How To Confine Your Dog After TPLO Surgery:

A bulldog laying on the floor post operation.

Everything You Need To Know To Enhance This Important Post-Operative Healing Period

A bulldog in recovery on the floor, post TPLO surgery.

Create a post-operative healing space for your dog by following a few simple guidelines that will enhance the experience for both of you. A tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery requires restricted activity for a period of four to six weeks following the operation in order for your dog to experience a full recovery. While this time period can be challenging for both you and your furry friend, there are a few things you can do to prepare your home and ease the transition back to full mobility.

Ease the way into and through post surgery recovery and make the confinement period for your dog as relaxing as possible. Prepare your home so that you can be by your dog’s side as much as possible and avoid any further injury to the operated joint by adjusting the space in your living area.

How you and your dog move through the confinement period will have a huge impact on the duration and quality of recovery. As you learn about the specifics of TPLO surgery you will be able to compassionately create confinement space for your furry friend and prepare fully with adequate equipment and supplies before your dog returns home after surgery.

So, what do you need to know to enhance the TPLO healing period for your dog?

What Is TPLO Surgery? Understanding The Procedure Will Enable You To Better Prepare Your Home For Your Dog’s Recovery

TPLO surgery is an operation that is performed on dogs to stabilize the stifle (knee) ligaments after a torn ACL (in dogs this is known as the cranial cruciate ligament). The surgery will ease the pain experienced from a torn ACL in your dog and ultimately encourage healthier range of mobility.

TPLO surgery involves the cutting of the connective ligaments to the knee joint slightly and decreasing the slope by five degrees to the horizontal angle of the joint. Ultimately, your dog will enjoy a greater freedom of movement and freedom from discomfort. This surgery is invasive, and your dog will be under anesthesia throughout. Understanding the process of this operation will help you, as the owner, better prepare your home for you dog’s needs throughout the postoperative period.

It is essential to understand that during recovery your dog cannot be allowed to jump. As you prepare your home for post-operative recovery you will have to keep in mind to arrange furniture to limit all jumping, this means removing any furniture such as a couch, that your dog is habituated to jumping on or off of. Your dog’s knee has experienced a full invasion into the joint during operation while the ligament was cut and adjusted to a new position; this means that any pressure on your dog’s knee by jumping must be strictly limited.

In addition to the ‘no jumping rule’, your dog should limit any slipping and sliding on the floor. Linoleum, tiles, and hardwood floor can be slippery and if your dog is unable to get sound footing, he or she could potentially twist and injure the freshly operated knee joint. If you do not have carpet in your home you will want to line the confined area with yoga mats, throw rugs or some kind of surface that will be slip proof for your dog.

How you prepare your home for your dog’s recovery will have a huge impact on the success and duration of recovery. Follow a few guidelines to keep your puppy comfortable and safe during the period

Prepare Your Home Prior To Your Dog’s Return Post Operation

While your beloved your dog is in surgery and spending the first night at the veterinary clinic you will have time to thoroughly prepare your home for your pet’s return.

Keeping your dog comfortable during this recovery period is crucial, you, the owner, will be a great source of comfort for your pet and you will want to make sure that all preparatory arrangements are made before your pet comes home so that your energy and attention can be directed toward being present with your animal.

Make all necessary purchases and arrangements before your dog comes home so that you may be devoted to the nurturing portion of your pet’s recovery.

The first 14 days after surgery will be the most acute time frame when movement will be severely restricted. As recovery evolves your dog will be able to move around the home to greater extents until full recovery has occurred.

As you prepare you home for post surgery make the arrangements malleable so that as your dog gains greater mobility you can easily extend the confinement space to adapt to your dog’s needs.

Here’s What You Need To Know To Prepare Your Home For Confinement

Here is what you will need:

  • A comfortable dog bed (your dog will be spending a lot of time laying down).
  • A dog crate (if you choose to), this crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.
  • A no-slip floor (If you do not have carpet, have some throw rugs or yoga mats that you can put down in the confined room so your dog will not slip).
  • A baby gate to create a barrier to the confinement room, you may also want a second or third baby gate to block off stairs.
  • A short leash (wait to use your retractable leash until six weeks after recovery).
  • A puppy mat (within the first hours after surgery your dog may have a few urinary and bowel accidents and you will want to be prepared).

