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.
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 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?
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
Soft Tissue Trauma in Dogs