How to Survive With a Dog on Crate Rest

If your dog suffers from an injury to a joint or ligament, they will most likely be prescribed crate rest during the recovery process, whether as a primary course of treatment or after surgery.

Crate rest, when used in lieu of surgery, is another name for conservative treatment since, although conservative treatment encompasses many modalities, confinement to a crate to restrict movement is the primary component of it.

Crate rest is THE #1 thing you need to do if your Dachshund is suddenly paralyzed and you’re waiting to see a veterinarian or suffers a spinal injury related to Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD).

Advice for when your dog is on crate rest
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Our Experience with IVDD Crate Rest

My Dachshund Gretel was diagnosed with IVDD in March of 2016.

Except for the controlled activities prescribed by the rehab vet, she needed to be confined to a dog crate for 8 weeks to keep her immobile.

Going into this, I knew a lot about treatment for IVDD because of the stories and experiences of people in the 500+ member Dachshund club I organize.

I knew that one of the biggest mistakes people make in treating their IVDD dog is letting their dog out of the crate early.

People usually let their dog out of the crate before the recommended rest period is over because it looks like their dog is feeling better, they feel bad, or the dog is restless and whiny.

The other problem with crate rest and potential re-injury is that a lot of Dachshunds are not crate trained.

The IVDD treatment period is the first time they’ve ever been confined to one.

This can result in a dog working themselves into a panic, crying, or thrashing around.

Not to totally scare you but it’s a cold, hard fact that failing to complete the recommended crate rest for your dog, or failing to keep them calm while they are restrained, can lead to:

  • Improper healing and a greater chance of re-injury
  • Full paralysis
  • So much pain and degeneration that a “tough decision” has to be made.

I was NOT going to let that happen to us. I was dedicated to crate rest.

Even the Easy Days are Hard

Luckily, Gretel was generally good about being n the crate.

She was already used to spending time in the crate when we’re gone but she didn’t make any big fusses about it even though we were still home where she could see us.

I thought my dedication, and her relative ease with it, was going to make the crate rest period a breeze. Nope.

I needed to find a whole new daily routine.

The first week of us carrying her outside to go potty, giving her water in her crate, feeding her in her crate, figuring out how she could maintain her daily routine as much as possible from behind bars, and coordinating her care with my hubby was a challenge.

She did start to get fussy too.

She rarely whined in the crate but her increasing energy level made things harder and harder. When we walked around the house she started sitting up or rustling around in her crate to make sure we noticed her.

She tried to run out the door when I opened the crate unless food was going inside with her.

After about a week or so, we settled into a new routine that worked for us and felt as natural as her old one. But then there were more challenges.

I wanted to share what I learned in hopes of helping others through crate rest with their dog.

Tips for Dachshunds on crate rest

Tips for Surviving a Period of Crate Rest With Your Dog

Note: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Your dog might be prescribed crate rest by a veterinarian for several reasons.

The three most common reasons I see are because of ACL tears or surgery, back surgery, or as conservative treatment for IVDD.

In our case, it was Gretel’s back issue that landed her in the clink.

Regardless of the reason, the following advice will help both you and your dog make it through any bout of cage rest!

Make sure your dog is crate trained early on

This is pretty much the #1 tool for surviving a period of crate rest.

If your dog is not at least used to being in a crate some of the time, keeping your dog confined to a crate will be miserable for both of you, if not impossible.

Give Your Dog Something to Help Keep Them Calm

During the first week of recovery, the pain and steroid medication kept Gretel sleepy and settled. Then she started to get restless.

My vet and I agreed to avoid sedatives if we could. Gretel is a high energy girl though so I needed to give her something to calm her down though.

I tried a few different natural remedies but settled on Vetriscience Composure for her nerves (although I had to give her enough for a 30-lb dog twice a day), Hemp CBD Oil, and Melatonin to make her a tad sleepy.

Some people have tried calming herbal sprays, pheromone diffusers, or other “relaxing” herbal remedies with some success. Those didn’t do anything for Gretel.

Someone suggested giving her chamomile tea but I never tried it.

If natural remedies don’t work, I highly suggest asking your vet for a medication that will keep your dog calm and still.

I normally don’t recommend “drugging” a dog for no reason but crate rest is definitely a time when one must do everything they can to make sure their dog recovers.

Minimize Disturbances

The crate rest period might not be a good time to have the family visit or have guests over.

Minimizing disturbances for a dog on crate rest with a "Do Not Knock" sign

I suggest putting a “no knocking” sign like this one on the front door.

Gretel wouldn’t tolerate this but some dogs do better with a sheet covering their crate.

You can also help drown out noises with music. Anything will help but you can also buy special calming music for dogs.

