How to Confine Your Dog Post TPLO Surgery

by | Apr 23, 2021 | TPLO Recovery, Dog Health

It can be challenging for pet owners to see their once energetic dog become bedridden for a few weeks. It may be distressing at first, but this period is crucial for your dog as it recovers from surgery. You’ll see your pup slowly regain its strength and mobility in no time.

While TPLO surgery can be nerve-wracking, pet owners shouldn’t worry due to its almost 90% success rate. A few months of recovery is worth a life free from pain caused by an ACL tear.

Confining your dog helps you restrict its activities and movements during its recovery period. Recovery is made easier by making the conditions of confinement as comfortable as possible. Here are some things you can do to prepare your home for your recovering pet.

Confine your dog in a small room

Upon its return home, you should prepare a small room for your dog to stay in once it’s done with surgery. It can be a fenced area, dog crate, laundry room, or any area spacious enough to allow your dog to have free but limited movement. You should also place a water bowl in this area to keep your dog from getting dehydrated.

Consider arranging an area in your house that is near a window. Your dog can look outside and watch people walking, vehicles passing by, and birds fluttering in the sky so it won’t feel as isolated. 

Prepare clean beddings

Clean beddings, newly-washed blankets, and soft pillows can make their recovery more comfortable and bearable. Dogs don’t like laying on dirty beddings, so you should wash these items at least once a week to keep them clean, smelling fresh, and free of dog fur. Provide your pet with a comfortable space to ensure a healthy recovery and rest without disturbance.

Designate a playpen

Ex pens, sometimes called x-pens, are canine containment areas larger than crates but smaller than a permanently fenced yard. You can place them indoors or outdoors as they are often made of plastic or wire. Ex pens give your pup enough room to play while keeping them in one place. They’re perfect for dogs of all sizes. However, larger dogs may attempt to jump over the fence, so you may need to monitor them.

Veterinarians advise using x-pens only a few weeks after your dog’s TPLO surgery. It would be best to inspect the fence for any sharp edges that can injure your pet and search for a non-toxic label for maximum safety.

Put non-slip mats on your floor

Your dog will eventually try standing up on its own a few weeks into recovery. Undergoing TPLO surgery affects their ability to balance. Your pup may have difficulty supporting itself, so you may need to assist it as it tries to stand and walk on its own.

You can use non-slip mats under your carpets, particularly in high-traffic areas or open spaces so your dog won’t get into an accident as it moves. You can also put them inside a dog crate or x-pen, so your pup’s bedding stays in place. A stable footing also reduces any challenges your dog may encounter as it tries to stand up independently.

Reward your pup with nutritious food

Your dog may lose its appetite as a result of surgery. Healthy food is vital as it gives your pup the vitamins and nutrients it needs to recover quickly and properly. You can try giving it smaller portions of its usual meals to urge it to eat.

If your pup still doesn’t feel like eating, you can encourage it by offering reward toys filled with nutritious food. It’s a great way to associate eating with a fun and rewarding experience while spending time with you. By doing this method, you ensure that your pet doesn’t skip any meals.

Prepare healthy meals & recovery diet

Since dogs will often have minimal appetite post-TPLO surgery, they must get as many nutrients as possible from their meals. Try giving them bone-based broth or boiled chicken. The stock contains collagen to strengthen the joints, kidneys, and liver of your dog. Chicken is also rich in protein for building muscles and promoting bone health.

You can also ask your veterinarian for recovery diets you can offer your dog. These special diets focus on increasing the calorie and protein intake of your pet even if it still has a small appetite post-surgery. These diets are also tailor-made for recovering dogs since they help in proper metabolism.

Use an e-collar or recovery sleeve

For many years, pet owners and veterinarians have considered the Elizabethan collar their go-to solution for recovery from TPLO surgery. However, they have shifted to choosing a recovery sleeve due to its many advantages.

An e-collar goes around your dog’s neck and prevents it from accessing its healing leg. However, it also restricts any natural movement. Meanwhile, the recovery sleeve comfortably wraps the wound in a protective garment while letting your dog move around without restrictions. 

Block off stairs

As your dog recovers, you will eventually open it up to more rooms in your home. Modify your home by blocking off stairs or areas where it may be at higher risk to fall. Place a baby gate or create a barrier to limit your pup’s access to these areas in order to prevent accidents that could worsen its condition. 

Fully Recover with At-home Confinement

Confinement plays a crucial role in your dog’s recovery. It’s a long process, taking up to eight weeks for the shin bone to fully heal. Your pup needs you now more than ever. Provide it with the care and attention it needs, and your pet will be back on its feet sooner than you know.

Visit the TPLOInfo blog for more post-TPLO surgery care tips.

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