We promise, it’s doable! We know the process of preparing for your pet’s surgery can be involved, and you’ve probably thought of almost everything you need. But here’s one thing you may not have considered: how to keep your dog entertained during recovery. Regardless of the type of surgery they are undergoing, the recovery process for your pup most likely involves restricted movement. This means the daily walks, romps in the yard, and games of fetch, or play sessions that usually keep them entertained and stimulated are most likely going out the window for a while.

If you have an active pet, you may be wondering, “How am I going to keep my crazy energetic pet calm, quiet, and happy for the 2 weeks they’re in recovery?” You may even be worried about them expressing their boredom with typical boredom response behaviors, such as chronic barking, licking, whining, jumping, destruction, or even depression.

We’re here to tell you: that keeping even the most energetic pets healthy and happy during recovery is completely possible. You just need the right tools in your toolkit.

The key to keeping your pet happy (and sane) during post-surgery recovery is mental stimulation. Mental stimulation is just as rewarding to a pet as physical exercise, and keeping their brain occupied during recovery will not only stave off boredom and release any pent-up energy, it will also increase your pet’s confidence, help keep their memory sharp, make them smarter and more trainable, and strengthen the bond between you and your beloved companion.

So, what do we recommend?

Products:  These can be found online or in local pet stores.

-Puzzle toys using their food or high value treats

-Snuffle mats sprinkled with their food or high value treats

-Lick mats (with high value foods smeared on such as peanut butter, pumpkin, treats, Churu, or their food- frozen or otherwise) *

-Kongs (filled with high value foods such as pumpkin, plain nonfat yogurt, treats, frozen or otherwise.) *

* Not for pets on hydrolyzed protein diets

While there are lots of enrichment toys and games available to purchase, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to provide enrichment, you can use common household items that  you probably already have in your cabinets.

-Towels. Sprinkle your pets food onto a laid out towel at meal time, wrap it up into a “burrito” and let them forage to find the food.

-Muffin Tins: Distribute your pets food at meal time into a muffin tin and put tennis balls on top. Let them forage to find the kibble under the balls.

Training/Brain Games:

Basic, low impact obedience training at home during recovery is a great way to enrich and tire out your pet, without exercise. Check out Zak George on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/@zakgeorge) for great training videos.

“Find it” can also be a great game as long as your pet isn’t zooming around the house, try to stick to one room. Let them smell a treat or toy that they love, hide that treat or toy, and then have them go “find it”.

What about walks?

Sniffari: Short, controlled leash walks are okay, and it’s a perfect time to allow your pet (dog) to go on a sniffari. A “sniffari” is an outing where your dog sniffs whatever they want and leads you where they want to go. It’s different from taking your dog for a walk: The point of a sniffari is to allow your dog to explore the world by way of all its glorious smells, without exercise.

Compassionate and professional veterinary care in Medfield, MA!


45 West Street #2
Medfield, MA 02052


Monday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 8:00am – 12:00pm
We are closed the last Saturday of every month

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