So Your Dog Is On Vet Ordered Bed Rest

Gryffin on bed rest.

Every dog owner will come to the day that their pet is on bed rest. It is just a thing we all will have to deal with. Either your dog is being spayed/neutered, there was a planned surgery, or the dreaded emergency. I personally have dealt with all three! And it was never the same dog once, naturally. The most recent bed rest situation I dealt with was for Lily. She pulled a muscle in her leg after a squirrel casing incident and needed strict bed rest for 14 days for it to heal properly. If she didn’t stay on bed rest, there was the potential for surgery to fix the tear. Because of this I decided to compose a helpful list of information to help other dog owners get through their dog’s bed rest!

Affiliate Pic

Get The Puppy Gates Out

Gates are going to be important for two reasons. First, you want to make sure all stairs are blocked off from the dog’s access. You can’t have them running up and down stairs because that can cause a lot more problems than the one you’re dealing with. If there comes a time your dog needs to use the stairs, don’t let them just run up them. Put the pup on a leash and walk with them calmly up or down the stairs.

Bailey showing us the "proper" way to use a gate

Second, if you have a multiple dog home you will need puppy gates to keep everyone separate. Split your house into two sections. Have your bed rest dog in the part of the house that is more low key and has lots of resting places. Then the others get the rest of the house. If you have dogs that do not wrestle-play or rough-house, then I would keep separate for the first three days then move on to everyone sharing the same space. This way the dog can recover for three days without their fur family members crowding their space. Some dogs may be a little testy after surgery or an injury so separating helps reduce stress for the dog. If you have rambunctious players, like I do, separate for the whole bed rest period!

Keep The Dog On A Leash

When your dog is headed home, your Veterinarian will explain that your dog will need to be on a leash when outdoors. This prevents the dog from running around outside and reinjuring themselves. Listen to them! Keep your dog on a leash for outside time from day one to the last day of bed rest. You may think that your dog will be fine but they see squirrels way faster than you can and then in a half second, they’re off to the races.

If you have a dog that is struggling using the bathroom on leash for whatever reason, utilize a long line. Get an inexpensive 10 foot leash. This provides the dog with some freedom to use the bathroom but prevents running around the backyard. It is also nice because you can stand in the doorway or under cover if it is raining or snowing. If your dog is running to the end of the leash and pulling, switch back to the 6 foot leash and have them wear a harness. Pulling can cause just as many issues as running while on bed rest.

If you have multiple dogs in your home, make sure your bed rest dog is going outside by themselves. Doggie siblings can cause temptation to run or rough-house outdoors. This way they can go out, do their thing, and come back inside with few distractions.

Don’t Ditch The Cone

Don't ditch the cone

Again, listen to your Veterinarian! The cone is going to be your key to keeping your pet away from their surgery stitches or wounds. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say “I felt so bad for them, they hated the cone.” First off, you need to give your dog an adjustment period to get used to the cone. If I know anything about dogs, they will overcome what they’re presented with. Give them a few days and they will learn to move around and be comfortable with the cone on. Second, them looking sad is a better card dealt than having surgery twice because your dog chewed their stitches out.

Big thing, make sure your cone is the right size! I speak from personal experience. In 2019, Gryffin had surgery on his bladder and to save money we thought we would just use an old cone Lily used prior. Well 24 hours after surgery, Gryffin discovered he could reach his manhood and licked his stitches. Gryffin ended up busting a blood clot and there was a lot of blood. We went back to the vet, got him cleaned up, and bought a new correctly sized cone.

With that being said, definitely keep your cones. You never know when you would need them again and they do not expire. I have all my dog’s cones in storage just in case.

Utilize Mind Exercise Toys

When you have a dog on bed rest, it is crazy important that they remain low key. No rough playing, wrestling, running, tug-o-war. If you have a dog that is moderate or high energy, they may start to get bored or restless because they are not doing their usual activities. Best way to keep them engaged and entertained is by doing mind games with them.

There are dozens of different mind puzzles on Amazon you can get. I suggest getting one of each level of difficulty. So your dog has a variety to work with and learn from. You can either fill them with their meals or training treats. I would suggest feeding them their meals out of a puzzle toy while on bed rest. This way it takes them longer to eat and they’re using their brain multiple times a day.

