Tips for Helping Dogs Recover from Knee or Hip Surgery

Dog care after surgery

Surgery is always a difficult time in anybody’s life, but especially so for our canine friends. We can’t exactly explain to them what is going on or what we’re doing or about to do, making the recovery process difficult for dog and dog owner alike.

After specific surgeries that target the hip and knee area, there are some important facts to consider when taking care of your recovering dog. It may take several weeks of rehabilitation time during which your dog’s ability to move around will be very limited. It is therefore up to you as your dog’s loving protector to ensure their safety and encourage a rapid recovery.

Making them comfortable

The most important thing to do is make your dog comfortable after a surgical experience. Smooth bedding that is fresh and clean is a good place to start. But what about eating and drinking? Knee and hip surgery can quickly eliminate the ability to freely move around, which tends to hinder a dog’s ability to go about their daily habits and schedule.

This can even frustrate a dog psychologically, which isn’t commonly considered. Dogs are habitual creatures and though you may not notice it because their movement is limited, that may not stop them from wanting to move around or worry about you finding that treat they’ve hidden under the bed.  Discuss anti-anxiety methods with your veterinarian to help keep them calm during their recovery process.

This also brings up the concern of having multiple pets within the house. Dogs love to interact, especially if their toys or treats may be in the paws of another family member. Throughout the recovery process, it is a good idea to keep them confined to their own space where they will feel safe and secure- along with their toys and treats. If they have a favorite ball, keep it with them and don’t let other pets play with it (including those of the feline persuasion).

Rebuilding their strength

Dogs love to be active, but be careful that they don’t overexert themselves. But, part of the recovery process will include some forms of physical therapy. In this case, it is important to listen to your vet and stick to a guided timeline for increasing your dog’s activity throughout the recovery process. As their body heals, they will be ready for more activity, but keep in mind that they will want to do more than the body allows, so keep things at a safe pace in a controlled area.

What the doctor ordered

A dog recovering from any type of surgery will often require a range of medications, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to help your dog cope. Some prescriptions may even include antibiotics to prevent infection.

In addition to medications, a healthy diet is incredibly important to their recovery. What they eat and the nutrients their body receives will make a large difference in their body’s ability to ward off infection, regenerate tissues such as the bonding of ligaments and muscle to the bone and cartilage.

Keep in mind that if your dog is taking antibiotics, it is commonly a good idea to provide probiotics in their regular diet to ensure proper digestion and health. Take the time to discuss probiotic choices with your vet to ensure they won’t interfere with any of your dog’s medications.

Senior dogs will often need more time to recover from these types of surgeries. Their body doesn’t quite heal as well or rapidly as it did in their youth. This is why diet is extremely important, since their body will be utilizing all its resources to repair any damaged tissues and fight foreign infections.

Caring for their wound

Your first task is to always keep the wound from getting infected. Keep the area freshly dressed and cared for according to your vet’s recommendations. If they prescribe antibiotic solutions to administer to the area, do so according to their precise directions.

Don’t let them lick the area. Despite the natural will of a dog to lick their wound, they shouldn’t have access because bacteria can easily invade a surgical wound and travel throughout the body where it will be far more difficult to isolate and eliminate. Many antibiotic solutions have bittering agents to prevent licking, but if your dog persists, you may need to utilize a cone to prevent access.

Helping your dog recover from surgery isn’t an easy process for you, but it can be even harder for your dog. As long as you are there for them and ensure their complete comfort and healthy treatment, they’ll be back on their paws in no time at all.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Dog owners watch your pet’s weight

Dogs can easily become overweight, especially since we are sometimes too busy to really spend time ensuring they have an active lifestyle. While we’re at work, they hang out around the home because they don’t have much else to do. Combined with once-a-day feeding habits, it is very easy for our dogs to become a little chubby.

Of course, a dog’s health is essential to their happiness, and although they love it when you feed them a little extra, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for them. So, it is up to dog owners to help their dogs lose a little weight so that they can get back to being healthy and happy.

Realizing your dog’s present condition

Are they obese? Maybe they’re just a little pudgy on the sides. But identifying your dog’s condition will give you a good idea of where you need to start. The most convenient test is to run your hands along your dog’s rib-cage. If you can’t easily feel their ribs, then they’re obese (take into consideration fur thickness). Next you must consider what a healthy weight is for your dog. Their body type, size, and breed must all be included as factors. You don’t want to set a goal that your dog can’t healthily achieve. If you are going by weight, you should check your dog’s weight against a respectable source. The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention provides a good reference in their site:

To get your dog’s weight, it is easiest to simply use a bathroom scale. If you know your weight, all you have to do is pick up your dog and subtract the difference. Then compare it to a chart and start planning your dog’s fitness goals.

