How to Ensure Your Dog Will Rest Easy
By Brittany Sorgenstein
Many dog owners tend to shudder at the words “cage rest.” It is often difficult to care for a dog who is hurt or sick, especially when the vet prescribes tight restriction. I know from personal experience my Great Dane would rather run around and play with my other dogs than let her broken toenail heal.
While a toenail can be a quick fix, what do you do when your dog has to be on extended cage rest for six days or even six weeks? Here are a few tips to ensure your dog will have the best possible experience while giving her time to heal.
Work on Obedience Cues
Even though you may not be able to work on all dog obedience cues, there are many you can teach or perfect while your dog is on cage rest. You can teach cues, such as “touch,” “stay,” “down” and “relax,” while your dog remains calm and relaxed. This is also a great opportunity to give your dog mental exercises to complete. You can give her puzzle games or toys to make sure she doesn’t get bored while having to rest.
Put on Calming Music
We all love to cuddle our dogs and there is no greater time than when they need to remain calm. You can put on some soothing music—and even light a lavender-scented candle—and snuggle up next to your pup. She will most likely enjoy the undivided attention, and you can both have a well-deserved rest.
Another way you can calm and relax your dog is to give her a massage. My dog lets me rub her haunches and back for as long as my hands will allow. Make sure you move slowly and consistently rather than just patting your dog, as this could cause excitement instead of relaxation.
You can use the same tools as you would for your cuddling session. Put on some relaxing music and light a scented candle. There are plenty of resources online that teach pet massage, such as ABC’s Pet Massage continuing education program.
Provide Food Stuffed Toys
You should also make sure you have plenty of toys and bones to keep your dog occupied. You can soak porous bones in chicken or beef broth to make them more enticing. You can also stuff Kong Classic toys with peanut butter and freeze them so they last longer. This will help your dog remain stress-free and calm.
Consider Pheromones and Herbs
Lastly, there are many environmental aids that can help. Calming pheromones and herbs, such as chamomile, could help your stir-crazy pet. If you find it necessary, ask your veterinarian to prescribe sedatives for the first few weeks of cage rest. After that, these tips should be extremely helpful in ensuring your dog has a speedy recovery.
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