Dogs recovering from surgery
Author: Vebo Pet Supplies Date Posted:23 June 2017
So it is unfortunate that your dog is needing operation (and you will have to face the vet bill after), it is sad times for everyone. So you will not be too excited if your vet tells you to put your dog in a small space to restrict its movement for a few weeks. As bad as locking up your dog sounds, the last thing you want now is yet another operation (and vet bill). Therefore it is in everyone's best interest that your dog heals properly without complications.
We have found that every vet could have different opinions on how much confinement is needed, so it doesn't hurt to know a bit more yourself so that you can discuss with your vet should you feel uncomfortable with their advice.
Why do dogs need to be confined after surgery?
If your dog has gone through any kind of orthopaedic surgery (e.g. broken leg), I guess you won't need a vet to tell you that you shouldn't walk with that broken leg. Bones and muscles take time to heal, while certain light exercises can help to speed up recovery, most full-on movements will only make things worse. Unfortunately dogs are creatures of habit, so they will try to do what they always do, run around, jump onto chairs, stand up to steal that tennis ball on the table etc. So unless you can watch your dog 24/7, the only way you can stop them is to confine them in a smaller space.
How much space should I give my dog?
This is where different vets can vary in their opinion. Sometimes your vet may be happy as long as your dog is not sprinting and jumping, so they may say restrict them to a room. However, some small dogs may be used to trotting and jumping around rather than walking, so it may not be suitable for those dogs to be left even in a small room. If you have furniture in the room where you dog like to jump on and off, that could be an issue too. Therefore in these cases, you might need to tell your vet that your dog likes to do these things and your vet may advise you to put your dog in a playpen or crate.
Some surgeries such as cruciate ligament (i.e. knees) ones could require a bit more confinement, so they are more likely to require crate resting, which means all your dog should do is stand up, stretch, turnaround and lie down when they are not under supervision.
How long should my dog be confined?
Unfortunately during the recovery period your dog will be locked up almost all the time, except the times when you let your dog out for toilet breaks and a light walk (if allowed). Generally your vet will tell you how long they want your dog to be confined, but sometimes this invloves going back for another x-ray just to confirm the bones have healed properly, so in those cases you need to wait until your vet gives you the "green light".
Some dogs heal slower or faster than others, so what your vet could offer you is an estimate, so don't be too surprised if things take longer than expected.
My vet says my dog need to crate rest, should I buy a crate or should I hire?
Considering the cost difference of hiring a crate vs buying, we generally advise people to consider buying one if they need it 4 week or longer, because you have already paying more than half of the cost of a crate. For people who only need a crate for 1-3 weeks, hiring is an excellent option because you are forking out less and you don't have to store it afterwards.
Having said that, if your dog is not crate trained, it may actually be a good opportunity to buy the crate and train your dog to sleep in a crate going forward. Once a dog is used to sleeping in a crate, you can actually leave the door open all the time and the crate is just used as a bed. Then for whatever reason when you do need to put your dog inside a crate (e.g. travelling), your dog will be fully calm inside its crate rather than screaming to get out.