Top tips for comforting a lame dog

Posted by Betty. December 2nd 2013.

If your dog is lame, you need to give it a serious period of rest to enable it to fully recover.

What is the definition of resting your dog?

Rest means as little exercise as possible:

  • So no playing with your dog in the house or garden.
  • No allowing your dog to jump up on his hind legs.
  • No jumping on/off furniture.
  • No going up and down stairs and no jumping in and out of cars.

Rest also means no walks, even short ones. It is also worth putting your dog onto a lead to go to the toilet in the garden to prevent your dog running around.

You must think of your dog like a small child and enforce rest. It is better however, after the rest period, to have 3 or 4 short controlled walks than risk an uncontrolled and harmful energetic outburst from your frustrated dog.

vet and dog

Nine top tips for helping your lame dog

  1. An effective method of resting and confinement is with a wire mesh dog cage. These are readily available to purchase from larger pet shops and catalogue stores. They come in a range of sizes to accommodate both small and large dogs.
  2. Whilst your dog is on a restricted exercise regime it is worth reviewing your dog’s diet. If you continue with the same level of daily feeding there is a high chance your dog will gain weight, which is the last thing a dog with a lame leg needs.
  3. You should be careful when reducing your dog’s diet, here are two recommended options when doing this:
  4. It’s recommended to remove up to 25% of your dog’s daily intake when reducing their diet.
  5. Alternatively, rather than removing food from your dog’s diet, most of the dog food companies offer lower calorie diet versions of their food products. These products are available in most supermarkets and pet stores.
  6. Remember, even after the lameness appears to have completely disappeared, it is worth continuing to rest your dog for a further 24-48 hours before reintroducing exercise.
  7. Swimming is an excellent way to reintroduce exercise to a rested dog if your dog enjoys it. Swimming will exercise the joints and muscles but without negatively impacting on the limbs, which can happen with exercise such as running It is recommended to have controlled and supervised swimming via a dog swimming pool.
    Obviously this should not include scrambling down into and out of rivers and ponds, which would only make things worse.
  8. There is no need to attempt to apply a bandage/dressing to your dog’s leg. In fact, you are more likely to cause further problems by doing this as a wrongly applied dressing can cause circulation  problems, pressure sores and thus cause further discomfort to the dog.
  9. Whilst your dog is still lame keep monitoring the affected leg. Watch out for changes in the leg on a daily basis – it can take time for swellings to develop.
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