Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Dog Care: Top 10 Tips for Surviving Crate Rest


PJ and I went through two extensive crate rests together, one after each of her knee repairs. She was confined to her crate or on leash with me until she was healed completely. These periods of crate rest taught me how to help her have an excellent quality of life in the short-term while we worked on getting her an excellent quality of life in the long-term.

Here are 10 tips to help you and your dog not just survive crate rest but to actually have some fun and grow together, as well.

  1. Write Down the Right
    Write down your goals for this recovery. Write them down now so you have them when you waver. And you will waver. Your friend will be restless or your family will be pressuring you to “just let her play for a minute” or you will want that quick cuddle on the couch. Don’t give in! Don’t let making your dog happier in moment trump making your dog happier for her life time. You understand the stakes so you have to hold the course! You can and you will be glad you did. Your words will help remind you why you are doing what you’re doing.
  2. Banish Basic Bowls
    Basic bowls allow for fast food; but you have no need for speed right now. In fact, go for slow. Prolong things your dog enjoys, when possible, and these feeding systems do just that: Northmate Interactive Feeder and Buster Interactive Food Maze Feeder
  3. Use Chews
    There are many different chew products available these days and they offer fine in crate entertainment. Some of Pip’s favorites include: USA Bully SticksUSA tendonsUSA Moo Tubes. Non-meat options include: Himalayan Dog Chew and Sweet Potato Chews. Try short chew sessions at first instead of one long one. Also, count canine calories here and give less regular food if your dog is a regular chew toy consumer.
  4. Create “Coloring Books”
    These are simple entertainments that will keep you dog occupied. Avoid toys that roll too easily for now as they can cause your dog to lunge or give chase. Not what we need!This first one I have had for years. It holds up, is easy to use, easy to clean completely so it gets high marks from me. You insert biscuits into the openings, okay, jam fat biscuits into the openings. The harder they are to insert, the harder they are for your dog to get out! PetSafe Busy Buddy Football Dog Toy. This one you insert smaller treats into as an in-crate project: Starmark Treat Dispensing Pickle Pocket for Dogs. And then there are Classic Kongs. Stuffing a kong is an art form. There are many, many ways to go about it, learn a few here.
  5. Follow Through on Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy helps dogs recover from injury or orthopedic surgery just as it helps people. To find canine physical therapy near you ask your veterinarian or check out this extensive US listing. If nothing is close by, or if you are just interested, check out: Physical Therapy and Massage for the Dog.
  6. Drain the Brain
    Since exercising your dog’s body is basically on hold, focus on tiring out that brain! Teach tricks and games that require little motion. There are plenty to choose from. This will also give you both the needed connection and fun time to balance out the separation this period demands.
  7. Create Calm
    We all need rest to heal. Dogs who are barking and upset will not get as much rest as they may need and neither will you. You must be clear about the confinement. If you are unsure, your dog will reflect that back to you. This is the way it has to be. It really IS for their own good. Get a good, nonslip crate pad, maybe cover the crate during rest periods, set up routine (such as you come out of the crate calmly and wait calmly as I put on the leash), and you let your dog sleep as much as is needed. That may well be 18+ hours a day; more for a puppy who is healing.
  8. Massage and Stretching
    Learning how to massage and stretch your dog will make your dog (and you) feel better. When we touch one another we change our brain chemistry for the better so touch is not an “extra” but a necessity. It is a gift we each can give our dogs daily and they can give us. Both activities will also make your dog easier to handle, always a good thing.
  9. Leash, Leash, Leash!
    During recovery keep your dog on leash with you 100% of the time. 110% if you have slippery hardwood flooring or tile. PJ stayed on leash for an extra month because her rehab extended into the winter—New Hampshire winter—each time. Ice was a danger so she stayed on leash. I was not getting sent back to start after eight weeks of effort – not for her sake, not for mine and not for my wallet, either.
  10. Mark Your Calendar
    Really. Mark it. Put happy stickers on each successful day. Do whatever feels right—no matter how “silly”—to help you stay the course here. This is challenging stuff. We love our dogs. We want them to be happy. They don’t understand why they are confined but we do. So we do what is needed even if it isn’t what is wanted.

You CAN do this! If you are wavering or need support, write me here. I’ll cheer you on (or give you a gentle talking to). But when it is all done and your dog is all better, I will want pictures.

Related: Best Dog Beds After Orthopedic Surgery – Crate Pads



  1. Thank you Sarah. This is such a big help while I’m trying to keep Molly resting for her injured knee (probable ACL tear). I have to print this for my family to read.
    They feel sorry for Molly being in the crate so much. This is such a good reminder!

  2. Thanks for the info! I like the massage idea a lot. I would add a conservative management brace to this list, too. I used one from Woundwear and it gave me a lot of peace of mind while my dog was resting his way back to health. (It allowed him to be mobile but restrained him enough that he wouldn’t over do it.)

  3. Hi,
    The tips are great thank you for sharing them.
    I’ve had to cage rest my border collie after she was hit by a car breaking both front legs. She had surgery with plates inserted 5 days ago.
    She’s on pain relief and a medicine from the vet to calm her a bit.
    She’s got a kong which I’ve been doing various fillings, which does keep her busy for a while. She’s got a dog game that gives treats that she can smell and gets when she lifts a flap.
    Shes not allowed to walk except literally just to sniff to get her spot for toilet. I have to keep her front legs off the ground and she walks on her back legs.
    Over the last couple of days, she become aggressive which us getting worse. She bares her teeth, snarls, barks and has even gone for me 🙁 today she’s only been out the cage once because she just won’t come out. Even if I try and open the door she’s really snarling at me. Or changing her water, putting food in, even sometimes walking near her cage she snarls at me.
    I really don’t know what to do.
    Have you any ideas?
    She’s going to be in it at least 6 wks, which is now horrifying me.

    • Hi Cathy –

      BIG hug to you – that is terrible. All of it. And of course you’re horrified.

      My guess is it’s either the pain or the meds. Is she merle? Did she have a merle parent? I ask because they can be oddly sensitive to meds. Some meds can “disinhibit” aggression so call your vet tomorrow and talk about options.

      The legs are one issue – and the BIG issue – but she may be horribly bruised everywhere so no touching other than is absolutely necessary. Petting may be hurting her and having to walk her on her hindlegs may be confusing/painful. She may be going on the defense.

      Leave her leash on when you’re home – even in her crate. Attached to a flat, well fit collar so you can move her without touching her.

      Use TONS of EXCELLENT treats as you move her around.

      Cover her crate and let her sleep – deeply – often. She’s healing and she’s stressed.

      Move around her slowly and calmly. Fast movements, kids, other animals, may make her frightened of being bumped.

      When possible, face away from her – at least a little. Facing a BC directly can be too much pressure. Even when reaching into her crate, be a bit at an angle and don’t stare.

      When she is calmer, open the crate door, toss in something delicious, close the door. Do not look or speak. Just repeat that move until she is relaxed when the door opens.

      Has she had any aggression previously?

      She is lucky to have you. That’s a horrendous injury. 🙁

      PLEASE let me know if any of this helps. I’m thinking of you. I am available for cyber sessions if needed.


    • My German shepherd 6 month old pup is also recovering from being hit. He had a salter Harris fracture and recovery is 6-8 weeks. He loves frozen soup bones from the grocery store and they last a long time. He likes his Kong as well but the soup bones last longer.

      • Yes, those can work well for some dogs. Other dogs get horrible diarrhea from them and that’s why raw bones are generally not listed. Also, people can make poor choices of bone and those can end up on the pup’s jaw.

        Also, I worry about smearing the crate and that getting bacteria in the area. Depends on why the dog is confined.

        So, it’s an individual choice but when they work well and safely they sure can keep a pup/dog busy!

  4. Hi Sarah

    My dog was savaged by a pit bull last Monday 6th jan. He was in a very bad way and has been in the vets all week. He came home yesterday on crate rest and for us to nurse him. He has inflammation of his spine and to begin with he could only move his eyes. As the week progressed he managed to sit sternum on his tummy. He was lifting his head and moving his neck around. A couple of days ago he started moving his front paws in a swiping motion. The vets were delighted as were we. The decision was made to take him off his opiates and send him home for us to nurse. He came home yesterday and was crying when I moved him. He is back in the vets today to review his home medication and is due to come home in the morning with injections. My worry is that I have to turn him from side to front to side. Yesterday when he was in pain he was going for me whenever I tried to turn him. The vets seem to think that as the feeling is returning to his front legs he is experiencing more pain. It is the injured side he is defensive of. Do you have any advice for me? I’m finding the whole thing quite overwhelming. Thank you Deborah

    • Oh Deborah!!!! HUGE hug to you and the gentlest of touch to your dog. What is his name?

      This is going to be a long, hard road. If I can be helpful to you, I would love to be. Please email me at so we can see what I can do to be helpful.

      Of course it is overwhelming – it has to be. So hard to see our companions in pain. 🙁

  5. I appreciate this post. Great tips 🙂 my chiweenie is recovering from a car accident. His pelvis was broken. How many steps did ypuvlet your fur baby take each day to potty or when eating?

  6. Hello Sarah,

    My names Laura from Liverpool, UK. I have a 5 year old miniature dachshund named Archie. Last night he suffered a slipped disc in his back leaving him bed ridden and unable to use his back legs even though he can still feel something there. I am so frightened of what might become of him, he could loose all sensation all together like a friend of mine who’s dog had a wheeler chair or we might not be able to afford the surgery if he does not recover with rest. I was just hoping you could tell me if there is anything I could do to help him along maybe massage his back and help keep him occupied, or maybe putting him in the bath to help him get his strength back. Archie is such a loving dog always wanting to go outside for walks and to play he will go out his mind with boredom. When you leave he cries trying to get out and it’s so upsetting seeing him stare at you with those big chocolate eyes.

    Thanks for reading this anyway, Laura and Archie

    • Hi Laura – So sorry to hear about Archie. I can totally understand your fears. Now, comes the tough part. You need to do what is best for him, even when he doesn’t understand why you’re doing it. Even when he whimpers. Ever when he wants OUT!

      First thing is going right to his veterinarian. After that it’s going to be rest – real, 100% confinement. No exceptions. NEVER on the furniture again (if he ever was). NEVER. 100% crate rest. When he is out of his crate, he is on leash. 100% of the time. Probably a harness but I’d talk to your vet about that.

      Your swimming idea is probably a good one but I’d find out how and when to do that from your vet or a canine PT pro. Probably isn’t going to be right now.

      Weight-loss (if he needs it), supplements (that support healing), total rest and your love are all top on my list. Archie will be in my thoughts. I hope you find him better and better every day.

    • Here’s someone to listen to – experience is speaking here!

      “Then take your dog home and put it in its crate. This is where crate training REALLY comes in handy. Merely confining your dog to the bathroom or a small utility room is totally worthless. Your dog must be nearly immobilized for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Yes, I said SIX to EIGHT WEEKS! It takes at least that long for the leaking disk material to calcify, or harden sufficiently to where it won’t move around and cause further damage to the spinal cord (think how long it takes a broken bone to heal – the break must calcify to heal – same principle with leaking disks). Sometimes it takes as long as 3 months of strict crate rest and several rounds of steroids and Robaxin for the dog to recover completely. Believe me, it is worth being patient. I have had 2 Dachshunds, one age 5 and one age 9, who each needed 3 months of complete crate rest to heal. Both made full recoveries and are fine to this day.

      The crate must be only big enough to allow your dog to stand up and turn around, nothing more. The less the spine is allowed to flex or move, the better for healing or recovery. Hand-carry your dog outside to a very small exercise pen to potty, or keep it on a short leash. Do not let the dog walk more than 3 feet in any direction while going potty. Then hand-carry the dog back to its crate as soon as it is finished. If your dog is not used to being crated, try putting the crate in a dark room with a radio playing soothing music. Ignore the protests. If your dog is not crate trained or is simply going stir crazy, particularly when it starts to feel better, you may need to get a mild tranquilizer from your vet like Valium to keep your dog quiet for the next 6-8 weeks. This strict, lengthy crate rest is absolutely essential if you want your dog to recover completely and avoid surgery. Do not give in if your dog starts walking normally within a week or two. The steroids are making the dog feel good but the disk material has still not calcified. Also, steroids will make your dog need to pee more often, so make sure the dog’s bedding stays clean and dry and take the dog out more often than it normally goes potty.”

      • Thanks, I was about to give in and let her lay on the couch! But, after reading I will stick it out. My dog hurt her back 5 days ago! Hoping to avoid surgery, so I won’t give in! Sunday she wouldn’t move and was just shaking! The vet put her on Rimadyl, tramadol and a muscle relaxant so that is probably why she is feeling better and wanting to walk! Thanks for all your posts!

  7. We are going crazy. Our seven month old puppy was hit by a car two days ago. He has a broken ulna and it is splinted, no cast. He has to wear a cone and he hates it. Between the cone and the crate he is miserable. HE is on pain meds but they only make him drowsy for an hour or two three times a day. He won’t settle down in the crate. HE barks and cries and even hits his splint on the crate.
    We are heartbroken and our other dog is very stressed by it all.
    We are afraid he is going to make his injury worse.
    He can’t figure out how to use a Kong or a chew toy with the cone on.
    Should I ask the vet for a calming medicine? He can spin the cone around and chew on the flap though I have put a bitter cherry spray on it.

