How to Stop Dogs From Re-injuring Themselves
When your dog is treated for an injury, the last thing either of you needs is for her to accidentally re-injure herself. Unfortunately, this can be easy for dogs to do. A dog in recovery may not know her body's limits, and could overextend herself to the point of worsening her condition. By giving her the care and attention her condition requires, and by equipping her with tools that prevent actively worsening the situation, you ensure that her recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
Items You May Need:
• Cozy pet bed
• Hot water bottle
• Prescription medications
• Food and fresh water
• Puppy pads
• Bitter spray
• Baby gates
Tip #1 - Set up a comfortable place for her to rest while she recovers. She needs a low-traffic room where she can enjoy some privacy and get plenty of rest without being disturbed too often. A cozy, plush bed is ideal for keeping her comfortable, as well as something warm she can cuddle with, like a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
Tip #2 - Administer any medicines she's been prescribed according to the instructions. These will help prevent restlessness. For example, if she has been prescribed painkillers, a failure to administer them may make her anxious and fidgety because of her pain levels.
Tip #3 - Give her easy access to the things that she needs. For example, make sure that food and fresh water are readily available close to her recovery space, so that she doesn't have to go far to get what she needs. When it's time for her to eliminate, don't worry about taking her for a long walk -- she doesn't need the exercise right now. In some cases, you may even instead choose to allow her to eliminate indoors on an absorbent pad.
Tip #4 - Outfit her with an accessory that deters her from bothering her injury site. For example, an E-collar prevents her from accessing stitches or casts that she is tempted to chew on. Alternatively, apply a bitter spray to a bandaged injury site to dissuade her from wrapping her mouth around it.
Tip #5 - Maintain communication with your veterinarian's office, particularly if you suspect a problem in your dog's recovery. For example, if you suspect that she isn't drinking enough water, you may need to take a hands-on approach to giving her water at your vet's recommendation.
Tip #6 - Restrict her activity level following her recovery. Engaging in the same behavior that injured her before often is likely to do it again, especially immediately following a recovery. If she threw out her back jumping down from the bed, for example, don't allow her back into the bed, lest she do it again. If she should stay off her feet, limit her walks to the amount of time it takes for her to eliminate -- if she refuses to commit to bed rest, you may have to crate her for longer than usual, or even ask your vet about the possibility of administering a mood relaxer. Assist her in her daily activities as much as you can, as well. For example, carry her up and down the stairs, and set up baby gates in stairwells and doorways to prevent her from exploring. Always keep her under someone's supervision, too, so that any strenuous activities or behaviors can be stopped as soon as possible.
Important: As a first course of action, always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.