Keeping your dog safe outside the recovery room

Keeping your dog safe outside the recovery room

It is essential to keep your dog safe following injury or surgery. Too much rushing about can be disastrous, for example it may cause a repaired structure to break and mean that your dog needs a further major operation. Your vet may have advised room rest to help prevent any exuberant activity. 

Some activities are not safe during recovery

During recovery, dogs are generally not allowed to run, jump, to play with balls, play roughly with other dogs, use stairs, or rush over slick flooring. Your vet may have given more specific guidelines for your own dog, as the list of banned activities varies from case to case. 

The recovery room is a handy tool if used well: While your dog is inside the room, he or she cannot run, jump or access stairs, other dogs, balls or slick flooring. However, you must also keep your dog safe outside the room. At the very least, you will need to get your dog outside for toileting several times a day (i.e. to pee and poo). You may also need to bring your dog out of the room for various other reasons, perhaps to sit together now and again in a different part of the house if your surgeon is happy for you to do this, and eventually to start short lead-walks.

There is little point in putting your dog on room-rest if you do not also control his activity in the rest of the house (above) and in the garden (below). Rushing about must be avoided until very late in recovery.

Many dogs will dash about as soon as they are released from their recovery room. Even if your dog usually walks about calmly, they might dash across the house unexpectedly, for example in response to the doorbell. It’s therefore essential to keep close control over your dog whenever they are outside the recovery room.

Above and below: It is too risky to let your recovering dog loose to play with another animal. Dogs sometimes move faster than expected, turn quickly or leap about when socialising together, even if they know one another well. 

Safety outdoors

Do keep your recovering dog on a fixed-length lead whenever outdoors.

You’ll need to encourage your dog to walk slowly so as to give them a chance to place each foot properly. It’s also a good idea to time your dog’s walks. Your vet may have advised you regarding how long the walks should be. It’s important not to exceed this. For more advice on walking your recovering dog, click here

Above: It’s important to keep your dog safe and slow on the lead. 

Safety indoors

You must also keep your recovering dog safe indoors. Take care that your dog does not run past you as you open the door of the recovery room. It’s a good idea to leave a well-fitting harness on your dog when they are in the recovery room. As you open the door, you can put your hand on the top strap of the harness. This will stop your dog from slipping out past you. This then gives you time to attach a dog lead or to lift and carry your dog.

Non-slip flooring is important for dogs after an operation on either the legs or spine. If you have slick floors but your dog is too large to carry, then a non-slip runner is a very good idea. 

You will also need to keep your dog slow and well-controlled outside the recovery room. Depending on your dog’s size and on whether the rest of your flooring is slick, you may opt to carry your dog indoors, to have them on a lead indoors, or to keep your hand on the top of their harness to stop them from rushing ahead. 

For further tips and advice on coping with practical aspects of the recovery period, do take a look through the section on Frequently Asked Questions.  If your question does not seem to be answered on this website, then you are welcome to post it as a comment, or to get in touch by clicking here

You may now be interested in the following links:

Choosing a harness for your recovering dog
Choosing a lead for your recovering dog
 Walking with your recovering dog
Room rest summary
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