    • Hi Susan – What a time you are having? So sorry to hear about the accident and now the aftermath. A hard week or all.

      Yes, ask your vet for calming meds and yes talk to the vet about any risks of activity.

      Was your pup crate trained before?
      Sometimes a darkened room or covering the crate can help.
      He will learn how to chew on toys despite the cone soon, I hope.

      I don’t know what happened but sometimes our sad feelings or even guilt can make it hard for us to be clear. Whatever happened happened and now our focus is getting him healed up. So develop the attitude of “this is what you need so this is where you’re going to be”.

      When he’s out with you, have him on leash and work those simple sits! Self control games can be calm and tired him out mentally.

      Hang in there. This is only for a while.

      Let me know how things progress.


  8. My 13 year old Dachshund partially herniated a disc two days ago. She’s been treated by our vet and put under strict crate rest (with meds). My other dog is an 85 pound Bullmastiff and is in a total funk over this (we also lost our 13 year old Jack Russell Terrier just 45 days ago to end-stage congestive heart failure) so I’m trying to keep the morale between both dogs up. My issue is, the Dox will do very well with confinement to the crate.

    What she is not doing well is the administering of the liquid anti-inflammatory by mouth. The second she sees the syringe, she goes on the defensive. When I try to insert it into the side of her mouth, she bucks and jerks her head! So not good for a pooch having to be immobilized. She puts up a fight to have nails clipped and last time she had her immunizations, it took three of us to hold her down and she’s only 15 pounds!!

    Any ideas on how to get the liquid meds into her with ease?

    • Hi Melissa – So sorry you and your dog are having to deal with this. Can you mix the liquid with something she LOVES? Some wet food or ground meat? Maybe a little peanut butter?

      There are other things to do but they all take time and you don’t have any. Keep me posted – Sarah

  9. Hi there. The above information was helpful. I want to cry when I think about the next few weeks. Our 3.5 year old beagle/corgi was just diagnosed with intervertebral disk disease. He only experienced the pain of the herniated disk, no paralysis or anything like that. We’re going to talk with our vet some more tomorrow about physical therapy for him since we saw something about it in the paperwork.

    So, just so I’m understanding correctly: it’s not even ok for him to lie leashed on his bed next to my husband on the floor? I feel so awful for him. 🙁

    Also, we have a step down from our front door to our driveway. Should we be lifting him down? And then, he should only go a few feet walking on his own to pee? He’s so used to wandering for a bit then peeing and pooping. I feel overwhelmed and just so bad for him. I can’t imagine this compounded with the trauma of having your dog hit by a car!


    • I’m also super concerned about him becoming depressed and withdrawn from us. We try to sit near him and talk to him. I guess the games and things above will help with that? Any signs of depression to watch out for?

  10. Dear Sarah,
    Thank you so, so much for this information. I am so happy I came across your blog. So informative and great advice.

    My 8 month puppy mini doxie is having surgery on his leg in 2 weeks that requires 4-6 week crate rest as he will be having an external circle fixator.
    I’m really concerned when he gets depressed & keeping his mind going.
    I am really worried about it because he just loves being outside and exploring – just like any pup! Since the warmer months are coming perhaps I can move his crate outside so he can just see life moving on around him. The sunshine may just help him.
    He loves lying down on the deck watching the birds eat at the feeder.
    What are your thoughts?

    Actually I just bought Jorvet Buster Maze Bowl for Dogs, Buddy football, pickle pocket & Brain Games for dogs. Trying to prep now before I become a basket case! I have my own blog where I am writing this whole experience please take a look at my website.

  11. Hi Sarah,
    I have a beagle puppy she has a fractured bone in her back leg, cage rest is really difficult plus even more when you have a family, she likes attention so makes a lot of noise!

    Thanks for all the information you have taken time to put up it really helped and please check out my blog to here her full story.


  12. Great post! Been reading a lot about crate training my dog. Thanks for the info here!

  13. Thank you so much for this. My springer spaniel 5 month old puppy fractured her leg and is on crate rest. as you can imagine she is not happy about it. Have you got any tips for keeping her calm when I take her out on the lead?

  14. Thank you Sarah. This is VERY Helpful. My baby girlk Sookie JUST broke her leg yesterday afternoon. She is a Siberian Husky Pup (11 mos. old). She was wagging her tail all happy, but hobbling when I got home.
    She is going to need surgery b/c of how she broke it, but she is in good spirits, albeit tired.
    I’m just worried about when I ave to leave for a couple of hours for work, with her cone on. I’m going to try to read through all this again, and see what i can do to make her recovery as smooth as possible.
    Thanks again! -LindaAli

    • Sorry to hear about your dog’s break but glad to be of help.

      Leaving her with her cone on should be fine but check with her vet. If the cone slows her down/inhibits her, so much the better while healing. She may not be totally happy but she will be totally healed.

      Keep me posted. – Sarah

  15. Thank you so much for this post. The original post, as well as the insight you have given to other comments, has been a life saver for me. My 6 month puppy, Oscar, just had surgery on his spine after a play time accident. He is recovering very well so far and your advice has helped me stay the course. I printed it off and whenever I feel myself wavering, I read it! Thank you!

    • That is wonderful to hear, Natasha. You are welcome!

      I’m so glad Oscar is recovering and hopefully will be back to his previous puppyish form soon. What happened? (And things happen in seconds, I know that well from my own experience.)

      • Thank you! Oscar ran into a screen door and was temporarily paralyzed and had severe neck pain. It did seem to happen in slow motion, but fortunately, I was there and not at work. When I took him to a neurologist, the doctor said that he fractured one of his vertebrae and rendered the second vertebrae non-functional. The doctor was able to fuse the first vertebrae to his skull and he put a screw through his second and third one. He had a half-body cast for the first few weeks but he was no longer in pain so he became a pro at getting the cast off – even though he was in his crate the whole time! Now the cast if off and he is on crate containment for 6 more weeks. He is recovering well – but now it’s the hard part for me! He desperately wants out! Thank you again!

        • Wow. Have seen dogs smack doors (screen and glass) many times without that sort of injury – poor OSCAR! He is SO lucky to have you in his corner (even if he is restless now).

          You have sure gone the distance with and for him. Applause from me.

          What sort of dog is Oscar (besides, obviously, strong and fast).

          • Oscar is a little French bulldog and Pug mix. He is very confident (which is one of the reasons I adore him) and he thinks he’s a big dog, even though he’s only about 15 pounds. He’s used to puppy play dates and doggie day camp so I think now he’s also a little confused as to why he can’t play as much.

  16. I have a 95# lab mix who hurt his right hindleg this past week, while playing outside. He’s about 18 months old. I took him to vet and got X-rays and they did the test to see if it was a CCL tear. The vet thought it was a sprain. So we came home to “take it easy”. Well 3 days later, he re injured same leg. But this time it seems much worse. I’m hoping it’s not a tear, but it seems that way. I called vet and got some tramadol and now we are doing strict crate rest. He did ok for a few hours, but now he’s starting to go stir crazy. I ordered some of your suggestions. It just breaks my heart to see him like this. And it also breaks my heart to think about the recovery if he does need surgery. I’ve literally cried off and on for the past few days. I hope the stuff I ordered helps. Thanks so much for your suggestions.

    • Hi Shelley – So sorry to hear about your young dog and his injury. It is heart-breaking but he can and will get better. Hope things proceed without surgery but, if it has to happen, you both can do it. Good luck and my sympathies – Sarah

  17. Hi Sarah! I happened to come across your site here about crate rest after looking for ideas about my Cocker mix Bender was ordered to it for 2-3 weeks after hurting his back. He had 2 vertebrates pinching a nerve and was..well..walking like a walrus. I was really worried about what to do for him since he is the “grandpuppy” (even though he is 9 years old…lol) and hates being in his crate unless it’s bed time. I was thinking of letting him lounge around on his pillow in the living room with us,but after reading your tips…I will not waver,and make him stay where he should be…and maybe just move his crate to other rooms-we spend a lot of time in our home office-so he wont feel so alone.Would doing that..the moving of his crate…be ok?

    • Hi Angie – Sorry to hear about Bender’s pain. 🙁 Moving the crate is a great compromise. Allows him to stay near by while preventing him from hurting himself. It’s tough since as the pain recedes their activity goes up so I think you’re being wise. Always check with his vet but that is a solution I would try. Best – Sarah

  18. Hi,
    Thank you for the help. My vet suggested crate rest, but didn’t really tell me what that means, so I have been trying to hold my Chihuahua a lot. We are hoping that she has a soft tissue injury, and are trying anti-inflammatory and pain medication. If she doesn’t improve in a few.days.we’ll take her back for a spinal x-Ray. How long can she be in a good size crate without a break? I’m trying to decide if it’s better to leave her home in the crate, or take her and leave her in a crate.there. My job involves a lot of driving around, so.I have a crate in my car, at work and at home, which is a lot of moving her about. She is bothering people at work because she whines in her crate. She whines when she’s out of her crate too. She is obviously.quite uncomfortable.

  19. My 11 week old chocolate lab puppy fell off our bed and broke his back leg. He is splinted and soft casted. We have to change his cast every 2-4 weeks depending on how much he grows. The vet said soft cast for 10-12 weeks. Strick crate rest for 8 weeks and breif eat/potty time. We have only had him for 2 weeks and we are treating parvo and the broken leg. He won’t spend time with us when we want him on our lap. He wants his crate. We have a 3 & 7 year old kids who want to play. They try to understand. 8 weeks seems huge. Does he really need that long? Puppies heal quick right? He tries to run now just by dragging his back leg behind him. He was very spunky the first week we had him(which was only last week). I’m sad and confused.

    • Hi Jennifer – what a saga for you all! Big sympathetic hug. {{{ }}}

      Now, your pup has parvo, too? If yes, he is sick, sick, sick and needs crate time. Think flu only worse. All you want to rest and sleep, no matter how happy or active you are when you are healthy.

      So, until parvo is 110% over, let him sleep as much as he wants. He needs it.

      As for his leg, keep up the rest for as long as the vet says. Pups do heal quickly and if the leg is set sooner, your vet will let you know.

      I’m sure this is hard for the kids. Maybe they can read to him while he rests, draw him pictures, make a book of Pup Heals Up which would help them to feel connected.

      Please keep me posted. It feels like a lot because it IS a lot. I’d be sad, too.

  20. hi Sarah! I hope things are better for you and your PJ. I have a situation that I’m hoping you or anyone else can help me with. My 9 yr old Boston terrier Brigitte needs to be in bed rest for about a month. My 6 yr old Boston terrier Zoe doesn’t. It’s been about a week and I’ve been keeping them both confined to the same space…just a small area in the kitchen. Zoe is beginning to get restless because she’s like “why do I have to stay here?” and I’m just concerned that Brigitte will be depressed if I allow Zoe to roam freely around the house or vice versa, Zoe get depressed because she has to stay put with Brigitte. You know what I mean? Any suggestions to keeping Brigitte safe and Zoe entertained? Thank you so much! And Happy News Year!

  21. Hi Sarah!
    Thank you so much for all of these tips. I’m definitely going to be printing them for my fiancé to read! We have a 1 year old HIGH energy cattle dog mix who is restricted to his crate for, at this point, 3 weeks. He went in for knee surgery yesterday. Unfortunately the knee was unrepairable and he had his right rear leg amputated. I know strict crate rest is what is best but it definitely is difficult. Any other tips for keeping him busy? He’s a dog in constant motion, always running, jumping and playing so this is a huge adjustment for him.
    – Bianca

    • Hi Bianca –

      What a week you all have had. So sorry. Do you know about the group? They are AWESOME! All about 3-legged dog care.

      Keep your energizer bunny mentally busy by rotating various durable chew toys. What does he generally like to chew on? Avoid toys that roll for now.

      Find a local canine PT person who can help you learn what exercises to do with your dog so he can be as strong and sound as possible with his remaining legs. Once his wounds are healed up, swimming can be a great exercise for him to burn off steam with minimal risks but clear it with his vet.

      Also, what food is he on? A food change, such as no more puppy food, can help with energy levels as well.

      And you get very clear, very fast that, while you know this is a drag for him, oh well. He must heal and heal properly. Short-term frustrations have long-term benefits. Hang in there, I’m cheering you on.

  22. Hi, thanks for this great post. Our french bulldog has fractured her growth late and is on 4 weeks minimum cage confined bed rest. The only time she will be leaving her crate is to be carried outside for a wee or poo. I’ve been so worried about her getting depressed so your post has given me some great ideas to keep her stimulated. I wondered how long it will take for her to get used to her crate and being confined? She seems relatively happy when I’m in the same room or sat near her crate but she is hysterical when I leave, I nipped out today and could hear her screaming from outside. It’s gonna be a LONG 4 weeks.

