Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Exercise And Injuries In A Multi Dog Household: Rodrigo's Limp

By Kimberly Gauthier, Keep the Tail Wagging

OMG – Rodrigo is limping. 

We live on 5 acres and we love watching them tear after each other, kicking up dust clouds, and giving us happy smiles. Our property was made for dogs and dog lovers.

A week before BlogPaws, we noticed that Rodrigo was limping and it was getting progressively worse.  

When you live in a multi-dog home with active dogs, an injury is crazy inconvenient, but we’ve developed a system that works for our family.  Our dogs are young, so a limping dog isn’t much cause for worry, but it does require immediate attention (just in case).

A Dog is Limping

When one of our dogs starts limping (especially Rodrigo), it’s a signal that the pain is worse that I realize and has probably been around for a while, because some dogs instinctively hide injuries (like Rodrigo).  When one of our dogs is limping, I quickly identify which leg they’re favoring and try to see how badly they’re injured by massaging the area to look for any lumps, bumps or swelling.  I also check the paws for thorns or other injuries.

Find a Resolution

After making sure there were no additional signs of illness (loss of appetite, pacing, excessive panting, crying or yelping, or any other behavior out of the ordinary), I double checked the joint supplement history.

We give our dogs Wag Lifetime Joint Care which is fabulous.  Both Rodrigo and Sydney developed arthritis early in life and Wag has given us our active dogs back.  Blue takes a reduced dosage, because joint supplements promote healthy joints as well as relieve joint pain and arthritis.

In the halla-ba-loo of preparing for BlogPaws, I realized that I missed a few days.  Instead of kicking myself, which I deserved, I got everyone started back on their supplements.  Missing a few days isn’t a big deal, but when you miss a few days here and there, it kind of makes the supplements pointless.  Think “birth control pills.”  Get what I mean?

Managing Dog Walks

Until Rodrigo was feeling better, we had to reduce his play time and that is what I mean by inconvenient – have you tried explaining healing time, rest period, and taking a break to a dog?  Blue and Rodrigo are playmates and Blue was bouncing off the walls for two weeks and Rodrigo was right behind him.  We developed a schedule to manage their energy until Rodrigo healed.

  • Blue received individual walks to help burn off some of that excess energy.
  • Blue and Rodrigo were allowed to play, but it was limited to a small area of our property.
  • Rodrigo only received pain medication (we give him Dog Gone Pain, which works and doesn’t have any nasty side effects) before bed; if we gave it to him before a play session or walk; he’d over tax himself and pay for it the next day.
  • We create indoor games, like hiding treats around the living room, for the dogs to play – they love that one!  Especially Sydney.
  • Sometimes we give them raw, meaty bones to occupy some of their time.
It took 2 weeks for Rodrigo’s limp to slowly go away.

I now have a reminder on my phone to give the dogs their “peanut butter treats” at 8pm every night.  They know the drill and now we do too.

If you live in a multi dog home, how do you manage your dog’s exercise and play time when one is injured?


Kimberly Gauthier is the Fur Mom to 3 dogs and founder of Keep the Tail Wagging, an online magazine for dog lovers.  She launched Keep the Tail Wagging to give dog parents a safe place to ask “stupid” questions.  By sharing her experience as a dog mom to three rescues, Kimberly hopes to help others make better choices for their dogs too. 

 When she's not laughing with her boyfriend or playing with her dogs, she can be found writing, taking pictures, reading, or watching movies.  Kimberly is the author of Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche and Easy Social Media Tips for Animal Rescue Groups, both available on Amazon.

Articles by Kimberly Gauthier:
The Gross Factor: When A Dog Vomits In Your Hands 


  1. Been there too often it seems. We do much of the same as you and it tears me up when one needs exercise and one doesn't cause they don't understand why they are getting left behind. I try to sneak out the door so they don't see...but they always know. The toughest is Jack because he REALLY needs to burn off a good 45-60 minutes a day at least, so when he is hurt, it's a real challenge. The mind games help a lot as the tend to burn some of the frustration. And I do many mini-walks - not to far, but enough to burn a little energy and then back for a rest. Inconvenient? Yes...but we do what we gotta do.

    1. Yeah, we've been there a lot. I jumped through elaborate hoops to make Jasmine better about things. I know she knew but I do believe she appreciated the effort I put into it.

      One trick that I think was helpful in general was that hubby would take Jasmine for her however little walk she could have first, than I'd sneak out with JD. There was much more I was doing, maybe I should blog about it too.

    2. I hear ya! And where we live, we're dealing with the heat so short walks and play sessions then rest and lots of water. I look at it as a way for me to stay in shape too, but it's not enough. Even I feel unsatisfied and come home to work out more :)