Even though we wish they could, our beloved pit bulls cannot tell us when they are in pain or discomfort. Even when dogs aren’t feeling well, they will often try to run and play as usual when excited or when play is initiated.
If your pit bull has surgery or is going through heartworm treatment, they must receive rest and relaxation in order to heal and avoid complications. Keeping your dog calm and safe after surgery and throughout heartworm treatment can be a challenge for owners since we can’t have a serious talk with our pit bulls to explain the situation. Here are some important tips to keep in mind while your pit bull recovers after surgery and heartworm treatment.
RESTRICTIONS ON MOVING, JUMPING, AND RUNNING
Dogs going through heartworm treatment must be kept calm. Elevating their heart rate can lead to fatal complications. Similarly, any motion that can delay healing from surgery or cause tears in wounds and healing sites needs to be limited as much as you are able. Help your pet by emphasizing crate rest, feeding them directly in their crate, and leading them gently by leash when going to the bathroom outside.
Unfortunately, no significant movements also means that playtime and walks need to change. Short walks may be OK, but it’s important to avoid any moderate or high intensity activity. Always talk to your vet about what activity is acceptable and safe.
After ACL surgery for dogs, “the most difficult part of recovery is encouraging [them] to rest,” according to the surgeons at Bond Vet. If this is the case for your pup, incorporate gentle rehabilitation with small movements once back home, but consider mental stimulation to satiate their desire to play.
While your dog recovers from surgery, find ways to expend their mental energy. There are multiple nose games and food toys that can keep your dog entertained without having to move around significantly elevate their heart rate or aggravate their wounds.
You can have your dog sniff out treats if you hide them in cups or your hands - or utilize interactive treat puzzles. Be sure when allowing your dog to do this, you are paying attention to their behaviors if any action is causing pain or discomfort.
STAY CLOSE BY
Your dog may want to be by your side when recovering from surgery, so the more that you can be there to cozy up, hold and cuddle, or pet your pup, the better for relaxation. You can even try giving it a little massage in areas like behind the ears or on the belly, as long as it is not irritating the surgery site.
It would help if you can set up an area specifically for your dog to spend time after surgery, preferably with a door to keep it confined until it is allowed to move around more. Promote rest by placing their crate in this designated area, encouraging your pup to relax within it by adding beloved items. Place things like their favorite toys, beds or blankets, and something that smells like you—a towel, a shirt—in the space for your dog to feel comforted.
Keeping your dog calm and relaxed after surgery or during heartworm treatment is challenging, but it is possible with some planning and creative solutions. You can help make recovery easier by following some helpful tips and tricks to keep their minds working and their movements minimal. You will have a happy, healthy, and playful pit bull back in no time!
Author Nicole McCray is a die-hard animal lover who has worked in pet care for years. She is a former vet technician, a dog mom to her two rescue pups, and she grew up living and working at her family's pet boarding facility. She loves using her writing talents to share the insight she's learned throughout her career in the hopes that her knowledge can help other pet parents out there!