    Rachel & Nora (the French bulldog)

    • Oh 🙁 It IS going to be a long month. So sorry to hear about her break.

      Sometimes covering her crate can make things easier. Help her sleep more and fuss less. Dogs can be Olympic sleepers, logging 20+ hours a day, and that would be good if she’ll do it.

      Also, girding your own loins about this. If you seem concerned, apologetic, worried, it makes it harder for your girl. Aim for loving but matter of fact: “This is what needs to happen for you to heal. Sorry but that’s the deal.”

      Good luck. Best, Sarah

  23. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for this great post. We bought our 5 year old Buddy (Beagle) home from the vet this morning for a 6 week period of crate confinement to help heal a disc issue near his neck.

    He has rested well for a couple of days at the animal hospital, and we had no problems getting him in the crate, but now that the drugs have worn off he is becoming quite anxious and restless. We are having trouble getting him to take his medication, and he is not eating so hiding it in food is hopeless also. I’m sure we can overcome the medication problem, but I’m not so sure we are going to have an easy time getting an anxious by nature beagle to get used to crate life, especially when he starts to feel physically better.

    My husband and I can’t decide where we should have the crate most of the time, we have been taking time off, however, in a few days time we will have to go back to work. We have organised our next week so that the most he will ever be left alone is for 5
    hours but we kind of want to gear him up for crate life before then so he is used to it. Do you think we should have the crate in once place permanently to help with this. Or move it around so he is with the family except for the times we are out?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We have written down the right, bit we are not sure if we are doing it right.


    • Great questions, Lauren. Let Buddy tell you. If being around you is calming, great. Do that. If it makes him more restless or causes him to get upset when you leave, then leave it in one spot.

      He will survive the crate rest and surviving it will make him more comfortable for years to come.

      Pill Pockets are can helpful. Dogs do seem to like them. As is peanut butter, cream cheese, a bit of wet food and little meatballs.

      Good luck! You CAN do it!

  24. Great idea To print this out! My husband and I are both softies. It is just breAks my heart. Great encouragement!

    • You can do what is best for your dog’s longterm health. It’s a different wort of love but an important one. Rooting you on!

  25. Thank you so much for this post!

    Our 4-year-old dachshund, Wall-E, recently hurt his back with a herniated disc. It seems to be mild, vet said 4-6 weeks oughta do it, and the crazy thing is… I think he’s handling it better than me! I have anxiety anyway but now it’s through the roof worrying about him. To make matters worse, we will be leaving town for a few days and my dog expert friend will be staying with him. He’s not a huge fan of us leaving, now he has to deal with that PLUS being stuck in his crate! I’m trying to do as you said and be loving but firm. It’s painful to hear him cry when all he wants to do is cuddle and sleep with us, but I keep telling myself that he needs this, and I’m doing what’s best for him, and that this is temporary. He will survive and so will I! I will repeat it to myself until I can get my act together! Good thing he has his dad, my boyfriend. He’s calm and laid back, definitely better energy than me. Thanks again!

    • Good for you, Kristin, for knowing what’s going on, feeling the upset but loving him enough to do what you know he needs rather than what he wants in the moment.

      It IS hard but that, sadly, doesn’t change what his back needs. You are loving him OUT of pain.

      Now, you can have multiple crates around the house if you want to keep him near you. And, be sure to cut back on his calories to keep him lean. The less weight on that long back, the easier it will all be.

      Hang in there!

      • Thank you! Before this injury we were trying to take 2 pounds off him (a lot for a dog who’s only 12 pounds!) since he already has luxating patella in both rear knees. It’s diffucult with him because he’s very low energy. I cut back his food to 3/4 of a cup a day but that hasn’t done anything and I’m afraid to cut back more than that. I’ll talk to the vet about PT/general exercise options when we go back in 4 weeks.

        Speaking of, I’ve been torturing myself reading about IVDD and “normal” recovery… Everywhere says 6-8 weeks minimum but my vet only said 4? I also wish I knew milestones to watch for or something like that. He’s walking funny still, but this was just day 2 of cage rest, so I’m sure that’s normal. I’m driving myself crazy wondering if I’m doing everything right! In my dream world, a vet would come see him every single day and tell me his recovery is normal. I’ve been taking him outside about every 4 hours since I know prednisone causes frequent urination, but is that too much? Ok I’ll stop thinking out loud now! Thanks!

        • It’s tough when there is so much info out there!

          Food. My dog, Pip, is 35 pounds. She’s get a bit more than 1/2 cup a meal, 2 meals a day.

          So, I might go to 1/4 cup, 2 x a day for your guy. You can feed it in kongs or such to make it last longer.

          As for rest – that’s your vet’s call. But you might look around for a good canine PT person. They can give you concrete advice/support for recovery.

          Hope this helps –


  26. Sarah thank you for this blog. My 12 year old Chihuahua has had a very healthy life and at this point he is starting to show his age. He’s showing all the hallmarks of Invertebral Disc Disease, he has bounced back from an IDD episode last year and now we’re having a relapse and he’s not bouncing back. I read a couple of articles recommending crate rest between 3 weeks and 8 weeks. We are on our third day of crate rest and I just can’t imagine going thru 2 months of this, and I am trying so hard not to waver. Last week he had a pain episode so bad I was convinced he was going to have to be euthanized, but my husband encouraged me to give him some time, I just cannot stand to see my little Reese suffer even a little bit. I suppose I need tougher skin. I am getting him some chews today to help occupy him. He’s not very good with toys, not able to squeak them etc. but that’s nothing new. Any other recommendations? Thank you for your list!!

  27. Thanks.. I have a 3 month old beagle collie puppy whose back leg is swollen at the heel she jumped very high and landed funny on pavement.. the vet looked at the x-ray and said there maybe a fracture but the radiologist there said there wasn’t.. Very confused. He said to crate rest her for a week.. She hates her crate and cries and barks and looks at me with almost tears in her eyes.. It’s been so hard especially with work.. I cant think strait and feel awful..

    • I bet you’re tired and she is stressed but crating is a lifeskill to acquire for just this reason. If she were used to her crate, you could help her and neither of you would be stressed. So, gird your loins and help her heal the way you know she needs to heal. Allowing her to cause more injury to herself could easily impact her entire life. That is too big a price to pay, no matter what.

      Time for her to get used to her crate! Good luck. You can do this!

  28. Great tips! My 4 and a half month old puppy is under leash and crate rest and has been freaking out in his crate. It also doesn’t help that he has a cone on his head so he doesn’t pick at the stitches on his stomach after an emergency surgery because of gorilla glue. I’m trying to just lay next to his crate and be in view 24/7 to help him calm down but he still whines to come out and get the cone off. I feel bad because he’s scared and confused but I know I have to be strong. It’s sad to see him banging into things because of the cone even when on a leash, do you know anyways to help him navigate a little better? Please email me

    • Hi Drew – in this case, it’s all up to you. Every time he bumps something LAUGH – not at him but in a “hey, this is FUN!” way. You have to tell him how to cope. Show him.

      And if all he’s doing is whining. that is not what I think of as “freaking out” but rather a bit confused and that’s okay.

      You took good care of him, got him surgery and now, he needs to rest and heal. Sorry to hear about the glue but pups get into things in SECONDS. Forgive yourself, if you are being hard on yourself, and set the course for his healing. When the human gets onboard without guilt or doubt, often that can help the pup. Good luck!

  29. We have a 14 year old yorkie/maltese who has always been so healthy and really still is except for an ACL tear. We have her crated and she handles it so well. My questions are: should I leave her bed in the crate for her to rest on or is she better on the rug that is over the hardwood ( the bed is soft and bumpy and the carpet is smooth but hard) We are also heading on a 5000 K trip in a car with our dog and I am wondering how we should keep her secure in the car while we are driving.? She has made the same trip with us 4 times in total but never with an injury. This trip we are not sure what to do to keep her safe and comfortable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I just stumbled on your website while researching how to entertain a caged dog and am so thankful I did. I love my little girl and hate to see her caged but know it is what needs to be done. Thanks

    • Oh, excellent questions.

      Bed in crate. Yes. In general, a firm footing is easier when recovering from such an injury, so she can easily get her good leg under her when she wants to stands up but watch her. If she manages well in her regular bed then it’s probably okay.

      Travel: A smaller-than-usual crate/cage. I like the plastic-sided ones so she can brace, if she needs to. That way she should be able to brace herself easily if there is a sudden stop or turn. That said, I’d ask your vet for ideas on that. Love to hear what he/she suggests.

      Your little one is SO lucky to have you!

  30. Thanks for your great suggestions Sarah. We are visiting the vet tomorrow so I will let you know what he says.


  31. I have a 4 year old Shih Tzu who is just home (first night) from spinal surgery He has degenerative disc disease and had a big massive from one exploding on his spine along with a blood clot. This is his third day on from surgery – day one after surgery massive improvement in mood and and making effort to walk and can urinate day 2 – even better on his legs amazingly infanct 3- surgeon is so happy he came home this evening. He’s never used to being in a crate at home so has winged a bit but nothing major, his breathing is slightly elevated but I’m putting that down to stress of a cage and he’s due his meds in a hr so possibly has slight pain. Is this all normal? Im over worrying but I don’t want to cause him more harm x

    • Sounds like things are going really well, Claire. Congrats and I hope that all continues. Keep him crated and quiet so he can heal up. You’re doing great!

  32. Hi
    Millie (springer spaniel) has broken her toe in 5 places 🙁
    She is home and I am unable to keep her calm she is still bouncing and trying to run about as if nothing has happened. I play mind games give her a kong and chews to try keep her occupied but even with these she wants to play and move about with them. Her paw is bandaged with a splint in it. She is 2 and has never been in a crate
    I am really struggling to cope and fear she may loose her toe or even leg as she has already lost a toe on this foot

    • Oh, you’re in a tough place. So sorry.

      I’d suggest the My Smart Puppy pressure/release games like the Simple Sit and the Guided Down to both calm her and give you control over her, even when she is excited. This is not the time, probably, to attempt crating but it sure would help if you could crate her. No easy answers here.

      A head halter, I like the Halti or Coastal’s Walk n Train would probably calm her, too, though she won’t be thrilled about it.

  33. Cutie is 9 months old. She got hit by a truck and shattered her back leg. She had surgery and has pins in her leg. Exactly 1 week after surgery she got excited and jumped dislocating her pins. She had surgery again. After the first surgery I didn’t have too much trouble tending to her. After her second surgery she’s been getting the habit of pooping in her cage and fighting me on her meds. She also managed to take her cone collar off and take out all of her staples (10 days after surgery). Her insiction seems to b healing OK but still worried. What can I do to stop her from pooping in her cage ( I already take her out 3 x’s a day). And should I just let the insiction dry and heal or cover it up some how? I can’t afford more vet bills. 2 surgeries r costly enough. Help?!?!

    • Hi Gloria – what a journey you’ve been on! Take her out 5 x a day: first thing in the AM, after breakfast, midday, after dinner, before bed. See if that helps. Also, check the amount you’re feeding. She may need less, being on “bed rest” and all.

      No idea about the incision beyond if it is closed, you lucked out and if it’s open, she needs to see his vet. Now, as above, short leash and no apologies. She MUST stay calm and she MUST heal up so don’t feel badly for her. You’re helping her. Good luck!

  34. My puppy broke his humerus bone and had surgery to repair the bone. We are in week 3 of strict crate confinement. Next week he will go for his radiograph. I am literally at my wits end. He is 11 weeks and want to be a puppy and when I take him out for his potty he will lunge and pounce along with trying to run. He of course is on a leash and I try to put the brakes on him. This is breaking my heart.
    The vet said if xray is good we could start to give him short walks. All good, but another month will be needed for a complete recovery where he will be kept on a leash in the house and no toys to over excite him.
    I am so worried that I will fail him somehow and he wil need more surgery.
    My wallet cant take that as it has been very expensive for the surgery.

    • Hi MaryAnn –

      The easiest way to get through this (and no way is actually “easy”) is for you to become instantly and unapologetically clear about what he needs. No feeling “bad” – you’re protecting him. You may find a a head halter helps. It’s hard, on both of you, I know and you know that he has to cope. Now, my guess is that all the training and connection you will get through this time period and will make you two closer. He will be a once in a lifetime dog! Now, keep the leash short and tell him to quit it before he hurts himself and bankrupts you!

      • Than you. I really need encouragement. Deegan is really getting very anxious and when I take him out of his crate to do his business he will sometimes start to bite me. My arms are filled with bite marks. He will become out of control and down rite scary. I know he hss so much pent up energy being crated for so long. I know he must be in order to recover from humerous surgery.
        I worry that his loving nature has left him and will he ever become that sweet puppy again? I feel so guilty and hurt for him. I am trying to make him feel secure but is so difficult when he gets do out of control and starts biting at me.

        • Pups feel secure with structure and direction. Can you find a local trainer who can help you? I’d be focused on working his brain while his body heals and it sounds like you need hands-on-help to make that happen.

          (And great chew/food toys, too.)