If you are reading this and your dog is already on bed rest, you can make some mind games with items around your house while you wait for your Amazon package to arrive. Find all my favorite puzzle toys and DIY mind games here.

Get Long Lasting Chews

Every dog loves just relaxing on a dog bed, chewing a good ole fashion bone. This is great for dogs because chewining is a natural instinct for them. Giving them a bone keeps them in one place for a long period of time. They are also using their minds to naw through the delicious treats.

Two of my favorite chews are Earth Animal No Hide and Yak Chews. Earth Animal No Hide bones are great because, as labeled, there is no rawhide in them. They are very safe and easy to digest. They even come in a handful of flavors to choose from. Yak Chews are also great because, again, they are easy to digest. They are actually made out of cheese so they are great for dogs with food sensitivities.

There are other ways of providing a chewing activity without purchasing a bone from the pet store. The classic Kong is always a winner in my house. Fill it to the rim with a peanut butter and kibble blend then freeze it. This way the dog has to really work for their goodies.

Make sure to plan around giving these treats with your dog’s daily nutrition. It is important to remember that treats should be included in their daily diet so you don’t overfeed them. If you have a high treat day, give a little less dinner that day.

Plan a Movie Day

What a better way to have your dog relax then joining them in bed rest and having a movie marathon. Turn your living room into the comfy cozy space. Either blow up the air mattress or grab the futon mattress from the spare room and put it in the living room. Then get all the pillows in the house and throw them on the mattress. Don’t forget to grab two or three fuzzy blankets.

You can’t have a movie marathon without a good snack! Make yourself two things of party mix; one human and one canine. For the puppy party mix I would throw together raw carrot, raw green beans, cheese cubes, hard boil egg, plain chicken jerky, and a small amount of training treats. For the human party mix, you make it however you want! My favorite is popcorn with Cheezit. 

Last but certainly not least, make sure you are wearing your most comfortable pajamas. Bonus points if your dog has a matching pair!

Now that everything is set, pick your favorite movie series, cuddle up, and enjoy the show! 

Puppy Crafts

Get those art and crafts supplies ready! There is nothing like doing a low key project with your favorite friend by your side. Grab all your crafting goodies out on a table and set up a nice resting place nearby for your furbaby. 

I find it best to include your dog in the arts and crafts. So get canvas and pet safe paint then use their paw prints to make a paw collage. You can even spread out their paw prints then draw stems and leaves off the bottoms, then bam! A blossoming paw print field.

One of the best doggie crafts is the peanut butter painting, as seen on Tiktok. You get a canvas that fits into a gallon sized ziplock baggie then blot paint on the canvas. You spread peanut butter on the side of the bag then place the canvas in the bag, paint and peanut butter side up. Let your dog lick up the peanut butter and as they do, the paint will move around. They paint the canvas themselves! After they’re done, have it dry outside the bag. Voila! A puppy masterpiece.

Another great idea, make something out of that cone of shame to use as next year’s Halloween costume! I have seen martini glasses, daisies, and space helmets all made from cones. Obviously, make sure when crafting a cone that the dog doesn’t get to their stitches. So best to save this activity for one of the last bed rest days.

Start a Blog with Your Dog

Is there a niche you have that you love talking about and sharing your knowledge about it with others? Did you know that you can write about that favorite topic and make money doing so? 

Start a blog! Get comfy cozzy on the couch with your bed rest baby and a laptop. Figure out what you want to blog about and get typing!

I used The Savvy Couple and their amazing tips on how to start a blog

Don’t Be “That Owner”

You know exactly what this means. Don’t be the owner that did not follow the rules and allowed their dog to reinjure themselves. Veterinarians get so frustrated with owners like this so don’t let yourself become “that owner”! Follow the rules, keep them on bed rest, and it will be better for your dog and wallet in the end!

Get Your Pup A Get Well Soon Toy

In my home, we have a tradition whenever one of the dogs was put on bed rest by the Veterinarian. While the bed rest pup is relaxing with one parent, the other parents takes the rest of the furchildren to PetSmart or Petco and we get them a new stuffy. When Gryffin had his first episode with bladder stones, Lily and I went and got him a Dinosaur stuffy. Since then, whenever someone is sick we always get them a Dinosaur themed stuffy toy. Get your pup a new fun stuffy, cuddle up, and show them some love as they get through their bed rest!