Dog Knee Surgery from an Insider’s Perspective–Part Two

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Last month, we took you through tips 1-5 in knee surgery recovery. This month continues our journey through recovery with my pooch, Scout.

Tip #6….The Cone of Health and Happiness

Your vet will most likely send you and your pup home with a hard plastic e-collar. You know, those gigantic collars you put around a dog’s head to keep him from licking, biting and tearing off bandages and staples from a wounded area. Yep, now you know what I am talking about!

Most dogs and their owners dislike these types of collars but they are very necessary to keep your pup from chewing off bandages like Scout did or chewing out his staples….Scout did that, too. There is not a great deal of room in a crate for a dog wearing an e-collar to turn around, so I found a softer, more flexible version of this collar and moved Scout into a small bathroom on the main floor of the house.

I also moved his bed to this new room and placed an old cabinet door in the doorway that was tall enough to keep him from jumping over it and out of the bathroom but small enough that he could see everyone in the house as they passed by the room. He is a very social doggie!

The benefits? Cooler room for Scout to sleep, hang out and recover. Provided more room for him so he could wear his flexible e-collar and give him the ability to see everyone in the house as we went through our daily activities.

Okay, back to the benefits of the flexible e-collar.

These flexible collars are great for the dog because he won’t overheat (a cooler pup), they don’t make that loud sound when the dog bumps the collar into something and you can bend them down so your pooch can drink water and eat while wearing the device. It worked so well for Scout, we nicknamed the collar the ‘Cone of Health and Happiness.’ Everyone, including Scout, was delighted when we took the the collar off for the final time after his staples were removed! WOO HOO!

Tip #7: Adjust the quantity of food at mealtimes

One thing you will need to keep an eye on is your pup’s weight. During these weeks of immobility and limited mobility, he will eat and gain weight. Just be aware so your pup doesn’t gain too much weight. Injured or recently repaired areas do not need the additional weight bearing down on a recovering joint.

Tip #8: Supplements

Talk with your veterinarian about supplements. There are many on the market that can aid in recovery and stimulate bone regeneration. I give Scout glucosamine and chondroitin twice daily…once in the morning and once in the evening. I want to give Scout the benefits of a long life and healthy joints as long as I am able…..even though both his hind leg knees have titanium plates and screws attached to them now.

Tip #9: Mats and floor coverings

If you have tile, hardwood floors or floors with slick surfaces, cover them up with mats that have rubber backing. During and following rehab and recovery, this will keep those little paws from slipping on the floor and from damaging or injuring the recovering joint or creating new injuries.

Tip #10: Lots of TLC

Scout had his first ACL surgery when he was just six months old. My heart just hurt for him. At night during his rehab, I would crawl into his kennel, sit with him and just pet him for what seemed like hours. I wanted him to know I loved him and wanted him to be well but he had to be somewhat immobile. His next two knee surgeries were in 2011, March and September. Both of us could no longer fit into the kennel, so each night I would place the leash on him and spend time with him on the floor rubbing his tummy and petting him while we watched television.

Tender loving care, diligent rehab and reassuring tummy rubs got us through all three of these surgeries. Hopefully, you and your dog won’t ever experience a knee surgery. But if you do, there is hope. A trusted, talented surgeon and dogged attention (pun intended) to detail during rehab mixed with many heaping spoonsful of TLC will get you both through the weeks following surgery.

To watch Scout take those first cautious steps off the leash at the completion of rehab made it all worth it. Now when I watch him run like the wind and leap over the boxwoods, my heart just sings.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

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