        • I was wondering if you were able to make it through the whole time and still have a great dog on your hands?

          We’re going through something very similar with our 15 month old…

          • Hi Greg – You can have a great dog at the end. Use this time to teach calming behaviors, safe tricks, learn how to massage your dog and do the necessary PT. This enforced connection period can build your connection and attachment so stay strong!

  35. We are on week 2 of our 110 lb, 7 month old St Bernard pup having TPO surgery, (1st hip). THIS IS TOUGH! My husband and I keep telling one another “eye on the prize” I can’t WAIT to see his big, silly, self running and playing in the snow. Right now we are just getting through each day, and praying for a miracle…that we won’t need to do the other hip. (vet already said we would but still praying). You are so right about the long term. Having this big lug for possibly 10 healthy years is worth this.

    • Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your pup. Such a surgery on such a young dog. 🙁 I support you in supporting your pup. It is HARD but you have his best interests at heart. Hang in there! You have my respect. – Sarah

  36. My 12 week old puppy had a 2 by 4 fall on his foot and crush his toe and two of his growth plates ?. The vet put him in a splint and on complete crate rest. I feel so bad for him. I hate only taking him out to go potty or eat and putting him back in. I hate hearing him whining and barking to come back out. He looks so sad and I am so scared he is going to feel neglected or even worse grow to hate us. I also feel really bad because we have another dog who has full range of the house and he sees her walking around. I know it’s for his own good but it’s really starting to get to me and it hasn’t even been a full week he’s been on crate rest. I have another 7 weeks to go. How can I make it easier on him? How can I make him feel like I am not neglecting him? How am I going to get through this? I feel so bad for him. He is on pain meds but it’s only half a pill once a day and only makes him tired for about an hour or so. Any advice would help and be greatly appreciated.

    • Oh, bummer. He will NOT hate you. Not at all. Survive this by rotating toys, massage time on your lap (depending on his size) and if that is okay with your vet. Sitting near his crate and doing your work or moving the crate near you (depending on size.) He needs lots of rest and follow your vet’s instruction but you WILL get through this.

  37. Hello Sarah,
    amazing blog, so very helpfull.
    Our 3 months old, Siberian husky puppy, Oscar, had 4 days ago a fracture(broken knee) repair. They performed an external fixator. His vet insisted to ambutate his leg but we moved on and asked for a second opinion and -thank god- they managed to save our puppy’s leg. He is taking pain killers at the monent but they don’t really help him stay calm. The surgeon suggested crate rest for 6-8 weeks but he is not crate trained and the monent that he is in there starts jumping, biting the crate to find a way out and of course barking. I am afraid that he will harm himself by doing all these so i am letting him out. When he is out, he sleeps calmly.
    We’ re going back at work tomorrow though and we don’t feel comfortable at all leaving him outside the crate, nor inside. I believe that he he didn’t have a good start with the crate, and probably he is afraid of it so maybe we should teach him that it is not that bad. Any ideas on how can we erase a bad experiance and create a new good one?
    Thank you so much for all your help.

    • Hi Georgia – I am so sorry to read this. Sadly, I don’t have any quick fix for this difficult situation. Sometimes covering a crate can help a pup calm down. I hope things have calmed down for you and your pup and that he is healing up well. Sarah

  38. Heading down to pick up my 5 month old border collie. She has had to plates put in her front leg after she ran to close to my car. I feel so bad about the whole ordeal and am beside myself putting her in a crate as she is so active.

    • Hi Fiona – If you are an excellent nurse and help her to heal properly, she will be active again. Let her hurt herself before she has healed and healing gets more complicated and can take twice as long. So, you love her by confining her. You know what is best for her. Good luck. – Sarah

  39. Hey Sarah

    It’s the night before our ACL surgery and this 6 month pregnat mom of a fur baby is an ABSOLUTE mess.

    I took his water away an hour ago and offered it to him before I did so… and now he’s looking for it.. I’m hysterical. I want to give it to him. He has no idea why I’m fasting him..

    Please please remind me I can get through this. I feel like such a terrible mom and my heart is broken..


    • Oh Lisa – Sorry you’re having a hard night. You know, intellectually, that you are taking away the water to keep him safe during today’s surgery. And you know you are awash is good Momma hormones prepping you for your soon-to-arrive child, so, I bet you are emotional.

      Keep doing what you KNOW is right, even though your emotions are making things complicated. Sometimes loving our dogs requires us to take actions they cannot comprehend. At those times, our calm, loving presence can be their anchor. Hang in there and I am sure everything will go smoothly today. Sarah

  40. Hi Sarah,
    So grateful to have found your website and terrific tips. 2 months ago I rescued a sweet, abandoned dog that was living in a cemetery here on Guam. I know nothing of her history, and Guam has 60,000 wild “Boonie” dogs on island that are of mixed breed. She quickly became part of our family and is the sweetest dog. I named her Abby. Yesterday she began stumbling and having difficulty using her back legs. I took her directly to the vet, who has diagnosed her with a slipped disc and is assuming the issue is genetic. I pick her up from the vet tomorrow and will be needing to crate her for 4 weeks as per the vets instructions. These tips will help tremendously. If you have any other advice for recovery of disc issues I am all ears! Thanks for the info! Headed to purchase her crate, toys and treats now.

    • Wow, Abby is one lucky dog!

      Tincture of time is the only real answer. Tincture of time. One of the hardest things to allow to happen.


  41. Hi,
    Toby is my 16lb schnauzer mix. He is about 6.5 years old and was never crate trained because ive always been at home with him. He hurt his back and is on crate rest. Do you have any suggestions on how to crate train him fast so that he can start to like the crate and not hurt himself even more?

    • Hi Jessy – That is a tough situation. Things that might help are: meds from the vet to keep him calm the first week or so, covering the crate so he can’t see things and get frustrated, not talking to him or looking at him when he is in the crate so he doesn’t get more frustrated, being calm and unapologetic when taking him out or putting him in and having a series of good chew toys for him so he can focus on them when he is crated. So sorry he hurt himself and good luck – Sarah

  42. Thanks for the tips.

    Unfortunately our 3 month old puppy is stuck in a crate for 4 weeks post surgery to repair a fractured leg. It is heartbreaking leaving him confined whilst we go to work, especially considering he had the freedom to roam around a backyard previously. We are 3 days in, hoping he begins to get used to it.

    We have had him out of the crate whilst we are home and I have been basically been carrying him around like a baby or had him on a short leash so he can walk around the house. We are worried that this is getting him a little excited and obtained sedatives from the vet to calm him down, but being a pup he just has endless energy!

    Another thing we are trying is leaving him in front of the TV in the crate to watch National Geographic Wild. We aren’t sure if he likes this or not, but I read dogs do like watching other animals? Any thoughts on this?

    Brain games are tough as he just wants to bite everything he sees (still teething as well). Will have to research more ideas to drain him that way.


  43. This morning Luna, our 2 year old, VERY high energy, high drive, Spanish Water Dog came running in the house on 3 legs, her rear right leg flopping (for lack of a better word). I rushed her to the vet, where she was diagnosed with a complete Achilles tendon tear. From what we can tell, she was somehow jabbed in the leg with a tree brach (we had a wind storm last night and 2 large branches came down) which severed the tendon. The puncture is tiny, but apparently that is all it takes. Because it’s a complete tear, she actually is not in much pain at this point. I, on the other hand, am an absolute wreck. We have her surgical consult tomorrow, and I’m guessing surgery will happen by the end of the week. The recovery for this type of injury is HUGE – minimum 3 months crate rest, 8 weeks completely non-weight bearing, 6 months of PT, etc. I am so overwhelmed with it all that I do not even know what to do. This dog sleeps under the covers with me every night. She goes to daycare twice a week so that she doesn’t make us all nuts. She does (did? do they get to go back to it after this type of injury?) Agility. She walks 5 miles a day whenever possible. How in the absolute world are we going to get through this? And of all ridiculous nonsense, she rubbed the entire top of her darling nose completely raw in a crate at the vet today. Silver lining is that she is crate trained – she doesn’t LOVE her crate, but at least she understands it and usually does well in it. We have plenty of Kongs, and she does wonderfully taking meds and such. But she is a velcro dog and wants to be next to me and touching me as much as possible. I worry so much that she will become neurotic and/or depressed, and that she will be a different dog after so much confinement. Can i hold her in my lap on the couch (or on the floor?) to snuggle when she is recovering? Does that still count as rest? Is there anything we can do to keep the rest of her body strong while keeping her injured leg immobile?

    • Hi Sarah – What a freak and terrible accident. I’m so sorry to hear of it. Now, this IS going to be a long haul. The absolute best gift you can give the dog you so love is to gird your loins, get very clear on what needs doing, and be unapologetic about what is necessary. And I know that will be hard on you. Very hard. But it will make things easier on her.

      I’d get a whole lot more chew and puzzle type toys. Start a list of tricks and behaviors you will be able to teach her. Contact K9 PT people who can advise you (in conjunction with her surgeon) on what can be done when and how to do it.

      Look for the best way to follow the rules, not to make exceptions. The goal is to get her healed up as quickly as possible, not to risk sending her back to start and your heart(and wallet) back to start by fudging the rules. You are the authority figure here. You know what is best. Don’t try to work around it. Embrace what needs doing and do it. That’s your job. It’s not a fun job right now but it is the best you can do for her. You can do it! Sarah

  44. Hi Sarah- Very interesting tips. Is really a big help for us right now.
    Still we need some advice about what and how to do thing for my baby.
    My Pekingese “Cuchi” is in a crate since 2 days now (started 12/21/15) she has IVDD, she is 11 years old, and she is a very healthy and dynamic small dog; until around 45 days ago when one day she started walking funny mostly on the front legs, she fell in the yard and I thought was a hole, now I remember when was the first episode and she became between scared to move; we took my baby to the vet and he put her on prednisolone 5mg once a day and Tramadol 1/4 if she was in deep pain; this last one was given few times in the 45 days she had the problem. She improve despite I saw her goofy and sleepy most of the time. Still she was walking to do her necessities.
    Again she went down a bit and better another days. Back to the vet. He made arrangements for us to get her an MRI .. Tomorrow.
    Vet told us she might need surgery.., I read that there is another option a Conservative treatment one and this is what we are going for.
    1- Can keeping her with this medication in the crate will help to recovery?
    2- Should we run the 8 strict crate time for her?
    3- Can she go out for minutes to exercise the legs? Can the extremities get worse without use?
    4- Should I massage her as I did every morning when she wakes up?
    5- Should I take her with the crate to some areas of the house since she must not go downstairs ?
    We are trying to do the right and safe thing for her without surgery at this age.
    Thank you,

    • You have so many excellent questions. I’d find a good K9 PT person who can work with your dog’s vet to come up with the best treatment plan possible. Something like swimming in a tank (or with a peke in the tub being held securely) might be safe and strengthening but I do-not-know. You need people expert on this problem to support and help you. Wishing you all the best – Sarah

  45. I suddenly lost use of my back legs…it’s a disc thing! My early life was spent in a too-small crate and now I’m confused and sad. My best friend is making me stay in one now and even though we go outside a few times a day, I hate the towel under my belly and just can’t pee! We are all miserable on this 2nd day of extreme restrictions. Any advice for my human to help me potty and not feel so betrayed?!?

    • It is hard but rest is the only way you can heal. 🙁 It’s just the way it is. Like a cast, no matter how awkward, is just the way it is when a leg is broken. Cutting the cast off because the child or pet doesn’t like the cast isn’t doing them, or the injury, any favors. You have a very serious injury. So, look on the bright side: you have a home that loves you dearly so this confinement is nothing like your earlier one.

      As for how to pee, that is a question for your doctor.

      Hope you feel better soon – Sarah

  46. Hi Sarah,
    Just brought our 70 lb dog home from ACL/CCL surgery. He is in his crate right now (which he was not trained in) and boy does he hate it. Hoping he gets used to it in a couple of days and are determined to stay strong through all the whimpering and sad eyes. Biggest question is about walking him with the sling thing. It seems to want to bunch up on his wee wee which isn’t conducive to his making water. Should I cut a slit in it to make room? I don’t know. Any insights at all would be appreciated as this is about a 7-8 week recovery. Thanks! Tony J. (and Jax)

    • Hi Tony – Good for you for staying strong. Not only does careful rehab help the surgical leg do as well as possible but it protects the “good” leg a bit more. That leg is often at risk for injury, too, so doing what you can helps minimize the risk of a second surgery down the road.

