Since your puppy will be restricted in their movement and exercise, the best way to tire your puppy out is to provide them with lots of mental enrichment. My favourite ways are:
- Walking holding your puppy or putting them in a bag or pram – As soon as my puppy broke her wrist we bought a pram and it has been one of the best things we have ever bought for her. It allows us to take her out with us and get her out of the house for some fresh air and some sniffs. I do recommend shortening the clip inside the pram to prevent your puppy jumping out!
- Puzzle games – I bought 2 puzzle games for Paris from Amazon and although they were a little pricey they have been so worth it! I got the top 2 levels of difficulty as these can be modified to increase or decrease the level of difficulty.
- Training – Although we have not been able to do our normal training, we have been working on some key life skills which are also mentally tiring for your puppy. We have been working on ‘stay’ with duration and distance, ‘place’, ‘look’, ‘touch’, and ‘chin’ which are all great skills to work on.
- Snuffle mats/balls – Although you can hide kibble in these, I find they work better when I put things like chicken or pate in them as this is smellier and Paris takes more of an interest in it. Snuffle mats and snuffle balls make your puppy work for their food and encourages them to sniff for it which tires them out.
- Lickmats – Lickmats are great for keeping your dog busy and slowing them down while eating. There are so many different things you can add to your lick mat to it can be a fun way to introduce your dog to new foods. I rotate which foods I add to the lick mat to keep things exciting and give Paris a range of textures, and sometimes freeze them to make them last longer.
- Hide and seek in the house – If your vet tells you it is safe for your puppy to walk around the house then you can hide some treats or food around a room in the house and send your puppy to find them. This is a good way to burn some energy as all the sniffing will tire them out. Make sure to first check with your vet if this is safe!
Be strict with exercise restriction
Your vet will advise you how much movement your dog is allowed. For the first 3 weeks while she was in a dressing, Paris was allowed to walk around as normal in the house but not run or jump, however, after her surgery her exercise has been restricted to a playpen and a short leash in the garden for toileting. This is the most part of healing which can make the biggest difference so make sure to listen to your vet.
Check the dressing frequently
Paris has had 5 dressings in the first 2 and a half weeks of having a broken leg as they keep slipping. When the dressing slips your puppy’s bones do not have as much support which can cause pain and prevent the bone from healing as well and efficiently. I made sure to check her dressing twice a day. You can do this by feeling if the dressing no longer covers a joint which it did when the dressing was first put on, and simply by looking as we were able to tell it had slipped when she lay down and her leg angled upwards.
Do not get the dressing wet
Make sure to put a poo bag or other waterproof bag over the dressing when you take your puppy outside. We were told that if the dressing got wet, it would have to be changed immediately.
Give your puppy lots of love
This is an obvious one but its easy to forget they are in pain when they appear to be walking around with their dressing on as normal, but they really appreciate those extra cuddles! Paris became a lot more clingy when she broke her wrist and hated me even leaving the room, and annoying as that was I made sure to be patient with her and take her pretty much everywhere with me to make her feel safe.
Give long-lasting chews
Long-lasting chews are good for providing dogs with a ‘job’ to prevent boredom and help them relax. There are so many different chews but I like to get natural ones such as cow ears, pig snouts, and chicken feet, that you can buy from pet shops or online. Just be careful not to feed too many and check that your puppy is old enough for the chews you buy.
It feels like this will last forever but just keep reminding yourself that this is all temporary and they will soon be back to their normal selves!
Try to make time for yourself
Its easy to get caught up in taking care of your puppy and forget that you need to take care of yourself too. If possible get someone you trust to watch your puppy for a few hours and do something you love to take your mind off things and recharge.