- After your dog is injured, when should you expect your dog to start walking?
- How far and how fast should he walk? How about swimming and dog hydrotherapy?
- What’s the best way to get your dog’s muscles back in shape and to get his stamina back?
- If your dog is a runner, when and how should you introduce him to running again?
Good communication with your dog’s veterinarian can give you some guidelines. But as always, observe your dog carefully and notice and pay attention to everything, and use that as a guide.
Here is my time line for my rehabilitation from my injury. In general, my parents and my doctors made these decisions, not I. If my parents took me swimming, I went swimming. If they took me running, we went running. They decided how far, how fast, and how long I was to be out and walking, running, or swimming. I guess in the end they made the right decisions, because I’m doing really well now. I’m not even limping!
Day 1: I was hit by the car and brought to the emergency room of the animal medical center. When I went home six days later, I had a full-splint on my leg.
During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop and then must go back home. I must walk slowly.
Week 5, Day 3: I have surgery on my broken ankle, though I’m asleep and don’t know what’s going on. When I go home, I have a half-splint on my leg.
During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop. I walk slowly.
Week 12, Day 3: I go back to the animal medical center for a bandage change. It has been 7 weeks since my surgery. Although he was going to only take x-rays at this time, my doctor removes my splint!
Since I’m allowed to go upstairs and downstairs, my parents let me go up and down a lot so that my muscles begin to strengthen. Of course, since I’m on my lead, I can’t go up and down too much, but I do it as often as they will allow me, and as many times as they will allow me. When I am home alone, my parents keep me in the living room and close the little door gate. They don’t want me jumping up on anything.
Week 13: Day 3: I go back to the animal medical center for x-rays on my broken ankle. It has been 8 weeks since my surgery. My doctor removes my bandages!
During this time, my leg muscles continue to start working again.I’m still walking with a limp. When I am outside and I start to hop on three legs, my parents slow me down so that I use all four legs.
My walks start out short. Then they get longer. Then they get longer and longer. Then they get longer and longer and faster and faster. My mom is walking longer and longer and faster and faster, too. This is good for me.
Week 16: It has been 11 weeks since my surgery. I’m running and playing in the back yard. My parents are throwing the ball and I’m chasing it and bringing it back. However, we don’t play this game for too long.
Week 17: It has been 12 weeks since my surgery. I’m walking well enough and I’m strong enough to take a walk around the block with my sister and littermate, Rosie. I am still walking with a limp.
My parents take me to the lake for the first time! My mom walks me around the edge of the lake but I do some swimming, too. I go to the lake a few times this week and I am swimming, usually in place, with my mom holding me up by my harness. My legs are getting stronger and stronger and I’m feeling better and better.
Week 19: It has been 14 weeks since my surgery. Dad takes me running with him. We run for one block!
Week 20: It has been 15 weeks since my surgery. Dad takes me running with him. We run for five minutes! Then we walk. The next day we don’t run and the next day we run again for 5 minutes again. I’m feeling stronger. Jane takes me on long walks and she doesn’t’ let me stop and rest until we get to our destination, or until we get home.
Week 22: It has been 17 weeks since my surgery. Dad and I run for ten minutes! The next day we don’t run and the next day we run again for 10 minutes again. Then the next day we don’t and the next day we do. I’m feeling stronger and my parents say that they don’t see me limp when I run. They say “Other than the bald spot on his back, you wouldn’t know he was hit by a car.”
Week 25: It has been 20 weeks (5 months) since my surgery. Dad and I run for twenty minutes! This is our “short” run. I’m feeling good. I’m not limping. We do this run now a few times a week, one day yes one day no one day yes one day no. During the afternoons, Jane takes me on long walks and she even tries to run for a block or two with me, but I’m much faster than she is and I’m always ahead of her looking back at her. They still say say “Other than the bald spot on his back, you wouldn’t know he was hit by a car.”
Week 25: It has been 20 weeks (5 months) since my surgery.
My dad says “Twenty minutes may be it for him.” I’m going to do my best to run longer and longer and further and further.
My doctor says that I’m “a healthy dog”. I love my doctor!
Week 26: It has been 21 weeks (5 months, 1 week) since my surgery.
I love my life! I go to new places and see new things. I meet new people and new dogs. I make many new friends, both people and dogs. Everybody is surprised at how well I do. When I’m off-lead, I obey my mom when she says “come”. At night I don’t limp.
But I do sleep well!