      I’d talk to the vet about the sling. Not sure what your options are there. Good luck and pats to Jax. – Sarah

  47. Our poodle pup broke her front leg (elbow) when she was 3 1/2 months old. After surgery to insert a pin and screw with no cast or splint (nothing), the surgeon told us to keep her from jumping and on all 4 feet. She had just discovered how to jump and likes to walk on her back feet so that was very hard. But she seemed to be doing great. When we took her back for her 4 week x-rays, we were told she was doing pretty good, but not good enough. There were a couple of spots she was worried about and said we’d have to put Molly on bed rest in her crate for 4 weeks or she might need the operation again. She had actually turned the screw out 1 full turn. But she never cried or showed any signs of soreness, so we thought she was doing fine. We were devastated! For one thing, she is overly active (everybody at the hospital and our own vet’s office already know her because she is so “wild”). We call her the tazmanian devil. We have tried to leave her in the crate, but can’t because she likes to dig up whatever she has to lay on. First we had a thick quilt for her, but had to take it out. Then we tried just a towel, but she digs it too, We also put her soft foam bed in and the same happens. And even if she isn’t digging at blankets, she scratches at the door, not a few little scratches, we mean both feet going like she’s digging a hole. Even when she’s not in the crate, she will dig like that at even just the hardwood floor, the couch, whatever. Also, she loves to pounce at anything (hard to describe)-she goes forward and sideways and we’re scared this is part of why the screw came loose. When she starts this we have to catch her and hold her to calm her down. We have either been keeping her in her crate for as long as she can stand, or on a short leash or on our laps. I’ve looked through the posts on your site and have found some very interesting questions and advice, but nothing that really fits our situation. Any advice on how to keep our Molly (the mountain goat/tazmanian devil) calmed down would be very appreciated.

    • Sounds like you could use some hands on help. Hands on help and probably a head halter. Hard to train while your pup is recovering from surgery. 🙁 She is such a baby.

    • I’ve been having the exact same problem! I’m fostering a puppy and he had the same surgery and keeping him on crate rest has been almost impossible. To make matters worse we left him over the weekend with another foster parent, who was supposedly experienced taking care of hurt animals. When we picked him up, he was limping and the incision/break area is very swollen. We are waiting to hear back from the vet – crossing my fingers the screws are okay! I don’t know if the shelter can afford another surgery for the poor little guy.

  48. Some training help to teach you how to get her to settle herself. The head halter can make it easier to control leaping and pulling but would have to be intro’d slowly and tactfully.

    You have a tricky situation and a lot rides on it. Just mulling options for you.

  49. So happy to have found this. We are fostering a rescue who was hit by a car just before Thanksgiving. The vet said he should be crated for another 6 weeks. It’s so hard because he’s a puppy, full of energy and SEEMS better to us. I know however, that we are not the qualified doctors, so we’re roughing it out. I do feel so bad for him though.

  50. Hi Sarah,

    My 13 year old pug was just diagnosed with a herniated disc in her neck. She was in a lot of pain but finally w all the meds is feeling better. Now the problem is she will NOT stop barking in confinement at night. I\\\\\\\’m talking about hours on end. Last night it was 7 hours straight of barking. I had to board her today at the vet for a few days bc I work and have not slept for more than 3 hrs a night in days. I live in a small apartment so I can\\\\\\\’t get away from it and I have neighbors that I fear will start complaining. She\\\\\\\’s on a bunch of different meds that should make her drowsy (codeine, trazadone, gabapentin, etc) but they don\\\\\\\’t and she is too upset that she\\\\\\\’s in confinement to relax. She is also on a sedative that I give right before bed. It hardly does anything. If it does she falls asleep it\\\\\\\’s for a few hours, wakes up and is back to barking. I\\\\\\\’m supposed to give it right before bed but I end up giving it earlier bc the barking starts from the time I get home at 6pm and doesn\\\\\\\’t stop. By 9 pm I am losing my mind from the incessant barking. I am at my wits end. Also bc she\\\\\\\’s so upset that she\\\\\\\’s confined she is thrashing around and I\\\\\\\’m sure doing more damage than if she was out walking around. Do you have any suggestions? This isn\\\\\\\’t working. She was never crate trained and is used to sleeping w me.

    Any help is appreciated!!

    • Oh, that is hard for EVERYONE!

      Get some local hands on help. Consider a second crate by your bed so you both can get some sleep and also a citronella bark collar. She needs some help stopping so she can get some rest. You both need it!

  51. Uhg, this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do involving my pomeranian after surgery. He has never ever been created (he’s 8 yrs old) so he absolutely does not like being in there. He sits there and cries but infant tell if he is in pain or just wants out of the crate. He had “Perenial – unilateral hernia” surgery, pulled all of his teeth, and neutered him, all in one sitting. I feel so bad for him and just want to faulter from my written schedule for meds and when he gets out of the cage and when he eats. But every time I stray from the routine and let him out of the crate to lay with me, he ends up trying to jump off the bed and/or do something that will further injure himself, and there is no way I can afford to take him back in. How long after surgery should I keep him created? He also wears an “e-collar” all of the time except for when using the restroom outside (he just keeps scooping snow into his collar lol) any advice ?

    • Hi James –

      That is a LOT of surgery but he will recover quickly and will only have to recover once. Follow his vet’s instructions closely and your pom should heal up well and completely. You’re doing great! – Sarah

  52. I guess I should proofread my post before I post it. Stupid predictive text. Corrections, not “INFANTS” I meant to say “I CANT”. Not “CREATED” I meant to say “CRATED”. Sorry for the mix up.

  53. Thank you for this! Penny is going in for ACL surgery Friday and will need to be confined for six weeks after. We are usually very active so it’s killing me to watch her just lie around. This list will be extremely helpful! I would add soup marrow bones to your list of chews. You can find them in practically any meat department (you may have to ask the manager), they’re a decent price, they’re natural, and if you freeze them they take a few hours to go through. And even after your dog cleans them, most still enjoying chewing! (Or you can fill them with peanut butter and treats and freeze them.)

    • Hi Mary – Sounds like you are well prepared! I didn’t list soup bones since some dogs can have terrible gut reactions to them and, if size of bone is chosen poorly, dogs can consume the bone itself and end up with issues. Pip loves marrow bones, herself, but when I write for the masses, I keep the downsides in mind and skip things that can cause such issues.

      Hope her surgery goes perfectly! – Sarah

  54. This board has helped me so much already. Our puppy just got home from having surgery for a broken femur bone. I am feeling so guilty as if I failed my sweet little puppy and I feel even worse that she is confined to a kennel most of the day for 6 weeks 🙁 I don’t want her to feel as if I have neglected her from her usual love and all of the attention she is used to during this healing time. does the overwhelming feeling of reading all of the do’s and don’ts get easier with time?
    -A worried/stressed owner

  55. Hi everyone, I have just discovered this site, my very bouncy 2 year old springer had a nasty fall on Tuesday and now has multiple fractures in her back left knee 🙁 she had her 3 hr op yesterday, it went as well as can be expected, lots of pins and internal wire structure for support ( to be taken out in 8-10 weeks) so 10 weeks in her crate 🙁 ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh how do I keep a ‘springer ‘ still for 10 weeks- help!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I’ve had springy springers myself so I know of what you speak. She’s going to have to live on leash or in her crate. On a short leash with you being clear about not leaping or spinning or springing. When you are 110% sure, she will be, too. Good luck! Sarah

  56. Hi Sarah,
    Great info info in this post. My hubby & I have an adorable 13 week old Boston terrier puppy who slipped and fell yesterday and broke the tibia in her back right leg. She’ll be splinted for about 5 weeks with crate rest. For the first week our work schedules allowed us to shift so she only has to be crated primarily at night so we can help her adjust to her splint… And once she starts feeling better & gets her puppy energy back we’ll make sure she’s confined to her crate if not in our laps or pottying.

    We just brought her home and she doesn’t want to pee or poo (understandably). She has gone pee once since coming back from the vet (once in 10 hours) and not in the last 10. No poo at all. I think the combination of the pain and the new splint are causing the stoppage, plus she’s on pain meds. How do we help her to go potty?

    Also, she shakes a lot sunce coming home. Not sure if this is from pain, stress or both. Anything we can do to help her so she’s not shaking so much?

    Thank you!

    • Oh no! So sorry to hear about your puppy. 🙁 Glad she has you.

      Pain meds can constipate a bit so that may be part of her delay or she doesn’t know how to get herself into position. I’d check with her vet for reassurance and tips.

      Shaking may be pain or stress or cold. Is she sleeping much? She may need a lot of sleep right now so when in doubt, try a nap.

      Hope she feels better quickly! – Sarah

  57. Do you have any advice for helping my foster rescue dog. She was hit by a car last week when I found her…She had to have femeral head and neck surgery on her Right back hip because the head was damaged and would not return to the hip joint and TPO surgery was too expensive for the humane socitety I use for the dogs I find… Anyway, she had surgery early this week and is back home. Because she also has fractures on BOTH sides of her hips everything will take longer before she can start walking a bit to begin to create a callus and false joint on the right hip. She is on pain meds. I am keeping my other dogs away from her because she is sensitive and can not be bothered. I will have to return to work after spring break on Monday and am a little worried how she will do. I have a large tall puppy play pen I have from when I had a mother dog and pups. I can put that up in my back room on top of a tarp and put her bed on one side and pee pads on the other. She mostly just wants to rest and cuddle at this point. She is not interested in chewing on any toys, bones or anything…. Are there any natural remedies I can give her to speed healing such as Arnica Montana? I am ordering a sling to help her to the bathroom because I am carrying her out at the moment.

  58. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you so much for your post! The last part made me cry, thank you for the encouraging words and acknowledgement that it isn’t easy! I pick up a foster puppy tomorrow who was probably hit by a car and had multiple fractures. She had bilateral femoral head osteotomies and a plate with seven screws put into her right rear tibia. I have fabulous support with the rescue and a 24 hour vet with a physical therapist and hydrotherapy…but I am still nervous for the work ahead! She is only about three months old so I want to be able to tire her out mentally since I can’t do it physically. I did order a stroller so I can get her out in the world and still keep her safe. I will keep you posted!

  59. Thank you so much for your post and all the comments. I was starting to think I was the only one with issues. My 90 pound, 12 year old German Shepherd broke her hind leg two weeks ago – it is a greenstick fracture and she was splinted and put on restricted activity. Due to arthritis she cannot put any weight on the other hind leg and was basically paraplegic. On top of it she is so stubborn and proud that she refused to pee and poop in the house. We tried extracting manually – nothing. The vet rechecked her to make sure there are no medical issues and she is clear. We bought a crate but could not get her into it at all, so we had to return it. She does not move around a lot and thankfully does not mess with her splint. We bought a lift sling to help her get around and see if she will potty outside. At first she hated the sling, but after two weeks we finally (with the help of treats and encouraging) got her outside and got her to potty. By now she is so bored so I will have to try some of your tips and keep her mind occupied. Thank you for all your advice. It is very much appreciated and I do not feel so alone.

  60. Hi Sarah -Is it possible to email you privately?

  61. Hi Sarah,

    Our 75lb, unknown age somewhere between 4 and 8, lab/pit mix, Millie, has degenerative disc disease, we just found out yesterday. We’re taking her to the vet this weekend, but we know that whatever the treatment will be, rest will be a large part of it for a few weeks to months before we can get her moving again and try to get some weight off of her. We adopted Millie last fall from a shelter where she lived for 8mo, after she was found as a stray. She is not crate trained, and has hurt herself trying to get out of any enclosure we’ve put her in, so she currently has free range of the garage and backyard during the day, with our other dog, a 5yo french mastiff. When we’re home we can work on training, low-key games, etc. But what are we supposed to do with her during the day? I am at a total loss. Thank you for writing this and for responding to comments!


    • Hi Hallie – I’d brain storm with your vet on this one. You may be able to confine her to a smaller part of that area with your other dog near by. That would be a step. Good luck and how she feels better soon. – Sarah

  62. My dog hurt her back and is on crate rest . I don’t do crates , my dogs are my kids . I have 3 and one has to be on crate rest . She won’t get in the bed she just sits on the floor . Falling asleep and she refuses to go to sleep .

    • Because I cherish my dogs, too, I make sure I can help them when they need it and that’s why I crate train. She needs your help to be well. Do what you can at this point but might be a good time to crate train all three of your dogs so, when they need help, you can help them. Good luck. Sorry your buddy is hurt.

  63. My 5 month old Golden Retriever puppy is on bed rest for two weeks. I know he doesn’t understand so I feel guilty even though I know it is doctors orders. He has been limping for 4 weeks. X-rayso twice showed a little bit of inflammation. He is on three different medications at this time. I am feeling bad because he can’t do anything and doesn’t understand even though I know it is necessary. Please encourage me during this time or any ideas during this time. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Sharon – Everyday he is faced with things he does not understand. If you want him to be happy then you store the guilt and sound happy about the new situation. When he is healed, life can go back to way things were but for now, you help him as he needs it. And there’s lots her can do crated – chews, puzzles, new quiet tricks and behaviors. Turn your mind to those things and you will both have an easier time of it. Good luck. You CAN do it. Sarah

  64. Hi. My 2 1/2 yr old Cavoodle had patella surgery on Wednesday. She hasn’t been crate trained. Doing better now that bandage has been removed -skin was very red and sore and i think it would have been pulling a lot. I am still trying to figure out how to keep her somewhat occupied in the weeks ahead. Everything she normally plays is with her whole body. Even when chewing something she tends to stand up and hold it sown with one paw. Soft toys she picks up and shakes or throws for herself. Her other love is tug of war and obviously that won’t be good. The usual food dispensers that she plays with involve following it around the floor. A stuffed kong has never worked for her -just seems to push it to far in with her tongue and then gets nothing. Poor little poppet! Any advice appreciated.

