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How to Keep Your Dog Engaged After Surgery

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Dogs recovering from surgery cannot do the same things they normally would. In fact, many of their favorite activities are probably banned. This creates problems when trying to keep them engaged. However, it’s important to keep your dog’s mind stimulated throughout the recovery period. Without regular stimulation, dogs can easily become bored and depressed.

Dogs recovering from surgery cannot run or jump. They cannot play fetch or the tug games they normally enjoy. You’ll need to get a little creative if you want to keep your dog engaged.


Providing your dog with chew toys is an excellent quiet activity. Food filled toys are even better. There are numerous options available at your local pet store. Just make sure that your dog is not breaking pieces off the toy as these can become a choking hazard.

Consider your dog’s comfort and ability when offering treats and toys. For example, dogs with neck, back, or shoulder problems might not be able to pick objects off the floor. Put their toys on a raised surface so they do not have to bend down to get them. If your dog cannot move much at all, it’s important to keep play sessions short and easy. End each play session with lots of praise.

Hide & Seek

Dogs are excellent finders. Teaching your dog to sniff & seek is a fantastic way to keep their mind stimulated. Start off by hiding some kibble in your hand. Show them both hands and see if they can figure out where the kibble is hidden. Once your dog has mastered this trick, try hiding some kibble under things your dog can easily move such as a small towel, pieces of paper or cardboard, or an empty egg carton.

Keep in mind that your dog is not able to exercise during recovery. You don’t want to feed them too much. Use food from their regular ration for hide and seek games.


Because of the high level of energy and activity involved, your dog cannot play a traditional game of fetch during recovery. However, you can still enjoy this game together with some minor adjustments. Place a toy in a basket or bowl near your pet and ask them to fetch it. Make sure you give your pet lots of praise when they give it to you.

Interactive Food Dispensers

Food dispensing games help keep your dog engaged and their mind stimulated. These games require dogs to sniff and seek food and figure out how to get it out of hidden compartments. Dogs using these games may have to slide doors, lift flaps, or remove pieces before getting their reward.

It’s important to note that interactive food dispensers are not toys. Do not let your dog chew them and never leave your dog unattended while playing. Some of these games have small pieces that could easily become a choking hazard.

DogLeggs® products are specially designed to provide support after surgery. Please contact us for details. 

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