Getting prepared for a surgery that will leave you temporarily immobilized? It’s hard enough to anticipate how you will care for yourself, especially if you live alone. But having a pet to look after may have you stressed out. Fear not! The following tips can help you navigate your pet care with ease as you recover.
Secure a Walker.
You might have plans to stay with family or friends for a brief period when you leave the hospital, but eventually you’ll be home and need to get around by yourself. Make arrangements to rent, borrow or buy a walker a few weeks before your surgery. Some animals can handle new, strange equipment but others cannot and need to be desensitized. Practice using it a few times a day. If your animal seems spooked, try feeding him some yummy treats you drop behind you as you’re using it. Very important that you drop them from behind so he doesn’t get used to blocking your forward access.
Get a Grabbing Tool.
If you’re not familiar with them, a grabbing tool is about three feet long with a pistol grip on one end and a pinscher gripper on the far end. They are great for picking up things you drop on the floor without having to strain bending over, but in this case they’re also handy for picking up metal food dishes for feeding your pet. Practicing your coordination prior to surgery will also help your pet acclimate to this new device.
Enlist Your Fireplace Poker.
The grabbing tool is great for lifting light objects, but it won’t help if you need to lift something heavy. If you can get your pet used to drinking from a small, flat-bottomed water bucket, the hook part of the poker works great for picking up the bucket by the handle to refill it. If you don’t have a fireplace poker, anything with a J type of hook can work, such as an umbrella.
Bring in the Watering Can.
If you can’t engage your pet to drink from a bucket, then you’ll need another method for refilling his water dish. Using a watering can with a long, narrow spout will allow you to pour a steady stream just using a tip of the wrist from about three feet above.
Repurpose the Easter Basket.
A basket with a long, looped handle, similar to the traditional Easter basket is perfect for toting your pet’s treats, toys, grooming tools, etc. from one part of your house to another. You can grip the long handle of the basket while holding onto the handles of your walker. Another option would be to get a cloth tote bag with a long enough handle to loop over your head and wear across your body.
Recruit a Dog Walker.
While you can manage the feeding and general care during the day, you will not be able to walk your dog. So, find a professional dog walking service or a trusted dog-savvy friend or neighbor who can take Fido on his daily walks and let him out as needed.
Stock Your Home.
You’ll want to make sure you have enough food and treats to go the distance during your recovery. If they come in heavy bags, pour them into smaller containers that you’ll be able to lift.
Brush Up on Commands.
Take some time to practice your basic commands, especially Sit, Stay, Down, so that your dog will recall, respond and be on his best behavior when you return from surgery.
Getting prepared well ahead of your surgery will also help you de-stress and foster a confident “we can do this!” attitude your pets will find comforting.
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