Therapeutic confinement

Often times, pets injure themselves or they have to undergo surgery and they’re put on strict rest by their veterinarian. Just like humans, it is essential for pets to rest so as to not be set back by further injury or delay of healing. If it is a post surgical site, excess movement could potentially lead to fluid build up, inflammation, opening of the incision site, or infection. This means only 5 minute potty walks and straight inside. No running, jumping, or walking up stairs. We at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services have some suggestions as to how to help you confine your pet when these situations come up.

What we recommend:

For our kitties, a dog crate that has enough room for a potty box and a bed will suffice. Larger pets can have their own isolated room where they cannot jump up onto furniture and accidentally injure themselves. An X-pen and large crate will work as well.

Don’t forget, that you need to train and prep for your pet to cooperate in a crate/isolation quarters on their own. Always associate this space as their safe space and good things come to them when they settle in the area nicely. Start small, treat or provide a favorite toy with the isolation quarters/crate door open and for a short amount of time. Allow your pet to move in and out at their own leisure. Keep an eye on your pet if your pet is already at an injured state, so as to not injure his or herself more. Slowly increase the time they’re in the isolated place and treat accordingly. A great distraction is to give your pet a toy that you could hide food and treats in it. This is not the spot for time outs as your pet will associate the space as a negative place to be and it will cause anxiety and stress when left alone.

How to stave off cabin fever:

Interactive toys often help with boredom. Much like puzzles or toys where treats/kibble can be hidden to stimulate the brain.

Low activity positive reinforcement training. Yes, cats can be included into this column. If motivated enough, cats can do tricks as well they just need to right “currency” or kitty treat. You can train your pet to “look at me”, shake, head down, speak, ring a bell or touch.

If your pets are small, a pet stroller for a change in scenery and fresh air could be a great way to comply with activity restrictions but also not confining your pet the same spot for weeks on end. Larger pets can use a wagon for travel.

Calming pheromones like feliway and adaptil can help with a calming effect. There are also pet formulated (without alcohol) Bach’s flower essences that can help your pet feel at ease.

Some music or even television that emit calming images and sounds can help to create a positive space and help a ton.

If your pet is asked to be on activity restriction, there are more than likely pain medications prescribed along side this recommendation. Pain medications will help give that sedative and drowsy feeling which will help to keep activity levels low. Some pets need sedatives to help keep them calmer. If this is the case, contact your veterinarian to have them prescribed to your pet. Lastly, ask your veterinary hospital if they provide medical boarding, in which your pet can receive the medical attention he/she needs during this time of healing. We at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services can provide this service as well. Contact us for more information.

View the link below, of a Pets In Need rescue pup that was recently adopted, utilizing a treat dispensing toy.