Week 1: Rehab Instructions: Mindset & Expectations
Here are your key points for the week.
- Preparing Your Home
- Walking Slow
Weekly home therapy videos
I know you will agree with me that up to this point, this entire experience has been extremely stressful for both you and your dog. With that being said, take a deep breath because you now have TopDog here to give you guidance on how to best help your dog through this process safely and successfully so that they can return to 100% normal functionality.
You are probably wondering how long this recovery process is going to take. What I can tell you is this: First of all, don’t be shocked or alarmed if you experience minor set backs during the recovery process. It happens all the time and 95% of the time, everything turns out to be alright in the end. Secondly, right off the bat you need to understand what I mean by the concept of FULL RECOVERY. From my years of experience I can tell you that 100% recovery (i.e. full function & full muscle development) will take up to 6 months.
Now this does not mean at the end of the 12 weeks your dog is still going to have a limp. To the untrained eye your dog is going to appear 100% normal and yes they are going to feel much better as well, but at the end of the day, it takes a long time for all of the muscle mass and other soft tissue strength in that leg to return to its optimal condition.
Remember you are trying to protect the other hind leg from injury. You will hear me time and time again talk about how my veterinary colleagues confidently state the statistic that anywhere for 30-60% of dogs who tear one ACL, will tear that other ACL within one year
. What they are saying is true. What they are not telling you is that if you rehab your dog effectively, this statistic is reduced dramatically. We are going to make sure that your dog does not turn into a statistic.
3. PREPARING YOUR HOME
I am not going to go too in depth on this topic because within the Home Rehabilitation Guide we have thoroughly detailed this. Just make sure that you do your best to secure your home for your dog to the best of your ability.
During the first week you really need to focus on allowing your dog the time to rest and relax. Again, the entire experience was very stressful for your dog. The first week is also the time in which they are experiencing the greatest discomfort. 99% of the time they should be resting, relaxing and being nurtured by you. If they won’t let you perform one of the therapies then don’t push them, let them rest.
- Cold therapy is incredibly effective in so many ways. It is nature’s best anti-inflammatory and it also relieves pain.
- Rule of Thumb: Ice for the first 72 hours and then use moist heat after, but icing after exercise and therapy is always a good idea.
- Some dogs are not crazy about the cold on their skin, so I have found that it is best to place a towel or face cloth in between the ice and skin.
6. SLOW WALKING AND SUPPORT:
For the little bit of time that you will be allowing them to walk around (i.e. for elimination purposes)… I BEG OF YOU… Make sure that they are on a very short leash and are walking at a very slow pace.
If you find that your dog needs some extra support or that you need greater control, I encourage you to check out the TopDog Support Rx Total Body Harness System. This harness was developed here at TopDog and is a very affordable and effective solution.
Click Here for the SupportRx Total Body Harness Video
Good luck this week and make sure you come over and check out our incredible Facebook support community. Feel free to share your dog’s story or ask questions. There are hundreds of dog owners just like you who have already been through the surgery and recovery process and are very willing to offer their guidance.