No matter what dog breed you own, they’re very active, hardy animals that love to run around and explore their surroundings. It’s not uncommon for a dog to injure itself during exploration, and when this happens, the owner needs to react properly.
In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at dog recovery and what you can do to help.
Get Help (If Needed)
Whenever an injury occurs, it’s important to recognize the signs and get proper help for your dog. Some injuries are minor and don’t need veterinary attention, while dogs can also sustain major injuries that might require surgery.
Minor lacerations, for example, usually don’t need veterinary attention. If there is very little or no bleeding, you can count on your dog healing that wound on its own.
However, larger lacerations might need cleaning and stitching; otherwise, your dog could develop an infection. If your dog suffered a nasty cut on a hike and the wound seems deep and won’t stop bleeding, it’d be best if you visited the vet.
Not all wounds are visible on the surface. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sprains, strains, and broken bones. Although no apparent sign will appear (unless there’s bone showing), dogs will feel pain if this happens, and that should be easy to recognize (more on this in the following section).
In case of sprains, strains, and breaks, you must take your dog to the vet. These injuries usually require immobilization (or even surgery in more extreme cases), and vets are the only ones qualified for these treatments.
How Do I Know My Dog Is in Pain?
Although dogs can’t talk (unfortunately), they exhibit pain in easily recognizable ways.
Dogs in pain often become more vocal – they’ll whimper and bark more and growl if the affected area is touched. Don’t think that your dog is in any way aggressive towards you – they just instinctively need to protect the area of the injury, and they’ll growl at anyone touching it and irritating the injury.
Another noticeable characteristic of injured dogs is seemingly lazy behavior. Dogs that get hurt don’t actually become lazy – they just don’t want to move too much because moving likely causes pain. This is especially common with internal injuries – contusions, internal bleedings, as well as injuries to bones, ligaments, and tendons.
You might notice that your dog is refusing food, which is very odd behavior for any animal. This is partly due to nausea and pain restricting the natural feeding urge.
Lastly, the most obvious symptoms of a dog in pain are limping and avoidance of a certain body part usage. For example, if your dog sprained a leg, it will likely hop on three legs, and this is the best way for them to rest the leg and avoid pain.
A combination of these behaviors clearly indicates that there’s something wrong with your dog, signaling that you should take them to the vet.
Helping Your Dog with Injury Recovery
You can do only a few things to help your dog through recovery. If they needed stitches, they’ll naturally want to scratch them, which is simply something they’ll have to power through. You shouldn’t scratch the stitches for them, as you could rip them open.
The best way to help your dog is to follow the veterinarian’s advice – if your dog is in pain, you might need to give them a painkiller once or twice a day. If they’re supposed to rest, then you shouldn’t take them on walks until they heal.
Some cases, especially lacerations and rashes, might need you to put on a healing balm on a daily basis.
When it comes to sprains and strains, your vet might recommend leg braces for dogs. These handy devices shouldn’t be used without veterinary recommendations (not to mention that you usually can’t buy them without a prescription). If used properly, they can greatly relieve the pressure from the healing body part.
Lastly, dogs often need emotional support during recovery, just like humans. Since they might not be able to play, run, and go on walks, they’ll likely be frustrated during this period. Playing with toys and spending plenty of time with them will be extremely helpful and prevent feelings of depression.
Having a sick dog can be a lot like having a sick child at home, and it’d be great if you could work from home during this period. Since you can’t control your dog, it’s possible that they’ll get bouts of frustration (caused by a combination of pain and loneliness), and staying home will allow you to prevent a complete disaster.