Keep a Harness on at All Times

Leaving the harness on will help you keep them from darting out of the cage past you and jumping on the couch.

Also, keeping the harness on all of the time is easier than putting it on and taking it off.

Gretel wore this VelPro Choke Free Harness for 8 weeks straight during her crate rest and had zero issues with discomfort or sore spots.

Whichever harness you choose, I suggest picking one that is loose fitting and comfortable and keep an eye out for chafing and hair breakage.

If you’re worried about leaving a harness on all of the time, you might want to consider switching between 2 or 3 different harnesses to keep your dog from getting hot spots.

Your pet is unlikely to mind having it on all of the time, really.

Remember to clip a leash to your dog’s harness when you take them out to go potty (you should carry them outside) to help keep them from making sudden moves that they shouldn’t.

Stick with a Routine

Try to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible.

Gretel’s normal daily routine was sleeping our bed, eating breakfast, going potty, licking Chester’s bowl clean, laying in her bed in my office until late afternoon, eating dinner, etc.

I put a second crate in my office and put her bed in it.

After I carried her in from going potty in the morning, I held her leash and let her lick Chester’s bowl as normal.

Then I put her in the crate in my office.

The location of her bed may have changed, but her routine was very similar.

Gretel getting some fresh air in her stroller

How to Entertain a Dog on Crate Rest

Being confined to a small space for weeks on end can take a toll on a dog (and the owner!)

Mental stimulation, and entertaining your dog, can help break up the boredom.

When Gretel started to get really restless in the crate, I would introduce something new to keep her entertained.

Here are some of the ideas that I tried.

Training that could be done inside the crate

I started training Gretel the touch command where I asked her to touch her nose to my hand and then gave her a treat.

It’s something she could do in the crate that was both human contact and mentally stimulating.

Taek your dog for walks in a stroller

Sometimes, before she was able to walk on her own, I took Gretel for walks in her pet stroller for a change of scenery and to get some fresh air.

Note: you should probably talk to your vet before doing this and definitely stick to smooth, stable surfaces.

Several times I strapped her into her car seat and took her for a little drive.

Watch TV on the couch

I also, with permission from Gretel’s veterinarian, sat with her on the couch in the evening.

It was allowed as long as I always had one hand on her harness so there was no way she could jump up quickly, or off the couch.

She was also allowed to sleep in bed with me at night too as long as I had her on a short leash that was attached to me (she’s not one to wiggle or get out of bed in the middle of the night so the risk was low).

Give your dog treat toy

Remember that a stuffed treat toy is your friend.

I tried not to use this trick too often because I didn’t want my small dog to eat too much, especially since she was not exercising, and gain too much weight.

But a stuffed dog treat toy would keep her busy for a good 15-30 minutes.

Just be sure to pick one that is not too hard so your dog doesn’t contort their body a lot trying to get into it.

Find Out What Your Dog CAN Do

Ask your veterinarian for rehab exercises and a plan – this will help you resist letting your dog do things they shouldn’t by focusing on things they can do safely outside of the crate.

In the first couple of week of Gretel’s crate rest, I focused on massage and stretching exercises while we were snuggling on the couch.

Eventually, she was allowed a couple of 5 minute walks a day.

Later we moved to longer walks plus physical therapy exercises.

Keep Track of Progress

At the beginning, it may feel like your dog is not making progress on crate rest and that this will be your new routine forever.

It’s easy to get caught up in the crate rest process and lose track of time.

Setting weekly milestones helps you remember how long it’s been and gives you a weekly reason to celebrate your dedication to your dog and their progress.

Keep a journal with time, date, and how the day went, or put that information on a calendar.

If you’re feeling frustrated, hopeless, or down, you can look back on this information to help you gauge the real state of things and your dog’s progress.

Consider Alternatives to the Crate

Yes, it’s called crate rest but that is just because a dog crate is the simplest and safest way to confine your dog.

A dog crate will absolutely eliminate the possibility that your dog could jump or fall and hamper their healing.

However, if a dog is not crate trained, or they have significant separation anxiety, confining them could cause more harm that good.

It may stress your dog out so much that the anxiety causes restlessness, lack of sleep, and an aggressive attempt to escape.

In this case, you may indeed want to consider an alternate “recovery suite”.

The primary goal if crate rest is to keep movement to the utmost minimum.

While not ideal, there are other ways to accomplish this besides a dog crate.

The most common are a small, open-topped enclosure made with a dog fence or X-pen.

Just be sure to make it as small as possible to deter your dog from standing up and moving around.

You can also consider using a pet stroller as the dog crate as long as it has a cover that you can close.

The benefit is that you can roll your dog around from room to room with you but there is a danger that the stroller could tip over and injure your dog to beware.