Plenty of exercise

Regardless of your rush to get your dog healthy, you need to start slow. Despite your good intentions, rushing an overweight or unhealthy dog into a rigorous exercise plan could do more harm than good. Realize that overweight dogs who are not accustomed to frequent activity normally have higher blood pressure and are susceptible to injury if they become radically active too fast.

The best place to start is to take them for regular walks. Regular activity is important to a dog’s health for many reasons besides simply working off the extra weight. It also helps their digestive tract function properly. Walking helps move their bowels and eliminate waste properly so that it doesn’t accumulate in their body. As their body begins to function properly again, they’ll begin to lose weight and become healthier.

Healthy Diet

While exercise is important, what and how you feed your dog will make a world of a difference to their weight. Choose a dog food that is formulated for weight control and avoid puppy formulated foods for less active dogs. These have an abundance of additional carbs and proteins that growing dogs need.

Part of a healthy diet includes feeding them on a regular schedule. Several small meals throughout the day will help regulate their body functions better. It will also provide energy when they need it most, such as in the mornings before exercise or playtime in the afternoon.

As far as proper feeding time is concerned, don’t feed your dog right before bedtime. In addition to being a potty risk, it also means that the food they’ve just eaten will simply be stored as extra fat later on. Also refrain from feeding them just one big meal a day. This often results in a low metabolism and lower insulin secretion, resulting in a higher body weight and a higher risk for diabetes. When feeding, use a measuring cup to keep serving amounts at a steady and reliable quantity. Making guesswork of your dog’s servings can end up countering your entire health plan goal.

A treat?

Treats are often a pet owner’s biggest weakness. Dogs love a treat, and we love to see that tail wag. But treats are not always good for them or their weight. What types of treats are you giving them? How many and how frequently? You don’t have to cut out all treats, you just have to make sure they get them at the right times. Make them earn their treats. It also helps to choose healthy or all-natural treats. Also keep in mind that the best treat of all is your attention. Table scraps are not treats.

Monitor your dog’s weight and physical changes each week. They may not drop their extra bulk quickly, but the idea is to do it safely and in a healthy manner. Regular exercise and proper diet are crucial to a dog’s health. As your dog’s owner, you are responsible for their well-being, and with the proper technique, you can provide your faithful companion with a happy, healthier lifestyle that both of you can enjoy.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Arthritis and Your Dog

photoYou were used to the days when your pup romped about and jumped on almost anything that moved. But time catches up to us all. As a pup ages, they experience many of the difficulties that we humans also have as we get older. Arthritis can definitely put a damper on your pup’s extreme lifestyle- but it shouldn’t mean that your pup has to suffer. As your pup’s owner, you can take measures to ensure that your pup still enjoys life as much as you do.

Why my pup?

Much like humans, pups begin to feel the symptoms of arthritis in their senior years. There are many things that can cause it- from simple genetics to the lack of minerals in their diet or even excess weight that wears their joints down. Ensuring that your pup has a healthy diet can play a key role in helping your pup cope with arthritis.

What it does

The severity of this disease is variable, but worsens over time. You may notice your pup beginning to sit differently, or shifting their weight onto another leg. Unfortunately, pups don’t communicate like we do, so it is often difficult to tell when they begin to feel pain and stiffness. If the aches are severe, you may notice it right away as pups will likely not want to move around or play at all.

As your pup becomes older, you should get them checked regularly for arthritis, and pay attention to small hints such as discomfort or weight shifting. Catching the disease early will help you prevent them from enduring more discomfort.

What can you do

The good news is that there are things you can do to help them deal with the discomforts. Though there is no actual cure, you can still improve their quality of life.

Naturally easing your pup’s life is possibly the best way. Amongst some herbal remedies, there are many physical things you can do to help your pup deal with their condition. Massaging on a regular basis is a great experience for your pup. Chest rubs, legs, and especially paws can help alleviate the discomforts. These areas are targets for blood flow which helps keep their circulatory and nervous system working well. Incorporating some herbal oil into the mix will help soothe their pain- and they will enjoy the extra attention.

Exercise is still important. Though it may seem rough for them to endure- the movement such as simply walking around in the yard or park (preferably grassy areas to reduce joint impact) will help stimulate their joint fluids. Because arthritis inflames these areas, the fluid will help reduce the discomfort.

Increasing the ease of life- such as their regular needs- can help as well. The more comfortable you make your pup the more likely they will enjoy life. Soft cushions to rest on can help, along with making their food and water more available. But what about their other daily needs- like pooping and peeing. It is often quite discomforting when a pup has to get up and try to get outside to relieve themselves. Consider a Porch potty that offers the convenience of indoor plumbing for your pup. It’s something we take for granted, but consider how much it would ease your pup’s life- especially when arthritis can make even the smallest distance feel like a mile.

Arthritis is a terrible disease that can slow any pup down. But you don’t have to let it stop them from enjoying life. With a little care and a lot of love, you can ensure that your pup enjoys the quality of life they deserve.

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