    • Hi – Sorry you’re in this jam and hope your pup heals up well without the aid of confinement. No magic answers. Keep her calm. Keep her on leash. And when she is healed up, teach her how to crate so you’ll have that tool in the future should you need it. Good luck – Sarah

  65. Sarah,

    You’re tips are really helpful! I am a beginner to nursing an injured dog back to health. My dog was involved in a dog fight yesterday and is on pain meds, with a splint. I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to get her to use the bathroom? She has been laying in her bed since I’ve brought her home. The only time she has left it has been when I carry her to the yard to do her business. I support most of her weight and try to tell her to go. I know she is in pain, so I try not to push her, but she just sits in the yard motionless. She has yet to use the bathroom. How long should I wait before becoming concerned? Or should I already be concerned? Please let me know.

    • Sorry to hear about the fight. Always scary.

      I’d ask her vet about bathroom issues. Her level of pain (and possibly shock) may be influencing this or it might be something else. No way to know from here.

      I hope she feels much better very soon – Sarah

  66. For the love of God this is so hard!! My 5 week old puppy is of strict cage/small room restrictions because of a broken jaw and a major facial laceration that requires over 20 stitches. Poor baby was attacked by her dad while with her not so smart breeder and I brought her in.
    So no chew toys!! I am having such a hard time. She looks so sad. I’m on day three of 2 weeks. I’m doing small training sessions and just trying to keep her entertained but she gets so hyper and to rough with her mouth so quickly. I have to put that cone back on and she just looks at me with those baby mastiff (yes, if this could be any harder) eyes and usually falls asleep. I’m venting now, but any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!! Thank you for the article. The struggle is real.

    • Ug!!

      5 Weeks? Mastiff? Good heavens. Use the cone and if she sleeps most of the time, so much the better. This is going to be no fun and not much you can do to make it fun so sleep is a pretty good option. Good luck. That IS a drag.

      Be careful not to indulge her too much. She’s going to be huge! Practice body handling and calm=release exercises so you build the relationship you want with your new friend. – Sarah

      • Thank you Sarah. It’s hard because I feel I’m not doing enough and making her more miserable. Bit your right, not much we can do but tough it out.
        We took her back to the vet today, her stitches came apart because of her rapid growth and her jaw pin had to be adjusted for the same reason. So an even lo get recovery 🙁 She’s worth it though!
        I’m going to work on the calming exercises. Wish me luck!! Thanks again.

        • I DO wish you luck. My guess is that you will end up with a super-social and socialized Mastiff with a bond to you like few others IF she learns manners and love. YOU CAN DO IT!! (But yikes, that is no fun for anyone.)

  67. HELP! We fostered an abandoned pregnant dog 3 mo. ago. She delivered 9 puppies & they are now 9 wks. old. A few days ago the puppy we decided to keep (of course!) hurt his front leg in the back yard, we don’t know how. He yelped & is limping. Xrays didn’t show any breaks. The vet wants us to crate him for a couple of weeks. How do we do this with such a young puppy when his mom & littermates are here too?

    • Hi Meg – By separating him from the group, which should have been started weeks ago anyway. It’s time. So he’s about to get a lot of special time with you while you start to get those other pups placed into their forever homes. Maybe Momma can be spayed, too, so she and her pup can recover together. Good luck – Sarah

  68. My chihuahua/jack Russell has had two knee ops one after the other so she had to be in a crate six weeks for first one and she on her second six weeks she is two weeks into that this last few days she is wetting on her mattress and pooing in her cage she goes on the lead in the garden refuses to go toilet but comes back indoors and does it in her cage any suggestions please as I’m throwing away mattress after mattress and my place smells

    • Hi Pam – Yup, she’s confused. Was she going outside easily on leash before? Would you vet allow you to keep her in a sling on your body? She would be quiet and unlikely to go in there. I’d stop with any sort of bed but use inexpensive and easily washed artificial fleece. If you’re cleaning with an odor neutralizer, it shouldn’t smell afterward so it’s getting somewhere that isn’t yet getting cleaned so we have to figure that out, too. Poor you and poor her. 🙁

  69. I have a seven month old Giant Schnauzer puppy coming home after surgery to repair a radius/ulna fracture. Not sure what size of crate to use for her rehab time which will be up to 12 weeks. Should I put her in a 500 vari kennel where she can stand and turn easily? Or should I put her in a 400 which is lower and more just a turn around and lay down size? She’s 50 lbs.

    • Hi Olga – So sorry you both have to go through this. I’d ask her vet this one but I would probably use the 500 as she is growing fast, still, and will be too big for that 400 soon. But again, talk to her surgeon as there are so many variables to that question. Hope she heals up quickly and well. – Sarah

  70. My dachshund hurt her back some time Sunday and now has no use of her hind legs. Our vet has put her on strict crate rest as of yesterday, but my concern is she isn’t eating or drinking. Is this normal??

    • Hi Amanda – I’m so sorry to hear this. I’d reach out to some dachshund groups where people will have all too much experience with this situation. I’d also ask her vet. It may be pain. It may be medications. I don’t know. Good luck and I hope she feels better soon. – Sarah

  71. Thank you for this. It helped a lot. Having waited 3 years to get a puppy, I finally got my best friend. He is the most energetic little man, it is absolutely heart-breaking to have to leave him in his box all the time. I try to tell myself, “It’s for his own good.” but, then I look at his sad little face. This article gave me great ideas on ways to keep my little guy occupied for the time being. Hopefully, these things will lift his spirits a bit, while we patiently wait for healing. Thanks again! 🙂 Love, my Alvin and I

  72. My 12 week old Black Lab/Aussie puppy had a severe spiral fractured femur from an unfortunate accident and had to have a plate and 6 screws put in her little femur. I am distraught. I am 22 and my parents dog passed away young of cancer a couple months ago, I get a new beautiful rescue pup who is an amazing dog and full of energy…then last saturday I walked in with new toys for her and she tripped me and my knees landed right on top of her. Awful feeling.

    She had surgery and is now on strict crate rest for 3 weeks with cone of shame. She was crate trained and does like her crate but not 24/7. She is an extremely energetic dog who just wants to chew and play, but unfortunately can’t. She does have medications including anxiety medications which only keep her calm for an hour or two. Do you have any idea on how to keep her entertained? She can’t hold her bones/kong/toys since she has the cone so that is a main issue. It is so hard looking at her sad puppy eyes knowing I did this to her. Any advice would be wonderful. Thank you!

    • Hi Madison – So sorry to hear about that accident. Are you okay? Pups can get underfoot and trip people up quickly. Can happen to anyone.

      She can learn to get to toys and such with the cone on and as she gets more comfortable, I’m betting she will. Glad she is crate trained and over the next few days I hope she will accept her fate. It is for her long run good. Hang in there!

  73. Hello, I u Ave a chihuahua puppy named Rollo. He fell off the couch and fractured his elbow:( the vet just sent him home no splint or anything. Is this right

    • Hi Ryan – Sorry to hear of Rollo’s fall. Such injuries happen quite often with toy breed pups. Falling off a couch is like tumbling from a rooftop for the tiny pups.

      Some fractures are hairline or in a place that can’t be splinted. So, rest and more rest. Follow vet advice to the letter and things should heal up.

  74. Hiya sarah.
    My 6 month old luna. Got her leg stuck in a bench and she has fractured it. She has got a pot on her back right leg. We have beem advised to crate rest her. But she restless all the time crying and attempting to get out. Moving around and hurting her self. What could i do to keep her calm. As we have tryed treats. Toys etc. Thanks

    • Hi Tara –

      So sorry to hear about your pup’s injury.

      It’s a challenge, that’s for sure. I’d feed her out of food dispensing toys (that don’t roll much) or kongs. I’d probably cover the crate at times to try and minimize visual distraction and then stay near her at other times to give her calm company. Good luck! Sarah

  75. Hi my lil doxie is on 6 weeks cage rest, we are into week 2 and feel we are about to crack, he is doing the toilet in his cage even thou we take him out 5 to 6 times a day to the back garden, he constantly wines and barks and we have been unable to leave him on his own yet as we tried going out the house and stayed outside for 15 mins and listened and came back in to him being in a state of destress and panting, any advice would be much appricated thanks

    • Hi Kim – So sorry you’re all having such a miserable time of it. I’d speak to his vet and get a recommendation for a local behavior pro as you all need hands on help ASAP. Wish I had a simple solution for you all. – Sarah

  76. Please can u give me some advice my bull dog had crus a ligament opp.on her leg on August the 8 th,she is being crated but really not coping well she gets very restless even though we are giving her seditives from the vet,she has started to go out for her toilet on the lead,and doing toilet,but then when she back in her crate she weeing and pooing,I have not let her her see that’s it’s not the thing to do,but don’t know how to stop this,my worry is she continue to do this when her eight weeks are over, have u any ideas that I can try,please,also she very hyperactive,even on her meds,my vet is flabagasted at the energy she has,he never had a bull dog with energy like her,thankyou

    • Hi Margaret – I’ve seen several Bulldogs with that sort of energy level and it is hard to get them settled. Ask your vet for different meds. Feed her exclusively from food dispensing toys. When you take her out, walk back and forth in the same area until she goes then walk her for a minute or so around the yard to explore slowly on leash. When we take them RIGHT back in after going (as you’ve been told to do) some dogs learn to delay pottying to stay out later. That’s my guess as to what is happening here. So, keep it boring until she goes then give her some slow exploring for a minute or so THEN take her in. Good luck! Sarah

  77. I have a 4 yr old doxin. He has a bulging disk and has to be in his crate for 2 weeks this is the first day and its the hardest thing i have ever had to do. He sleeps witj me every night and we are together 24/7. He cries all the time and just looks at me. I know its for his own good, but Help! Both of our worlds are turned upside down. 🙁

  78. I have a 4 yr old doxin. He has a bulging disk and has to be in his crate for 2 weeks this is the first day and its the hardest thing i have ever had to do. He sleeps wthj me every night and we are together 24/7. He cries all the time and just looks at me. I know its for his own good, but Help! Both of our worlds are turned upside down. 🙁

    • Yes, it’s a big shift but the more you embrace it the easier it will be for him. And a good new normal. Going forward, daily crating and sometimes sleeping crated near you will make things easier if this is ever needed again. Hang in there!

  79. Great info, so glad to have it. His big round eyes staring at me through his crate bars are making me feel SO guilty! And he spent this morning whimpering. 🙁

    The meal mazes you suggest are too big for my 11lb Shih Tzu. Do you know of a similar product that would work for smaller dogs? I’ve been feeding him in his crate with his regular bowl, did you feed yours out of his crate?


  80. This was awesome. We are on potential IVDD rest–it’s been four weeks, no end in sight, I haven’t slept through the night yet. We’re both discouraged and frustrated I think. Will def be trying some of these tricks.

  81. Can the dog lay on the sofa or bed with me if i have a leash on him? He only sleeps and doesnt try to move.

    • Ask your vet. All depends on what you are risking is a mistake happens. Personally, I would be sitting on the floor with my dog on a SHORT leash and I would never leave them – not for a second. If I have to step out of the room, then I would crate my injured friend. But… I say this without knowing what I would be risking for and in my dog and only if my vet okayed it. Don’t place a short-term comfort over long-term health.

  82. My dog Cal ( Callahan ) is a boxer mix rescue. He needed double knee repair from a luxating patella in each knee. We had both done at once. This was done last Monday. He is just one year old and up until surgery was a bundle of energy and very wild when he plays. Well so far we have carried him up and down the stairs and in and out of the house. He laid on his dog bed and walked on the two front legs for the first days three legs til yesterday and then all four getting stronger and stronger each day.
    Today was the end of his freedom. He wants to do everything he cannot do so into the crate he had to go. Your right I feel bad but he went through so much I don’t want to undo the good. Not to mention the cost. I am worried my husband will give in before 8 weeks are up. I am doing a countdown like you suggested. It does help. My husband can’t stand to see him in a crate for 8 weeks. He used to sleep in bed with us and while he rarely jumped off but when we are asleep we wouldn’t be able to stop him. So other then the short walks and if I put him on leash and have him lay outside on his dog pillow, or if I put him on the couch and hold and pet him, it’s the crate. It’s gonna be a long at least 7 more weeks to go. I really hope we can hold out. Any more advice would be great. Melinda

  83. My 5 month old mini american shepherd puppy fell off the bed and broke his hind leg. It is a spiral fracture of the fibula. The vet put him in an aluminum splint and said he will require 6-8 weeks of cage rest. This happened two days ago and my puppy is taking it pretty well, but my question is, must he remain actually prone for 6-8 weeks? He is already managing to get up on three legs and he holds the splint in a forward position propped on the ground. Is he going to further injure himself doing this? I just cant keep him from getting up unless I put him in a small crate and then he bangs the splint on the sides of the crate and hurts himself.
    At what point in time will the vet allow him to walk with his splint on? Thanks in advance for any advice for handling a very ambitious, determined puppy.

