Controlling Activity Post-Injury: Cookie’s Iliopsoas Injury—Battling the Zoomies

What to do when you need to restrict activity of your active dog post injury or surgery?

Crate rest is fine very short-term but eventually, the dog needs to get moving. The same goes for chemical restraint such as Trazodone. Explaining that they need to curb their enthusiasm to your wild dog doesn’t always get through.

Plans are great as long as everything goes according to them. Which in real life doesn’t happen all the time.

Controlling Activity Post-Injury: Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury—Battling the Zoomies

Coming off strict rest

After initial strict rest, the plan is to gradually keep increasing the amount of exercise Cookie gets while incorporating some physical therapy along with that.

As far as plans go, it’s a perfect plan. Allowing the muscles to heal and then working them back up to their top condition.

With the help of the Trazodone, things go according to plan most of the time.

Just the fact that Cookie doesn’t either jump out of her skin, explode, or become completely depressed with such major exercise (and fun) restrictions is a miracle and testament to the drug doing its job.

But every now and then the circumstances happen to be just so that all control goes out the window and Cookie loses it. Full-blown attack of the zoomies.

The zoomies

The fact that she is on the lash at all times has little bearing. She is perfectly capable of bouncing at the end like a kite in a hurricane. And so far, every time she did that she set herself back.

She did this first thing this year and we are still dealing with the injury she was able to sustain then. She did that couple more times since but the outcome wasn’t as bad those two times. But we are still, understandably, very concerned about these things.

What triggers them?

The most likely scenario involves very cold temperatures, cold wind, and or fresh snow.

Sometimes that’s just something that must happen, I suppose. She was getting them last winter too and was getting her 3 hours of walking and playing every day. It was obviously not from her not being able to drain enough energy. Except for last winter, it didn’t matter and she could lose it all she liked.

The main question remains, how does one prevent, or stop the zoomies at their tracks.

Draining enough energy

Obviously, the best recommendation for prevention includes lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Right now she cannot get anywhere near as much exercise as she’d like or needed but that’s why she’s on the Trazodone to keep her calmer. But there is a limit to what the Trazodone can do and zoomies are no match for it.

We play games, training games, she gets her entertainment bones and food puzzles … No amount of play in the house has ever been enough for her–I know that from some of the really cold days last winter when it was just impossible to go for a walk and we played indoors.

Another recommendation was to ask her to do something incompatible with having zoomies.

To her, everything is perfectly compatible. She’ll do it at the speed of light so she can return to being crazy as soon as possible.

No off switch

Apparently, there isn’t any zoomies off-switch any of my training friends know about.

There is only one thing that I’ve tried that works most of the time, even though there is no guarantee she won’t get back to her zoomies later.


“Where is the mousie?”

I bend down and look at a spot on the ground and ask this question. That switches gears in Cookie’s head she’ll leap at the spot looking for a critter. If all goes well and there has been one around recently, she’ll start digging and looking and forgets about her zoomies.

So that has been our best strategy so far.

Do you know of any sure-fire zoomies off-switch?

Related articles:
Canine Iliopsoas Injury: A Common Undiagnosed Injury in Dogs
Cookie’s Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms
Dog Recovery Chemical Restraint: Our Use of Trazodone during Cookie’s Iliopsoas Injury Recovery

Further reading:
Soft Tissue Trauma in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsDog health advocacyIliopsoas injuriesInjuriesMuscle injuriesReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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