Having been through this ourselves, we know few things are worse than hearing the vet say those dreaded words: “Cage Rest.” Often the consequence of an injury or major surgery, it means your pet must be kept under tight restrictions – in a crate, out to relieve themselves on leash only, and then back in their crate. Running, jumping, and playing are strictly prohibited; even excessive walking is frowned upon. To make matters worse, this period of restricted activity is sometimes prescribed for as long as six weeks. Here are a few tips we found that helped us through this process:
Adding something like their favourite blanket makes a huge difference. They have been through a traumatic experience and your goal should be to make their temporary home as calm, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Also make sure that they are warm enough as a metal crate can get chilly.
Your pet might fear the crate (how would you feel coming out of surgery and then being behind bars). To help get them use to it, place them in the crate, but keep the door open and snuggle up nice and close with your arm/hand in the crate to help calm them down. Talk to them in a positive way, maybe adding a special biscuit. The crate must be a positive space and must have no negative connections. It is important to get your pet comfortable with the crate as a stressed pet can hurt themselves whilst left alone in the crate. Do remember that whilst in the crate they need more love and attention. Pets are like people, when hurt they want to feel someone is watching out for them and empathizing with their pain.
After an injury or surgery, the best thing for your pet mentally is to stick to their normal routine. E.g. If your pet’s normal routine would be to sleep in your room, staying near you during the day, etc. the crate helps to keep a normal routine. You can have the crate in your room during the evenings and easily move it to a place more central during the day. Keep your pet close to you so that they don’t feel abandoned and get depressed. Also stick to a routine with potty breaks (min. 5 times a day – first thing in the morning, one after each feeding, and one before bedtime) keeping each break to no more than five minutes.
Keep your friends and family updated on your pet’s progress, so that they also understand what your pet needs. Also post a ‘Be Quiet’ or ‘Don’t knock – Phone us’ sign at your front door. A ringing doorbell or knock on the front door can cause your dog to jump and bark, which could lead to improper healing or re-injury.
Ask your veterinarian for rehab exercises or massage techniques that might help keep your pet comfortable whilst on crate rest. Also try adding a few toys to keep them stimulated (just check with your Vet).
We know this is very hard as most people usually let their pet out of the crate before the recommended rest period is over. This is because it looks like their pet is feeling better, they feel bad, or the pet starts “complaining”. Failing to complete the recommended crate rest leads to improper healing and a greater chance of re-injury.
For a lot of pet parents, taking a break is just not the same without your four-legged friend. The travelling part can be stressful for you and your pet, but with a little planning the trip can be hassle free and much more enjoyable. Here are the top tips we found for helping you prepare:
Travelling can be very stressful for your pet, so before taking your pet on the long drive, first try a few short trips. Take them with when you go fill up the car or maybe even when picking up the kids from school. The shorter trips without stops will get your pet used to the motion of the car. Once you are back home, remember to give a lot of praise for how brave they were during the trip.
Use a well ventilated and secure crate (in other words – a YoYo crate) when travelling with a pet. Secure the crate so that it does not move around whilst driving.
Make sure you have a leash, water bowl, eco-friendly poop bags, etc. This will make pit stops easy allowing your furry friend to roam a little, have a drink and do his/her business. Tip: when deciding where to stop look for a place with lots of grass (lots of the time, places advertise they are pet friendly for pit stops). It will make the break more relaxed as you won’t need to worry about cars or roads.
Have the AC on whilst driving as it makes your pet much more comfortable. Don’t let your pet’s head hang out of the open window as it is not safe. And NEVER leave a pet alone in a car. Even on cooler days a car becomes a furnace when left standing. (P.S. Also keep in mind that your pet can’t move around if in the crate, therefore check that they are not completely in the sun for the whole trip. Adding something that shades the window will help keep your pet more comfortable.)
Getting a puppy is a wonderful experience. And with these top tips to quickly and easily train your puppy using a YOYO Crate*, there will be no need to worry about the rest:
*(YOYO Crates’ metal crates are a top pick for crate training for several reasons: Their mesh-like, collapsible structure makes them easy to disassemble and transport, and, when constructed, provides a high level of visibility and ventilation for your pup while in the crate. They are also easy to clean out should your pup have an accident in their home. Sturdy and often escape proof, YoYo crates make a great option for growing dogs as you can upgrade to a larger size when/if necessary.)
Place the crate in a familiar place where you and your pet spend lots of time (E.g. the living room). Make the inside comfy with a blanket or towel and leave the door of the crate open for your pet to explore on their own time. If they are shy or scared, leave a few treats in the crate to show them it is a nice place to be. Praise your pet once they get into the crate by themselves.
Once they are a little more comfortable in the crate, start feeding your pet inside the crate (with the gate still open). This will give them a pleasant association with the crate.
Once they are comfortable with eating completely inside the crate, start to close the gate. Only keep the gate closed for as long as they eat and open it up again once they are finished eating. With each feeding try and leave them in the crate for a little longer period. If they start to whine, open the crate immediately and don’t leave them in as long next time. However, if they whine again, wait until they stop before letting them out or you will teach them that whining equals open door.
Now that they are comfortable in the crate, try extending the time they spend in there. Include a couple of minutes where you leave the room so that they get used to the idea of being in the crate by themselves. When you return, don’t open the crate immediately. Instead, sit with him/her again for a few more minutes and then open the door.
Keep increasing the time as you do this until your puppy can stay in the locked crate for half an hour without your presence. When they’re able to do this, they’ll be ready for you to leave them for short periods and possibly even sleep in the closed crate overnight. Make sure you keep the crate relatively nearby for overnight stays though. Puppies usually need to go to the bathroom overnight and you’ll want to be able to take them out.
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