Keeping Your Pet Confined

By Emily Hoppmann, DVM

  • Your pet must be kept inside in a clean, dry, area with just enough room where he can lay down and stand up comfortably.  The ideal place to confine your pet is a small kennel/crate.  If that is not possible, we recommend a small space in your home, such as a bathroom or laundry room, where he has no risk of injury.
  • Absolutely no running, jumping, or playing is allowed.  This includes both inside the home, in the yard, or anywhere else.
  • If you are home and want to let your pet out of the crate, he must be monitored at all times.  He cannot have any chance to injure himself and that may mean that he needs to be tethered/attached to you during this time.
  • During monitored time outside of the crate, you must keep him from jumping on or off of furniture.  This can be done by physically placing your pet on/off the furniture with you or by stacking pillows or using a doggie ramp so that he can get on/off himself.
  • If there is any chance of injury, at any time, your dog must be in his crate.  Examples from previous owners experiences of accidental injury include: having other pets in the house that the confined pet starts to play with, activity occurring outside of the window that your pet runs to bark at, someone knocking at the door or arriving home and your pet runs to greet them, and the list goes on.
  • When going outside for your pet to go to the bathroom, place him on a leash that does not allow him to run at all.  A short (only a few feet) training leash is perfect.  It is best not to have your other pets outside during this time.
  • Do not allow your pet to go up or down the stairs. If you have stairs, carry your pet up and down the stairs.  If your pet is too big to carry, then be sure to support the injured area when dealing with stairs.
  • The best way to support your pet when needed is to use a rolled up towel as a sling.  Simply place it around the body where the injury is.  If it is a front limb, place the towel directly behind the front limbs and if it is a rear end issue, place the towel directly in front of the back legs.  Hold the towel above the body to take all pressure off the injured area.
  • It is very hard emotionally to confine your pet even though you know it is the only way he can get better.  Here are some tips to keep your pet happier in his crate (which will make it a bit easier for you):

*Give him an interactive toy or favorite toy (A Kong filled with peanut butter or squeezed cheese makes a great toy that can entertain pets for hours).

*Make ice cubes with chicken broth (pets love the taste!).

*Keep your other pets in another area (out of site).

*Keep a radio or TV on for your pet to listen to

  • Your pet will feel better before his/her confinement is over. DO NOT let this fool you. Your pet needs to be checked & cleared from your veterinarian before you allow your pet to become active again. This is why rechecks are so important.
  • If you are having any trouble with keeping your pet confined, please call us right away for oral medication (sedatives) to help. Please call us in advance so we can have them ready for you.
  • The reason that confinement is so important is that it directly affects your pet’s health. For example, should your pet become too active, any of the following can happen:
  • Neurologic conditions can worsen; for example, if your pet has a slipped disc he/she can cause further damage & become paralyzed for life.
  • If your pet has had surgery, the incision can open internally or externally (or both!) and become infected or even cause organ or bone exposure. This is why the incision needs to be checked daily. There are multiple layers holding the incision together but if any one of the layers opens, there will be complications.
  • Additional medications will be required to repair the damage.
  • Another surgery may be required to repair the damage should your pet become too active.
  • Some complications can end up being fatal.

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