How to Keep Your Dog Calm and Still After Injury or Surgery - Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy
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How to Keep Your Dog Calm and Still After Injury or Surgery

When our beloved furry friends experience an injury or undergo surgery, it’s crucial to provide them with the care and support they need during their recovery period.

One of the biggest challenges pet owners face is keeping their dogs calm and still to ensure proper healing. Whether it’s a minor injury or a major surgical procedure, helping your dog remain calm can accelerate the recovery process and prevent further complications.

In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies and techniques to keep your dog calm and still after an injury or surgery, ensuring a smoother and more successful recovery.

I. Understand the Importance of Keeping a Dog Calm during recovery

Before diving into the strategies, it’s essential to comprehend why it’s crucial to keep your dog calm during the recovery process. Dogs, like humans, need a calm and stress-free environment to heal properly.

Excessive movement or excitement can interfere with the healing process, increase the risk of injury, and potentially extend the recovery period. By maintaining a calm environment and helping your dog stay still, you can promote faster healing and reduce the chances of complications.

II. Create a Safe and Comfortable Space

To keep your dog calm and still, start by creating a safe and comfortable space for their recovery. Designate a quiet area in your home where your dog can rest undisturbed. Ensure the space is warm, well-ventilated, and away from excessive noise and activity. Provide a comfortable bed or crate with soft bedding to promote relaxation.

III. Implement Physical Restraints

Physical restraints can be useful in preventing excessive movement, especially when you can’t closely monitor your dog. Depending on the size and temperament of your dog, consider using a crate or a playpen to restrict their movement. This helps ensure that they remain still during their recovery period, minimizing the risk of reinjury or complications.

IV. Use Calming Techniques

  1. Consistent Routine: Maintain a consistent daily routine for your dog, including regular feeding times, walks (if allowed by the veterinarian), and playtime. Predictability can help reduce anxiety and keep your dog calm.

  2. Gentle Exercise: Engage your dog in low-impact exercises as prescribed by your veterinarian or animal physical therapist. Short, supervised walks on a leash can help release energy while preventing excessive movement or strain.

  3. Massage and Physical Contact: Dogs often find comfort in gentle massages. Softly massage your dog’s muscles and joints (avoiding the surgical site), which can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

  4. Distraction and Mental Stimulation: Provide your dog with mentally stimulating toys, puzzle games, or treat-dispensing toys to keep them occupied and redirect their attention from their recovery discomfort.

  5. Music and White Noise: Calming music or white noise can help create a soothing atmosphere for your dog. Play soft, relaxing tunes, or use a white noise machine to mask any sudden sounds that might startle your dog.

Aromatherapy: Certain scents, such as lavender or chamomile, can have a calming effect on dogs. Use dog-safe aromatherapy products or essential oils (properly diluted) to create a calming environment.

V. Incorporate Dog Physical Therapy

Dog physical therapy, also known as canine rehabilitation, is a valuable tool to aid in your dog’s recovery after an injury or surgery. It focuses on restoring mobility, reducing pain, and improving overall well-being. Physical therapy techniques can play a significant role in keeping your dog calm and still during the recovery process.

  1. Consult a Canine Rehabilitation Specialist: Work with a certified canine rehabilitation specialist who can develop a tailored physical therapy plan for your dog. They will evaluate your dog’s condition, assess the appropriate exercises, and guide you through the process.

  2. Passive Range of Motion Exercises: These exercises involve gently moving your dog’s joints within their natural range of motion. They help prevent joint stiffness, reduce muscle atrophy, and improve circulation. Performing these exercises in a calm and controlled environment can contribute to your dog’s overall calmness.

  3. Neurostimulation and Manual Therapy: Nueromuscular stimulation can facilitate muscle activation and healing. It is particularly beneficial for dogs recovering from orthopedic surgeries or injuries. Neurostimulation and manual therapy can help muscles get activated, reduce soreness, and get your dog moving again.

  4. Therapeutic Exercises: Canine rehabilitation specialists can guide you through a variety of therapeutic exercises that focus on strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups. These exercises can be modified to accommodate your dog’s comfort level and range of motion. By incorporating therapeutic exercises into your dog’s routine, you provide mental and physical stimulation while helping to maintain a calm and controlled environment.

  5. Modalities for Pain Management: Canine physical therapy may involve the use of various modalities to manage pain and reduce inflammation. These can include laser therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and cold or warm compresses. By effectively managing pain, your dog will experience increased comfort and be more inclined to remain calm and still during their recovery.

Remember, it’s crucial to consult with a professional before incorporating any physical therapy techniques into your dog’s recovery plan. They will provide specific guidance based on your dog’s condition, ensuring that the exercises and modalities are safe and appropriate.


By incorporating dog physical therapy into your dog’s recovery plan, you can significantly contribute to their overall calmness and healing process.

Working with a certified canine rehabilitation specialist ensures that the exercises and modalities are tailored to your dog’s specific needs and limitations. Physical therapy techniques, including passive range of motion exercises, neurostimulation, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercises, offer valuable support during the recovery journey. Combined with the strategies mentioned earlier, such as creating a safe and comfortable space, implementing physical restraints, and using calming techniques, you can provide a nurturing environment that promotes faster healing and reduces the risk of complications.

Remember to talk to animal physical therapists and follow their guidance for a successful recovery for your beloved canine companion.