What are the Exercises You Can Do With Your Dog After TPLO Surgery

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TPLO surgery recovery can be a long and tedious process. It can take your dog 12 to 16 weeks to heal from the procedure completely. In fact, most dogs only return to their total physical activity around six months after the procedure.

How can pet owners speed up their pup’s recovery and ensure they’re on the right track?

This blog discusses post-TPLO exercises you can do with your dog. It also tells how you can perform these workouts at home and how they benefit your pup’s recovery.

What are Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physical therapy exercises often come after your dog’s TPLO surgery. They are similar to the activities done by humans but are more tailored for dogs and other animals. Some of these techniques and modalities can be done at home, while other exercises are administered by your veterinarian, particularly when using specialized equipment.

Your veterinarian will first review your pup’s current condition and create a tailored treatment plan according to its needs for a speedy recovery. Since you can’t always exercise at the clinic, your vet will also demonstrate and instruct you on how to perform other physical therapy exercises and movements with your dog at home. 

Importance of Exercise for TPLO Surgery Recovery

Surgery can significantly affect your dog’s movement and behavior. It will be under much pain and may become depressed as it can’t stand up and play like it used to. 

Exercising after TPLO surgery helps decrease pain and inflammation, increase mobility and range of motion, and boost the overall quality of your dog’s life. It also speeds up your pet’s recovery so it can return to its normal lifestyle and do the things it loves.

What Post-TPLO Exercises Can You Do?

Here are some workouts you can do with your dog. Performing these exercises and gradually increasing their intensity and difficulty will lessen the strain on your dog’s healing leg. 

Sit & Stand

This exercise is one of the simplest movements that you can do with your dog. Let your pet switch from sitting to standing posture to strengthen its legs slowly. This is also a great way to build its core as it recovers. Start this exercise with your dog in a sitting position and encourage them to stand up. You can give them treats to motivate and reward your pet whenever it finishes one rep. Afterward, make them sit back up again. Repeat this exercise between 5 to 10 times. You can also make it more challenging by letting your dog do it on different surfaces.

Hind Leg Stands

The goal of this exercise is to boost your pup’s ability to stand on its hind legs. It also helps determine for how long it can remain in this position. You can assist your dog by holding on to its front legs as if you’re doing a little dance.

For pets with more advanced skills, you can use a lure instead of supporting its front limbs. Hold the item above its head and have it follow you around the house. Hind leg stands are great for strengthening the core and improving balance.

Tail Pinching

Pinching your pup’s tail increases their awareness and reflexes. In fact, it’s straightforward to do. If your dog can walk, have it lead ahead of you. Gently pinch the tip of its tail. It should turn around and look behind to know who’s the culprit. You can turn it into a fun game by testing if your dog will ever catch you.

Cookie Stretch

Pet owners usually use a cookie or a treat when doing a cookie stretch. This exercise aims to make your pup use its shoulders and hips. Start with your dog standing on all fours. Use the treat to lure your dog into following it around its shoulders, paws, and midsection. Your dog should stay in place and practice stretching using its other body parts as it tries to reach for the treat.

Ball Balance

Help your pup regain its balance and mobility with this fun exercise. You can use either a balancing ball or a wobble board for this activity. Begin this exercise by wedging the ball into place, so it doesn’t move around. This makes it easier for your dog to balance as it stands on top. 

If your pet has perfected the balancing act on a wedged ball, try increasing its difficulty by letting the ball move around. Be sure to stand close so you can catch it in case it falls.


Swimming is a fun activity to do during TPLO surgery recovery. Before you dive into the water, make sure to get permission from your vet as the incision cannot get wet. Once you get the signal, try wadding in hip-high waters first. Pet owners can use a floating toy for an exciting game of fetch.

Afterward, you can swim in deeper waters for some well-deserved playtime. This low-impact exercise helps rebuild your dog’s stamina, muscle mass, and joint strength. However, pet owners should remember that not all pups are talented swimmers, so use a floater jacket for dogs just in case.

Extended Paw Touches

Extended paw touch exercises are another way of strengthening the hind legs of your pet. You can perform this workout by having your dog sit on all fours. Afterward, place its front paws on an elevated surface and get it to stand up. Make sure its head and neck are straight for best results. 

Controlled Leash Walks

Pet owners can perform controlled leash walks at home or outdoors. Put on a chest harness, collar, and leash on your furry friend and have it lead while you take a pleasant stroll. This exercise teaches it how to walk without you pulling on the leash but instead trains your dog to respond to commands such as “heel” or “steady.” You can also direct how your dog walks by using your legs to nudge your pet in the right direction.

Speed Up TPLO Surgery Recovery with Exercises

Help your pup heal from its TPLO surgery with exercise. It’s a great way to get back into shape while regaining their strength, mobility, and range of motion. Keep your pet on the right track to recovery so it can return to its usual routine as soon as possible. 

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