Having been through this ourselves, we know few things are worse than hearing the vet say those dreaded words: “Cage Rest.” Often the consequence of an injury or major surgery, it means your pet must be kept under tight restrictions – in a crate, out to relieve themselves on leash only, and then back in their crate.
Running, jumping, and playing are strictly prohibited; even excessive walking is frowned upon. To make matters worse, this period of restricted activity is sometimes prescribed for as long as six weeks. Here are a few tips we found that helped us through this process:
PRACTICE WITH THE CRATE BEFORE THE SURGERY
In the event that you are able to pre-plan a surgery, and your pet is not familiar with crating, it is best to hire a crate a week before the time to help them get used to the crate environment.
Make their bed inside the crate, and leave the door open at all times. Give them a treat to chew on and close the door for short periods, to help them become familiar with the closed door and be confident that it will be opened regularly.
MAKING YOUR PET’S CRATE A COMFY AND SAFE PLACE:
Adding something like their favourite blanket makes a huge difference. They have been through a traumatic experience and your goal should be to make their temporary home as calm, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Also, make sure that they are warm enough as a metal crate can get chilly.
SNUGGLE UP WITH YOUR PET:
Your pet might understandably fear the crate (how would you feel coming out of surgery and then being behind bars?) if no crate preparation has been done before the time. To help them get used to it, place the dog or cat in the crate, but keep the door open. Snuggle up nice and close with your arm/hand in the crate to help calm them down. Talk to them in a calm and positive way, maybe adding a special biscuit. The crate must be a positive space and must have no negative connections. It is important to get your pet comfortable with the crate as a stressed pet can hurt themselves whilst left alone in the crate.
"Do remember that whilst in the crate they need more love and attention. Pets are like people, when hurt they want to feel someone is watching out for them and empathizing with their pain."
STICKING TO A ROUTINE:
After an injury or surgery, the best thing for your pet mentally is to stick to their normal routine. E.g. If your pet’s normal routine would be to sleep in your room, stay near you during the day, etc. the crate helps to keep a normal routine. You can have the crate in your room during the evenings and easily move it to a place more central during the day. Keep your pet close to you so that they don’t feel abandoned and get depressed. Also stick to a routine with potty breaks (min. 5 times a day – first thing in the morning, one after each feeding, and one before bedtime) keeping each break to no more than five minutes.
Keep your friends and family updated on your pet’s progress, so that they also understand what your pet needs. Also, post a ‘Be Quiet’ or ‘Don’t knock – Phone us’ sign at your front door. A ringing doorbell or knock on the front door can cause your dog to jump and bark, which could lead to improper healing or re-injury.
FIND OUT WHAT YOUR PET CAN DO:
Ask your veterinarian for rehab exercises or massage techniques that might help keep your pet comfortable whilst on crate rest. Also, try adding a few toys to keep them stimulated (just check with your Vet).
KEEP YOUR PET ON CAGE REST FOR THE COMPLETE PRESCRIBED PERIOD:
We know this is very hard as most people usually let their pet out of the crate before the recommended rest period is over. This is because it looks like their pet is feeling better, they feel bad, or the pet starts “complaining”. Failing to complete the recommended crate rest leads to improper healing and a greater chance of re-injury.
POTTY BREAKS & ATTENTION
Taking your pet ON A LEAD for regular potty breaks every 3 hours is very important.
Crating during recovery can become lonely and stressful for some pets, please provide them with positive reinforcement and as much love as possible.
For more information on Crate Hire, contact YoYoCrates today. They offer various sizes and delivery to your door.
How to open your crate: