If your canine champion has recently undergone surgery, you may have noticed that they seem a bit down and lethargic as they recover. On top of the pain or discomfort running through their bodies, their movements are restricted, regular routines are disrupted, and they may be feeling the effects of prescribed medication.
Unfortunately, this often leads to a bored and restless dog who will resort to destructive behaviors to entertain themselves. On top of that, vets may require them to wear e-collars, causing further discomfort and limited mobility.
In this article, we'll discuss the signs of dog boredom, the risks of destructive behavior, and some engaging activities to help your pet stay happy and healthy while recovering from surgery.
What are the signs of dog boredom?
The most common signs to watch out for to see if your dog is feeling distressed:
- Excessive barking
- Heavy panting
- Digging in the backyard
- Tipping over trash cans
- Jumping up and down
- Acting restless
- Pacing around mindlessly
- Chewing or shredding stuff at home
How to help with dog boredom
Keeping in mind their restricted movement, there are several ways to help immobilized canines release their pent-up energy. Keeping your dog calm, healthy, and happy requires you to keep its brain occupied. For example, mindfulness exercises can prevent your dog's emotions from running high.
Here are some other dog boredom busters to relieve your pup’s distress:
Use interactive dog toys
According to studies, dogs may develop apathy, aggression, anxiety, and depression from lack of mental stimulation. Brain nourishment is essential as physical exercise for dogs, so it’s best to give your dogs something to keep them busy and entertained, like rubber balls or food dispenser puzzles.
With these interactive toys, your pet can redirect its attention away from feeling uneasy or bored. You can also play games or use simple DIY dog toys to help with boredom, such as socks or plastic bottles (make sure to remove the cap).
Try clicker training
Another way to ease your pet’s boredom is to do clicker training. Teaching dogs new tricks can help stimulate their mind, and using a clicker is an easy way to do this.
During the post-op period, you can restrict your dog from jumping up and down by training it to sit down using a clicker. Plus tasty treats as a reward is a big incentive for every successful command it performs.
Hide treats around the house
As they heal, and movement can be less restricted, games of hide-and-seek can become a fun break from the norm. You can give your pet a challenge by hiding treats or toys around the house. Not only does this stimulate their senses, but it also trains their thinking skills.
Dogs love to follow scent trails to find the source of interesting and delicious smells. For this reason, hunting games are one of the most effective stress-relieving activities for dogs. You can hide your dog’s favorite treats in difficult places to keep them focused.
Walk your dog to new places
Once walks are an option in your pet’s recovery, take your dog on a “sniffari” tour and let it explore at their own pace while sniffing all the different aromas around the area. Apart from walking, you can also take them to a nearby lake or swimming pool.
Some procedures may allow your dog to play in the water, and so a kiddie pool or springer may be a fun way to bust boredom, and cool off, especially on summer days. They will surely have fun splashing around while keeping themselves healthy and active.
Give your pup bully sticks, or frozen treats
Dogs will remain occupied and entertained when they have something to chew on, like bully sticks and bones. Munching on snacks can redirect your dog’s focus to its tasty treat. You can also give your dog some homemade frozen treats to chew, such as a peanut butter-filled Kong, watermelon ice cream, apple carrot cubes, and more.
Bust your dog’s boredom to prevent wound licking
The most important part of recovery is getting them back to their full range of activities, but that can only happen when proper rest and recovery procedures are followed. So activities should be appropriate for where they are in their journey back to recovery. Check with your vet to make sure you’re helping your dog get the best experience as they heal.
Boredom can lead to wound licking, which can lead to infection and more surgery for your pet. If left unattended, dogs may develop destructive behaviors, injuring the surgical site or tearing sutures. Keep a watchful eye on your dog to ensure they heal quickly and effectively as possible!
For more information on how to take care of your beloved pup, visit the Lick Sleeve blog today.