Being a good pet parent can sometimes mean saying no, which can be hard when those puppy-dog eyes are pleading! But for pets recovering from surgery or an injury, returning to their former glory may mean saying no to vigorous activity — and yes to days or weeks of cage rest. For these pets, even minor excitable behavior can slow recovery — or lead to re-injury — so strict movement restriction is often recommended.
We know that the idea alone is enough for you AND your pet to go stir crazy, but if your veterinarian prescribes cage rest, there are a few ways to make it a little easier on the whole family:
- Get Your Zen On: If surgery is planned ahead, take time prior to the big day to work on getting your pet to stay still. Practice long “downs” and “sit-stays,” rewarding with treats and praise while the desired behavior (stillness) is happening and stopping when they move.
- Build An Oasis: Make your pet’s crate super comfortable with soft cushions and favorite toys, and position the crate in an area of the house where you spend a lot of time. Cage confinement is not banishment, and your pet will appreciate the company.
- Bust The Boredom: Plan plenty of activities to keep your pet’s mind busy while confined. KONG® toys or other treat-dispensing toys and bowls that encourage slow eating will stretch out mealtimes and give your pet something to do.
- Glide, Don’t Slide: Lay rugs over any sleek surfaces that your pet has to cross on her potty breaks to avoid slip-ups.
- Just Breathe: Consider using pheromone products to make your pet feel safer and calmer during confinement. Pheromone sprays, collars and diffusers are available for both dogs and cats.
There’s no question that cage confinement is hard on pets and their owners alike. You may get some flack — and wish you could resume snuggle sessions! — but cage rest is a crucial part of your pet’s recovery. Stay strong, and soon enough your pet will be back on all four paws, enjoying her glory days!