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These are the IVDD recovery supplies we used and recommend during IVDD surgery recovery. Our dog recovered from Stage 5 IVDD and these items were helpful for us during his rehabilitation.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a veterinarian. I am just a dog mom sharing my experience with IVDD surgery and recovery, from paralysis to recovery.
Stage 5 IVDD Recovery
Our French Bulldog Albus was the three years old when he was diagnosed with IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). You can read more about when we found out about his IVDD here. He ruptured two discs in his back which immediately caused paralysis. He could no longer or use the bathroom without help. We rushed him into emergency surgery but because of the severity, Grade 5 IVDD with no DPS (deep pain sensation), they told us there was only a 5-10% chance he would ever walk again.
Miraculously, after seven months of rehabilitation, he did.
We could not be more thankful. But in between him going down and him walking again, there was a lot of pain, turmoil, anxiety and questions. IVDD surgery recovery is no joke. Caring for a dog with IVDD can be difficult, frustrating and overwhelming. We had never been through this before. We were completely unprepared for how to care for a dog with special needs recovering from IVDD surgery.
So we spent hours and hours researching everything we possibly could. We learned everything as we went, trying new products and different ways to help Albus (and us) all the time. We tried anything that we thought might help Albus. Some of it worked and some didn’t.
Our hope with this guide is that we save you some of this research time by sharing our experience and what was helpful for us as we waded through the journey of IVDD recovery. We were so thankful for any help or guidance that we received in the beginning and we hope that this can help others too.
It is very hard. But it does get better.
Supplies we Recommend for IVDD Recovery
IVDD Surgery Recovery Suite
One of the first things we recommend creating while your dog is healing from IVDD surgery (or even IVDD without surgery) is to create a recovery suite. This is an area of your home where your dogs space will be and where you will keep them confined and quiet while they recover. Hopefully it can be somewhere near you and your family since we know our dogs love to be with us!
Here’s what I recommend for the recovery suite:
- Crate – One of the most important things to remember when your dog is recovering from IVDD is that they shouldn’t be moving around too much. They are healing from a major surgery and it’s important that they stay quiet and confined. A crate will help keep them from moving around too much too soon.
- Crate Mat – This is helpful to keep a dog more comfortable in the crate and can also be used in a play pen.
- Soft Sided Play Pen – While we did use a crate, we used a soft sided play pen most of the time. It allowed Albus to have a little more space, he was more comfortable and we could set it up right next to the bed for him to sleep in. It became his little recovery suite. They also make plastic play pens that would work too.
Clean up Supplies
There is going to be mess. Especially if your dog lost bladder and bowel control and became incontinent due to IVDD. When they first come home from surgery and are on steroids, this can also cause them to leak quite a bit. So having supplies to help keep things a little cleaner can really come in handy.
- Washable Pee Pads– These were really helpful so that we didn’t always have to use the regular throw away pee pads (although we did use plenty of those). We would keep these in Albus’ recovery suite, put them under him while he slept or on the couch, etc.
- Wipes – I cannot possibly tell you how many of these went through. They are so helpful for quick wipe downs.
- Dog Belly Band Wraps – Because Albus leaked a lot in the beginning and also couldn’t control his bladder, we used these belly band wraps pretty frequently. They are easy to just throw in the wash and they stay on well.
- Dog Diaper – We bought some re-usable diapers so we weren’t always having to throw ones away. These are convenient because they stay on really well too. We usually put one on him if we’re leaving him at the house or if he sleeps on the bed with us. A lot of times we will put this over a throw away diaper to help it stay on.
- Baby Diapers – We actually use regular human baby diapers in size 5 for Albus a lot of the time. They are cheaper than the dog diapers and work well plus it’s easier to have clean ones on hand since you don’t have to wash them. We will usually put these underneath a washable diaper and it works to just quickly take them off and throw them away.
Getting Around & Moving Around with IVDD
- Wagon – IVDD recovery can be a long process and inevitably, your dog will probably get bored of their surroundings. The wagon helped us be able to do things with Albus to stimulate him while still keeping him still. It allowed us to still be able to get things done around the house while being able to keep an eye on him, like cooking, gardening, doing laundry, etc. I would just wheel it wherever I was going so we stayed close. It also allowed us to take him with us places like physical therapy, restaurants, even the hockey rink! Some people also like to use dog strollers.
- Sling – A sling allows you to help your dog walk and be mobile by looping underneath a dog by their hips. You can hold the straps and help hold their back end up. As they begin to gain strength and start walking on their own, you can help them less and less.
- Dog Shoes – When Albus was recovering, he would drag his feet a lot which would result in a lot of sores. When he started walking, he didn’t quite walk correctly so he would still get sores just from the way he walked. The shoes helped to protect his feet.
- Dog Booties – We used these for the same reasons as the dog shoes but found these stayed on best. The only problem with these was that Albus couldn’t wear them for too long or it would cause his feet to swell. So we would use these the most but only for shorter periods of time.
Around the Home
- Elevated Feeder – An elevated feeder is a great thing to have so that your dog doesn’t have to bend over or put their neck in an awkward position to eat out of a bowl. It allows them to keep their spine more straight. This one is also less messy for Albus when he eats!
- Rubber Mats – When Albus couldn’t walk very well or get traction on our laminate floors, we put down these rubber mats. They helped him grip the floor better and they also helped prevent sores from forming on his feet since they were softer.
- Fleece Blankets – We used these all the time, especially in the beginning. These fleece blankets were great for putting under Albus in case he accidentally leaked through the night or throughout the day. We put them anywhere he went under him since they were so easy to wash.
- Waterproof Blanket – We would put this on our bed or on the couch or anywhere else that Albus would sleep just in case. It was easy to wash and just gave us some peace of mind that we could clean up any accidents easily.
- Ruggable Rug – Because of Albus’ incontinence issues, there were accidents. We did our best to mitigate them but occasionally they would still happen. Ruggable rugs are actually washable in the washing machine which is so nice. Albus was able to grip the floor better and if there are any accidents, we can just throw the rug in the wash.
- Help Em Up Harness – This really helped us keep Albus mobile. Instead of him having to drag around, we were able to support his back legs with this harness. It was also helpful as he learned to walk again since we could lessen the amount we helped as he got strong.
First Aid & Supplements
- Gold Bond Powder – I never thought I would use this for a dog but it was really a god send, especially in the beginning. When Albus first came home, he would leak (urine) a lot during the night so this helped to keep him dry and comfortable.
- Skin Soother – We used this to help soothe sores that Albus would get on his feet. It also helped when he would get irritated skin or fur from laying down for too long.
- VetriDisc – Supposedly this supplement is supposed to help the spine. The product page has a lot of information and specifics about how and what it’s supposed to do exactly. Truthfully, I don’t know if I can say that this did help but we did use it throughout his recovery and he did end up walking again so perhaps it did.
Extra Supplies for IVDD
Everlasting Treat – Once Albus started feeling better, it was helpful to get toys that he could just lay and chew on to keep him occupied. This was one of our favorites.
Do I need these supplies during my dog’s recovery from IVDD?
No, you don’t. Some things may not be relevant to your dogs specific recovery. These were helpful supplies that we used during our recovery journey and our hope is that you find something that may benefit you and your doing your own IVDD recovery journey.