    • So sorry to hear about your pup’s accident.

      Now, these are questions for your vet. This is the Internet so, if you ask around enough, you’ll find someone to support just about anything you want to do but your vet knows the real deal and is giving you the best advice they can. Follow it. To the letter. The risks are improper healing or further injury requiring further surgery. 6-8 weeks feels like forever but is shorter then another 6-8 weeks tacked on because your pup hurt himself again. You can do this! – Sarah

  84. our 8 month old havanese puppy likes sit on top of her crate we have 2 heavy towels that drape over the top the crate 30 minutes ago we hear this terrible screaming coming from her she has sipped her right hind leg thru the top of the metal crate and in really bad pain I got her off the crate no lacerations to the leg she walks ok right now but does lic her leg what should I do now

    • Sorry to hear that and glad (from your next comment) that you called the ER Vet. I would do what the vet’s suggest and if you are unsure or uncomfortable, take her in for a hands on check up tonight. Hope all is well quickly. Sarah

  85. I contacted the emergency vet hosp they asked does she walk on all 4’s? yes and is able to scratch her ears with both hind legs but she is swollen and bruised I wish I could keep a cold pack to her leg any advise, I am taking her to our Vet at 7:30 when they open tomorrow

  86. Hi sarah, i need some help, my 8/9 month old border collie has just had surgery and his being crated, but im trying to rack my brain around finding ideas and ways of keeping him quiet and occupied but im having no such luck, ive got his crate covered and im a routine, but his getting restless and im trying not to cave in when he barks and whines and growls, but i need some new suggestions as im using a kong where he can forge but ive run out of things to put in it atm, and i was just wondering what else i could do to help him quiet down.

    • This is going to be a long haul. I’d find more food toys and chews for him then rotate them. Teach him different calm tricks/clicker games. Keep that mind as safely occupied as you can. Good luck! Sarah

  87. My poor 17 week old, 2.6 lbs teacup pom broke her Hind leg and can barely walk and just looks sad and miserable. She\\\’s my baby and I just want her to be happy! I need support lol…going to try out some of these tips and hope they work.

  88. Hi Sarah,
    I’m at my breaking point. My 7 month old labradoodle was hit by a car two weeks ago and fractured his pelvis and the base of his tail. He has a ton of energy and hasn’t acted hurt since the first day. I need help! He barks constantly in his crate all day and worse all night. When I take him to use the bathroom on his leash he pulls me across the yard. Is there anything you can recommend to calm him down? I’ve been avoiding going home for the past two weeks except to let him out. I’m exhausted and mentally drained. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Maddie – you need hands on help ASAP, for both of you. I understand it is hard to be home with the barking but being isolated is only going to make this all worse for your pup. I’d talk to his vet today, get a recommendation for a trainer who might be able to help. Training a dog who is injured and young is a challenge, at all times, but living with an untrained, injured dog is even worse. Good luck and so sorry you are both going through this. – Sarah

  89. I have a medical foster on 8 weeks crate rest for knee surgery; well really 16 weeks ’cause she will have other knee done! She is very sweet and accepting but is eating her bedding. She is also on hypoallergenic food due to possible allergies so no special treats. Poor girl! She is a strong chewer and destroys every type of toy I have tried so far. Help!

  90. Hi Sarah – Love the article!

    My husband and I just became a foster to an 85 lb black lab/mastiff mix. He was shot with a bird shot in the leg and left for dead in a field… a Good Samaritan found him and took him to our vet, where a rescue stepped up to take him in. They did not have any fosters so we stepped up to the plate. We have 3 rescues at home already and I work from home. We had the space and he was in need, so of course we welcomed him.

    I have tried a couple of different bones with him but it’s as if he’s either not interested or isn’t sure what to do with it. Any suggestions on a super irresistible bone suitable for a very large breed?

    Also, are the slow feed bowls you listed in the article suitable for large breed dogs?

    His leg was just set last Tuesday night. He’s done pretty good the first few nights here, but we aren’t sure if he’s now starting to feel slightly better or if it’s pain as he is not sleeping as much as those first few days.

    Any other tips/ideas anyone has for a dog recovering from a shattered front leg, let me know! Thank you!

  91. I have a 6 month old Chihuahua hit by car broken pelvis no splint how to take him out of crate for bathroom

  92. Hi Sarah! We recently rescued an injured pup who can’t use his back legs. X-rays showed 5 pelvic fractures. Surgeon says 6-8 weeks crate rest. Getting him in and out of his crate has been difficult, so we set up a confined pallet, which has made it easier to pick him up and clean up. Do you think this is ok, or should I go back to the crate where he has less mobility?
    Also, what type of dog is PJ? Our Spencer looks very similar and since we don’t you know his background, we have only been guessing at what his breed is.

    • 5 fractures? Poor pup. How large is he?

      Not sure what you mean by “pallet” – please explain a bit more.

      PJ was about 45 pounds and was a pit/jack russell mix.

  93. Our six month old pug, Percy, just fractured his femur/hip bone and the doctor said a month of crate rest. He looks so just breaks my heart. Do you have any recommendations of toys or chews that can keep him occupied? He is So active and I know he hates being confined. He is a puppy and he wants to play. 🙁

    • Hi Tammy –

      What he’d really want, if he understood, was to be active and pain-free of the rest of his life. That’s what you’re giving him. You’re the long-term thinker right now and he’s all short-term. So, you gird your loins and tell him, “Yup, you’re bored, oh well, you’d thank me if you could.” Listed some toys in the blog, you thinking of something different? – Sarah

  94. Hi Sarah,

    Your blog has been helpful, though circumstances are a bit different. We\’re fostering a rescue who was hit by a car and has a dislocation plus fractured pelvis, so she\’s crated for at least six weeks. Obviously not crate-trained, not even a year old, about 45 pounds and dear lord, the energy! She\’s on pain meds that have her convinced she can run now, and she\’s strong! Pulls at the short leash and attempts to roll over from standing position because she\’s figured out that makes me loosen the leash. :/ Tears up the thick cardboard at the base of the crate, on which she has soft bedding. Calms down a little if I stay in the room with her.

    But then we have the other dog. Another rescue, fostered, and then adopted because we\’re foster fails like that. She dislikes the new one, so I have to be with either the one or the other. 🙁 Putting them together in the same room isn\’t an option if I want either to be calm.

    One week in, the crated girl is being tried out on an herbal anxiety med. Hopefully it makes a difference, because otherwise, I fear her antics in the crate will set her recovery back. Very smart girl, though. In just four days, she\’s learnt that the longer she delays doing her business, the longer she has outside. She\’s fairly disinterested as far as the Kong is concerned, and when she\’s restless, she\’s too restless for even gentle training. Far too distracted. When she\’s calm, I\’m afraid to go too near her and try because it will get her all full of beans and determined to do a triathlon again. Tried covering the crate – huge mistake. We\’ve just got to make it through, I guess. Ah well, it\’s for her own good. After which, if we\’re foster fails again, we\’ll need a way to get our dog to get along with this one, which should be interesting, too.

    • Wish I had magic for you but you’re in for a long haul. Options include: discussing medication for her as pain meds can increase activity in some dogs which may not be helpful for healing, start training both your dogs as they and you will need it, if the method you are using isn’t helping try another, I would probably not use food rewards at this point but rather space and response to light leash pressures, feed her exclusively from toys and good luck.

  95. We have a 5 month old lab puppy who fractured his tibia . We are using the splitting technique with a towel but he won’t pee. Any suggestions?

    • He will sort it out and I assume he has by now. Can take a little bit for dogs to figure out how to go but they manage.

  96. Thank you Sarah. Day 2 after knee surgery & Marley is crying excessively . Your post has given me the resolve to keep him in the crate despite his distress and discomfort , it’s only 10 days after all!!! And necessary for his full recovery. Thanks again

    • Good for you! Being strong for him, when he doesn’t understand the why of it, is loving him very well. I’m cheering you on!

  97. Our beautiful baby girl, Shiver, a siberian husky, tripped and fell well going out the door and by some very poor stroke of horrible luck, broke her back hind leg femur bone. It can not be cast so she has a metal plate and pins holding her bones in place. We’ve been instructed to crate her 24/7 for the duration of the healing process (estimated 3-6weeks). She must be carried outside to urinate, ie very limited movement and zero stairs/hills and once finished she must immediately be put back in her crate.

    My heart broke trying to process all of this yesterday. I am following the vets orders to a T because I want her to heal fast and correctly.
    I know we’ll get through this, but I could really use some insights on how to keep her happy, calm and safe without allowing her freedom to move around for atleast the next 2 weeks. She gets so irritated because she’s in a cone to prevent her from licking or ripping out the sutures.. I have to scold her to keep her from moving as they are itchy. Im just worried as she starts to heal that her energy level is going to make it harder and harder to keep her still and calm.

    • What a horrible accident, I bet you are reeling! I’d expect her behavior to shift as she heals but keeping her on leash and staying clear on what is needed will help. She should be back to running and playing again soon and have a happy summer of fun ahead of her!

  98. My dog had surgery on his back knee a few weeks ago and I was told he needed to be put in a crate or small room for 2 weeks only aloud out to use the bathroom and right back in. Needless to say it hasn’t been easy I think he hates me. now he won’t eat like he use to and has started eating grass when I take him out not sure how to stop that or why it started but I’m doing my best to hang in there he only has 4 more days of this and he gets his stitches out and cone removed

    • You’re almost there and things will be back to normal soon. Never had a dog hate their person from this though they can be bored, stressed or confused by the radical shift in their life. Act the way you want him to act: relaxed, happy and connected and he should shift his behavior to match. If you handle him with guilt, regret and apology – THAT can upset a dog.

  99. Just came here for some support. My dog is pretty much a catahoula mix. We were taking our joy ride to the baseball field so I could let her run around. She rides in the bed of the truck and ended up slipping and fell out of the truck and broke her pelvic bone in 3 spots. I had her tied but I I guess she pulled it just right to get a little extra length on leash. But just 1 significant break. She is on 4-6 weeks crate rest and that seems like an eternity just from these first few days. She was a whiner to begin with and now she seems like she won’t stop and it just Kills me to listen to her. A lot of the whining I think is to get our attention and because she is bored to death not necessarily pain because we give her the pain pills prescribed. I feel so guilty I didn’t tie her down better and now I can’t sleep. This happened on Thursday morning April 13th 2017. She finally pooped and started peeing today which is Friday evening. We got a comfy bed for her to lay on. She is laying on her non broke side but I was wondering if she could also lay on her broke side or is that a no no. I’m afraid her non broke side is going to get sore and numb from laying on it so much. We started her out on some good soft can food. What food makes the bones heal faster and stronger? Protein food? We have pee pads underneath her and just change them out by lifting her up between both legs and quickly change them out. She doesn’t seem to mind touch when we do it. I do my best to massage her when i can but I was wondering where I should massage her to make it feel better because I know she is going to be stiff pretty much no matter what I do. I massage the neck, back, shoulders and slightly Pet her pelvic region. What is the time table in which I try to get her up to stand with help from me of course and a schedule from then on? I read it takes around 2 weeks or so for bones to fuse together. I feel so guilty and get upset when she’s laying there dragging herself around trying to get comfortable. I try to be upbeat with her but it just gets to me when I see how frustrated and stressed she is. We try to keep her inside but she is an outside dog. She seems more comfortable with less whining outside with her sister. Is it okay to let her sleep outside at night because all she does inside is whine at night because of boredom I’m guessing. Thanks for letting me vent my frustration out on here. Any response would help. Thank you.

    • Talk to your vet about all care. If she were in my care: no outside time off leash, no time – zero – with other dogs, I’d let her decide what side she can lay on (good caring instinct on your part but dog knows best here), and yes, she’s going to be whining and confused. Nothing for that but tincture of time, a lot of time. Hold the course! And from now on, she rides in the cab with you!

  100. HI Sarah- love this post and thank you. I have 3 foster turned adoptions – 7 years old, 2 1/2 years old, and 6 mos. My 2 1/2 year old Italian Greyhound mix likely has a disc issue, but we couldn’t spring the $2600 for just a diagnostic MRI when he’s not seeming surgical yet…. We’re assuming he has a disc lesion, and apparently with 4 – 6 weeks rest these may heal on their own. the biggest issue is my constant juggling around with the other 2 dogs and him. And he is my most clingy dog to me– super sensitive and whines and carries on incessantly when I’m out of sight. Luckily I work from home, but we’re on day 5 and it is HORRIBLE. I have portable fencing that I’m moving around the house with me so he’s next to me. I sometimes put the 7 year old in there with him because they’re bonded and she is calming. He’s on meds, but I may crank up the anxiety med. I hate to just dope him up, but honestly this making everyone miserable and I feel horribly for him. Yes, I’m doing bones, sticks, etc for distraction- which then if the other dogs are in sight, I have to do for them too. 😉 I’m just venting really… not sure if you have any ideas for mixing it up when there are multiple dogs. Luckily I work at home, but have honestly been separating them all and leaving the house occasionally for a sanity break because i have to get some work done and it’s awful listening to them. ugh…..

