid movement. But eventually, your pet will need limited forms of exercise and activities to keep them healthy, encourage better recovery, and make them happy.
The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants to give our pet owners some insight into how to safely exercise your pet after surgery. Movement is important to their healing and well-being, which is why understanding the right way to exercise and play post-surgery is so important.
Before you venture out with your pet after surgery, remember to inquire with your veterinarian and veterinary surgeon about how much and how soon exercise should occur. Some pets require physical therapy that focuses on slow and progressive movement to build strength and flexibility.
To avoid injury and possibly setting your pet’s recovery back, always follow the post-surgical instructions for exercise and play.
Once you pet the go-ahead that you can introduce exercise, one of the ways you can give your pet low impact exercise is through short, slow walks. Your pet should be, at this point, able to get up and walk outside or to the litter to potty. As they are more stable to walk, they can be leashed and walked a block and back home, increasing the length of the walks over time.
Passive range of motion is another form of physical therapy, in which the joints and muscles are gently manipulated to increase mobility. These exercises target joints that have been injured, but they can be useful as a form of low impact exercise. Speak to your veterinarian about information on targeted muscle and joint exercises you can do with your fur friend.
Over time, you can start to play a short game of fetch in the home, or other small area, to avoid full running. Tug of war can also be a good choice, as well as it is done softly, to engage the full body. Swimming in the pool while being supervised, walking up steps in the home, and walking on the treadmill are other great options in providing your pet exercise.
Playtime and Enrichment
Being locked up in the home during postoperative recovery can be emotionally hard on our pets. Just because they are healing doesn’t mean they need to be fun-free. In fact, keeping your pet’s spirits up requires enrichment and play.
Make your pet’s environment stimulating by playing an animal video or channel, like Dogs’ World or Animal Planet. Make use of windows by putting up a bird feeder to attract birds into the backyard. Your pet will love to watch this “real time” animal show.
Offer your pet many challenging treat or meal dispensing puzzles, such as:
- Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Puzzle Toy for Dogs
- The classic Kong toy
- Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Interactive Dog Toy
- PAW5: Wooly Snuffle Mat
- Trixie Dog Activity Chess
Your Pet After Surgery
It’s important to keep your pet engaged in something they can enjoy. As long as you are following your veterinarian’s guidelines, offering gentle forms of play and exercise are crucial to their great recovery. Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.