Making Bed Rest for Your Pet a Success 

A dog in a crate

You want me to keep my what quiet for how long? It is the stuff that nightmares are made of for some pet owners, but it is essential for success when it comes to things like orthopedic surgeries. 

When a pet has had a major injury or surgery, rest is critical. As a person, we understand this and will typically do our best to allow ourselves time to heal. Pets are not always so good at this, and the drive to cover up pain and appear normal mixed in with boredom and pent up energy can really cause healing to backpedal. 

So what can you do when bed rest for your pet is on the list of doctor’s orders? It might not be easy, but Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital has a few tips to make it a successful endeavor. 

You Are in Control!

If one of our veterinarians has prescribed bed rest for your pet, it is important to remember that you are the grown up in this situation. While your pet may not understand why it is important to stay quiet and for how long, you do. 

Make sure that you:

  • Ask questions about exactly what activities are okay and which are off limits 
  • Provide a comfortable resting place such as a crate or small room
  • Help you pet avoid stairs and similar when possible
  • Supervise your pet when allowing activity
  • Take your pet outside on a leash or harness so that you may stop overzealous activity
  • Are cautious about allowing your pet to interact and play with others
  • Keep up on follow up appointments so that you understand where your pet is in the healing process
  • Adjust your pet’s calorie intake with the guidance of your veterinarian

When your pet is on bed rest, it is definitely a little more work for you. It is worth it, though, to see your pet healed (especially if you just spent a few thousand dollars on an orthopedic surgery). It is also worth noting that those who enforce proper rest often have their pets back to normal a lot faster than those who don’t.

Making Bed Rest for Your Pet Fun

Bed rest for your pet can be a depressing endeavor. It is definitely more work for you as the caretaker, and often it can make you feel a bit like a warden. Not to worry, though, bed rest doesn’t have to be boring!

Know your (pet’s) limits – If you have a clear understanding about what specific activities your pet needs to avoid, there may be ways to allow activity without compromising care. For instance, a short controlled walk on a leash on a firm, non-slip surface may be just fine. Some pets might also benefit from underwater treadmill therapy with a licensed veterinary rehabilitation therapist

Engage the brain – Your pet is going to feel a lot more fulfilled if you can get their brain working. Spend their down time reinforcing new skills (look into clicker training or teach a new command like leave it or speak). Interactive and puzzle-type toys can also save the day. Feeding meals from these types of toys can also stretch dinner time considerably. Engage in interesting activities with your pet like hide and seek (you can hide toys, treats, or even yourself). Even changing up the scenery with a car ride or visit to Grandma’s house can help if it is safe for your pet’s situation. 

Get your therapeutic exercise on – Depending on the reason for the rest period, there may be some ways that you can help encourage healing. Learning some basic pet massage techniques is apt to be enjoyable for you and your pet. There might also be some therapeutic exercises like passive range of motion or gentle strength building that you can do at home. Of course, please talk with us before starting anything like this without guidance. 

Environmental enrichment is key – Making sure that your pet’s healing area is stimulating and enriching can help pass the time as well. Rotate toys so that no one gets bored. Use videos that have been developed for animals to watch or set up a bird feeder outside the window or even a fish tank inside. Encourage visitors if your pet can keep calm for them. Treats that take a long time to eat such as broth-based popsicles and stuffed Kongs (try freezing) can also be a great way to enrich your pet.

Having a pet on bed rest can really be a lot to take on, but it is worth putting in the effort. Don’t forget that your pet is relying on you for the support they need to heal, and