    • So, I’m gathering crating is not an option? I’d get everyone on a routine that works for you and your injured dog and get on that routine. That should help a bit.

      • Thank you for the reply! I have the accordion metal Precision Crating that I make into an area just bigger than his bed. It allows me to more easily move around and relocate him, although he occasionally stands up with his paws on it. (he’s small and can’t get out, but I am worried about standing- following up with the vet about that.) I have 2 crates, but can’t move them around and that’s when he completely freaks out because i can’t have him near me.

  101. We have an injured puppy. 5 1/2 wk old German shepherd.
    A cracked tibia. She has a splint and and she is miserable in the crAte!! I know she has to stay in there two weeks but she just cries and cries. If we have her where she can see us it is so much worse but I don’t want her to be alone in a room!!! Any advice?

    • Poor pup. Such a baby is going to have a tough time. I assume separated from the litter and injured at the same time. 🙁 Some stuffed toys she can cuddle with can help. Covering the crate can help. Spending time right next to the crate or keeping it right next to you can help. She needs your close company a hunk of the time. If you can hold her and carry her, do that some, too, so she gets time to really relax and sleep. Have a flat collar or harness on her so you can hold her safely. Good luck.

  102. I need advice my puppy has broken her shoulder so needs strick cage rest but she won’t poo in the cage and starts to try and jump up the sides of the cage what can I do ??

    • Your vet said you can’t walk her on leash to potty? Quick potty trips are usually okay. Good for her for not wanting to poo in her crate. Teaching her to dirty her bed will make other housebreaking problems down the road. Please double check those instructions. Good luck – Sarah

  103. We have only had her two weeks not really got her used to her lead yet we was concentrating on potty training. He didn’t really say not to she’s very clever puppy till she ran into a concete drain lid

    • Definitely potty her on leash. Just follow where she goes for now and stay close. Top priority is her not running around on that shoulder AND being potty trained. Check with vet for clarification but I’ve never heard of crate rest including pottying in the crate. Keep me posted – Sarah

  104. Hello
    My 8 year old lab mix is suffering from 2 ccl injuries at same time and currently has no weight bearing at all on her hind legs. I have to help her outside to pee or poo and she is not doing well adjusting to the leg braces i bought her. She originally only injured one hind leg and was adjusting to the braces when she had a set back and re-injured and this time its both legs. This re-injury only happened yesterday so its still very fresh and shes not going potty at all right now. Do you know how long i should wait before its too long?

    • Oh, I am so sorry to hear this. 🙁 Non-weightbearing is an emergency – an immediate trip to her vet in my opinion. She needs pain meds and a plan.

  105. Hi Molly our beagle Scamper just had spinal surgery for a ruptured C4-5 he’s been home now for 4 days and tomorrow will be one week since his surgery. Just not sure how to gauge his mile stones still using pain meds for at least the
    Next week. He goes back to the vets (1 1/2 drive) on July 5th. He is fully crated I only take him out to go potty and I carry him in and out. I know it’s going to be a long recovery and like you and I’m sure everyone else I do t want to risk any setbacks. Thanks for your article and your encouragement… Ruthanne

  106. Hi, my three month old Sheltie puppy fractured her left hind leg earlier this year when she slipped on the kitchen floor tiles whilst playing. I was with her at the time and I couldn’t believe how easily it happened. She is now seven months old and fully recovered. She had an external fixator on her leg for six weeks, during which time she was either in her pen asleep, or on her lead being held by either myself or my husband. Between us we held her lead for about twelve hours or more each day. Luckily we are both retired. After the fixator was removed she was still only allowed in the garden on her lead for a further three weeks. We then had to limit her outdoor activities for another three weeks. We weren’t allowed visitors because she would have got too excited and stood up on her back legs, which she wasn’t allowed to do. Those twelve weeks were so stressful and exhausting but so worth it to see her now running around with no sign of ever having had a fractured leg. The problem with her being so young at the time of her accident meant that it was very difficult to socialise her fully. We have had to work very hard over the last two and a half months on this, but we are getting there. We began puppy training classes a few weeks ago and this is helping a great deal. Luckily she is a very friendly confident Sheltie and this has been to our advantage in that her surgery and post op restrictions haven’t knocked her confidence at all. She is a fabulous little dog. It is very hard trying to get people to understand how stressful and exhausting it has been and I can sympathise with everyone here who is going through the same thing. I just want to say, you will get through it. Good luck.

  107. We have a French bulldog that has broken his elbow and needs his other to be screwed due to Fractures.
    He hates his plastic collar and starts digging at his crate! I’m worried he will hurt his leg and stitches while going mental in his crate….what do I do!

    • Hi Darren – No magic formula. He’s going to need his cone and his crate but no easy way to teach him to like either at this point. I’d talk to his vet about medications that might help him calm. Not my favorite choice but he needs not to destroy his elbow repair.

  108. I know this is an old kink but I jus stumbled upon it. My four month old labradooodle just fractured his femur being silly trying to jump up the wooden footboard of my bed. I wonder if you have any tips about toys that work while wearing a cone? I have cut it down a bit to make it shorter and easier for him to eat and I remove it for small supervised times but since he’s a chewing puppy he will eat his cast and leg for sure.

    He’s defiantly getting gold at the leave it command. I e tried giving treats each time he sticks his head in the cone to make it a positive experience which seems to be working. I worry about this prolonged crate rest while I’m at work but I’m looking for sitters or friends to let him out a few times to pee. I definitely am going to check out the puzzle toys.

    • Sounds like he is lucky to have you and that you are doing what can be done to make it as easy on him as possible. They adapt if we adapt so hang in there! Sarah

  109. My french bulldog puppy had an accident (at 12 weeks old)the day I got him, he hurt his leg from all the excitement of a new home so he was immediately on crate rest w a cone.. it’s been a couple weeks and the vet said he’s good to go but now he HATES his crate. I feel awful putting him in it before I leave for work. No matter what frozen kong or people I have over to visit he still crys and barks for 15 -20 minutes. I now can start walking him more but I’m so nervous he eats everything and I can barley let him run bc he’s constantly into something and the last thing he needs is an injury for more crate rest. How can I fix this bc all he wants is me in the pen w him. I don’t want to encourage bad behavior but I don’t want him to develop a psychological problem later like separation anxiety.

    • That’s not a lot of barking. In he goes. A crate at his age is not optional. For his own safety and well being, he needs to be contained when you cannot watch him. If he’s a clean pup, you can use a bigger crate or take out the divider. When you are home, keep him on leash if he’s into everything and start working with him so you can communicate well in the future. Good luck!

  110. i have an english masstiff that broke her leg. after a week the vet told me it wasnt healing and i would have to keep her in a crate ,totally imobile for the next week. no going outside to go, no leashing. If he sees any signs of healing after a week then she would need 2 more weeks of strictly crate. If not I would have to put her down, and really dont want to do that. Does anyone have any suggestions. she is my girl

    • Hi, Terry – How horrible. I’ve never heard of this. Is her leg in a cast? No housetrained dog can be left in a crate 24/7. And, I hope, no vet would ask for it. There has to be info here I’m not getting. – Sarah

      • she had knee surgery and was suppose to be taken out to the bathroom only on a leash for a minimum of 2 weeks to start the healing. She snuck out , got in the deep snow and shatterred her leg.The vet put 5 pins through the bone sticking out of her leg on both sides and a vertical rod with clamps on bothsides of her leg. Looked like a cage. he again said for her not to be outside without a leash, and only for a few minutes. Little to no down pressure on that leg. I did just that for a week. Thats when he said the holes in the bone where the pins go through got elongated therefore allowing movement and it wont ever heal. He just did another surgery putting a plate the whole length of her leg with 15 screws and kept her there for 4 days. I just brought her home to the crate. she sure doesnt like going to the bathroom in that crate. it just isnt right. He said 2 weeks minimum of strictly crate, take her out only to clean and change bedding. Its either do this or put her down, and i really dont want to do that for hopefully 2 weeks of crate. she does not have a cast or pins anymore but alot of hardware in her leg. If I dont follow the crate rest and it screws up again there will be no fix.thanks for your concern

  111. I really needed this today! My baby tore her ACL yesterday. We have a long road ahead of us and I’m having trouble seeing her in such pain. Thanks again!

  112. Thank you Sarah for this post. My nearly 13yo cattle dog has just had her second surgery after the first one didnt work. I want her for a lot more years as she has helped me through two lots of cancer. I started using puzzles today and also started sitting in her pen and doing some trick training with the clicker. I am also getting a snuffle mat for her. I think i will get a kong as well and try that but as she also has pretty bad liver disease we will have to use her Hills Science diet food for the kong. I am hoping also to borrow a few more food games from a friend I spoke to at agility.

    • Hi Jo – Sounds like you have a special bond indeed with your ACD. At 13, even cattle dogs know how to sleep so I would not fret unduly about her entertainment. She’ll be fine. Having fun daily is great, just don’t sweat about it.

  113. I\’m so glad I found your site! My 7 year old dachshund/terrier mix tore his ACL today and is scheduled for surgery in 5 days. He\’s never been in a crate, follows me everywhere and sleeps in my bed every single night since he was 3 months old. Boy oh boy it looks like we have a long road ahead of us. I\’m glad I took the time to read your article and all the comments. I feel a little more prepared for what lies ahead. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I\’m off to buy a crate.

  114. My 12yr old Shih Tzu, Miss Molly, is truly a perfect ‘ Lil Angel!❤! She recently had several surgical procedures done at once, mostly minor! She is still taking a pain med, but I’ve noticed that the last day or 2. She jhas woke up and the n her complete body shivers! Until she is back asleep again or I get her occupied w food? What would be the cause of those shivers?!

    • Hi Jeffy – Not sure what started it but I know that if you lovingly feed her in the middle of the night she could start waking up more often. Try just cuddling her and seeing if that helps. Talk to her vet tomorrow. Hope she heals up soon.

  115. Hi! I’m so glad I’ve found this page! My 6 month old French Bulldog pup, Luna, is 2.5 weeks into 4 week post surgery crate rest. She had an avulsion fracture of the growth plate and the patella had come away. Has had pins and wires placed. She has now gotten to the stage where she feels like she can run etc but I obviously cannot explain to her she cant.
    This morning she got away from me and bolted up my garden steps and leapt into her favourite patch of garden! I have been worried all day that all of this crate rest and surgery will have been ruined because of this. I’m so angry at myself! She has her first lot of xrays on Feb 6th and I am praying that nothing bad has happened as a result of her little escapade this morning.
    I dont know what to do and I’m driving myself crazy because I hate the thought of her having to go through this again.

    • Hi Nicola – Sorry to hear your pup got away and hopefully nothing bad will come of it. Likely nothing did as you would probably know if she’s really injured herself. I’d guess that worst case, that might have set her back a bit but hopefully not. It’s hard to get every thing 100% right all the time. {{{ }}} I’m confident that, from here on out, that leash will be held with an iron grip! Please keep me posted on how she’s doing.

  116. My Chiweenie got an ACL injury and recently had surgery. 6-8 week crate rest. He is extremely active and just stares at me with those eyes. I can relate to all of you. Here is something that helps. I sit down and talk and explain to him why he is in the crate. I also put confessions on his crate that the family reads aloud when they are near him. Example-“I am Biskit and I am totally healed.My leg is strong and getting stronger every day. I am calm and patient during my healing” etc. Really makes me feel better. He really doesnt mind the crate is me.

  117. My Springer spaniel had just had surgery for ACL repair and is on 8 week cage rest. She is not cage trained so it’s been really difficult she just crys barks and howls. We have been waiting until she is quiet and letting her out to sit with us on a leash but trying to get her back into the cage is a nitemare. Any advice?

  118. Hi my dog Gatsby has had tplo for a torn ACL. He is a Jack Russel very lovley and managing his day time rehab well. The problem is night time he is in the crate and managed well before his surgury now bed time he is panting nervous crying and I dont know what to do to settle him and make him rest in the crate. I just want to allow him to rest but he is so stressed in the crate x

    • Sorry to hear about Gatsby’s ACL. Generally, your calm acceptance of the routine helps the dog accept it. Getting a second crate so he can sleep by your bed may help, too. The crate is not optional, so gird your loins on his behalf. Get him plenty of chew toys and project toys to keep him occupied. The time will pass and he will heal. Hang in there! Sarah

  119. My one year old (CRAZY) German shorthaired pointer has heartworms. We have to rest her for god knows how long and I’m terrified. Exercise could kill her and she FREAKS out if she is left in the kennel at all.
    We normally run for about 2 hours every single day and I don’t know how I am going to keep her calm. I have no one in the state to help me and I fear for when I have to go to work.
    Your story and ideas are helping ease my mind a bit but I am so so scared for what is to come.

    • I bet you are, Madison. It sounds like it’s going to be a tough road – stock up on good chew toys and do what you need to do so she can heal up and recover. Good luck… {{{ }}}

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