Once you have all the tools to prepare your home for your dog’s recovery you will want to choose a room where your dog will be confined for the first few weeks post operation.

Ideally, this room will be on the ground floor so that you can take your dog for short walks outside to use the bathroom. Remember, during the postoperative period you should be using a very short leash to control the expression of movement. This room should be somewhere that you and your family enjoy spending time. Your physical presence will be important for your dog’s recovery. A living room or family room is ideal. Be mindful, however that if your dog is used to jumping up on furniture in this room, you may want to remove the furniture during the recovery period so that your dog is not tempted to jump on or off of his or her habitual resting places.

You will want to block the entry points to this room with a baby gate so that your pet cannot free roam around the house. This room should be equipped with a comfortable dog bed on the floor, plenty of food, and water within easy access for your dog.

The floor in the confinement space cannot be slippery. Any slipping and sliding on the floor can cause more damage to the freshly operate knee joint. You can line the floor with yoga mats or area rugs.

As much as is reasonably possible your dog should avoid using stairs. All stairwells in your home should be blocked off with a baby gate. If you must use stairs to leave the building move slowly and assist your dog as needed.

Some veterinarians will recommend a dog crate to limit activity. If you decide that this is appropriate for you and your dog, especially if you have to leave the house, then this should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in. If you know that you can be present with your dog throughout recovery than you may not need a crate.

Set the stage for an ideal recovery. This confinement room should be comfortable for both you and your dog so that you can spend lots of time together. As the weeks pass, you will be able to open up to more rooms until eventually the entire home is open for the dog again as range of motion is found. Be prepared to use the confinement room, and only this room, for the first two weeks post surgery.

What You Can Do To Help Confine Your Dog Post Surgery And Enhance Recovery

A dog in a cone for post operative recovery.

Dogs love to play, run, and go for long walks with their people. During the recovery this will not be happening. Nevertheless, there is a lot that you can do assist your dog to remain calm and stationary.

Once you have established a confinement space in your home you can still do a lot to encourage states of relaxation for your dog within this limited space. Your touch is very healing, you will probably be advised by your veterinarian to gently massage around (not on) the knee that has been operated on. This massaging will encourage healthy blood flow back to the injured area. In addition to the healing effect of the massage has on the injury, your touch will make your dog feel safe and secure.

Find a way to be on the floor with your dog, make a space next to the dog bed where you can comfortably sit and share space with your furry friend. By stroking your dog and speaking gently to him or her you will encourage your dog to rest. If you are not in the confinement room your dog will want to look for you and will be unable to rest. If you are able to take some time off of work this will help make the confinement time easier for both of you. You may want to pull a mattress into this space so that you can sleep next to your beloved pet.

Just as you prepare the confinement space for your dog’s safety be sure that this space is also comfortable for you as you will both be spending lots of time there.

This Too Shall Pass: Recovery After Any Surgery Is Intense, Even For Our Furry Friends

The confinement period after surgery is an intense time, it requires preparing and altering your home to better enable full recovery. Remember that after six weeks your dog will experience a full recovery and be up and running again. The first 14 days will be the toughest. During this time your dog must be limited to one room and walks must be limited while using a short leash.

After the first two weeks you will begin to open your house up again incrementally. The more prepared you are for confinement, the easier it will be for both of you. Ensure that the confinement is comfortable for both you and your pet, as well as for your family so that you can spend plenty of time together.

Remember that although this post-operative recovery time can be challenging, it is a crucial time to ensure the safety and health of your dog. As frustrations arise, remind yourself that this is a limited period of time and that very soon your dog will have experienced a full recovery.

You are the center of your dog’s world, as you display signs of relaxation and calmness, your pet will follow suit. Touch, cuddle, and speak kind gentle words to your dog to ease the confinement period and limit all excess activity.
In a few short weeks you will have your dog playing at the dog park again and jumping on furniture!

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