Final Thoughts

The #1 recommendation for Dachshunds with back problems is crate rest.

It may be part of your dog’s conservative treatment protocol or a necessary step after surgery to help ensure proper healing.

But strict crate rest can be a trying time in your and your dog’s life.

It’s especially hard if a dog has not previously been trained to be comfortable in a crate and/or if you can’t get over your guilt.

The suggestions in this article will help make the crate rest period less stressful for both you and your dog.

–> See the Full List of My IVDD Articles, Information, and Resources HERE <–

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


        1. Our dachshund had back pain for a few days and we took him to the vet they said it was the start of ivdd and gave him meds and strict crate rest then the next day he got worked up by another dog and started yipping and crying we got him calm and later when we went to take him to the bathroom he was dragging his legs behind him and doesn’t seem to feel pain anymore , I called the vet he said do do the same treatment but my concern is taking him to the bathroom should we hold his legs up he urinated this morning but not much and he had not pooped yet , he wants to walk around and drag his legs to find a spot to go but do we let him or not and what if he doesn’t urinate when do we help him urinate, also we have him in a large dog crate is that ok the small one we have fits just him and it’s hard for us to get him in and out and we are so afraid of hurting him more Any advice is greatly appreciated ?

          1. Hi Christina. I’m a bit surprised your vet doesn’t want to see him again since his condition has clearly gotten worse. I might look for another vet for a second opinion if there is one in your area. As for the crate, the smaller the better so he can move around less but being in any size crate is better than not. As for the bathroom, I’m not clear whether he is unable to go by himself or you are just concerned because he won’t go immediately when taken out. If it’s the former, look up “how to express a paralyzed dog”. You will find information for you to help him physically potty. If it’s just that he wants to sniff around before going, make sure to keep him on a short leash so he can’t go very far. When he figures out he can’t walk further away, he will probably go near you. Look into the Ginger Lead sling, or see what is is and make something similar yourself, to help hold his back end up when he goes out. Good luck.

      1. Not sure when this post was made but I cut up one of my long sleeve shirts, set it on the ground and held up her back legs while she did her business outside. I’ve been through this 3 times with my dog and ended up figuring out how to help my weenie get her the help and recovery she needed

  1. My dachshund has been lucky not to have any back issues. But I will keep this article handy because you have given great advise and you never know when I may need it. Thank you.

  2. These are great tips. If Barley ever needs crate rest, I will keep this mind–she’s already used to being crated when I can’t supervise her, but she does NOT like being in there long when she knows I’m around. I wouldn’t have even thought about the note for the front door!

  3. I have an 11 year old dachshund who has back issues off and on since before she was 6 months old We did very short periods of crate rest with her but would stop when she started acting better Ir wasn’t until I took her to a specialist that I learned that we weren’t doing it long enough We did one round of extended crate rest a couple of years ago and she has had very little trouble since I have to confess that we probably weren’t as strict as we should have been but we were a lot more strict than we ever had been in the past That along with a regime of steroids and pain meds did wonders for her Thankfully she has never required surgery

    1. I am glad to hear that proper crate rest really helped things and that she never needed surgery. I get how hard it is to keep them on crate rest when you feel like “they’re better” and it’s not doing anything. I just had to set my mind to it and stay the course. I went by the calendar, not how I though Gretel was feeling or what my heartstrings whispered to me 🙂

  4. Wonderful post, Jessica. I have an 80 lb. aussie/lab mix who has undergone two ACL surgeries requiring prolonged crating for recovery. She is now a 12 year-old poster child of our lack of persistence and discipline. Ironically, today, I would have tried the crate training BEFORE the surgeries as you have done.

      1. Thank you so much for this post. My dog recently was diagnosed with IVDD and from the research I’ve done she’s probably stage 2…she looks like she getting stronger but I will see some knuckling when she is outside walking to go potty…problem is I don’t know anyone who has gone trough this and don’t know if this is all part of the healing process?? Also looking for a second opinion because mine was not as helpful as I thought she would be. ???? So any info would help greatly. Such a hard thing to watch.

        1. Hi Michelle. Did you do the 6 – 8 weeks strict crate rest? If she is still knuckling after the crate rest, It may be something she will always do. A lot of dogs never walk quite the same. I don’t usallly hear of them knuckling though. It’s more like limping, walking sideways, or skipping a step. I would see a different vet if y ou can. You may need to do excercises with her like I do with Gretel to make her stronger. Here is my post about that if you havn’t seen it:

            1. Hi Karen. Gretel completed 10 weeks of crate rest. We did the rehab exercises during that time period, although she did not start them right away. If I remember correctly, we started at week 4 or 5.

        2. Hi Michelle this post is a little while after your response. My dog Lilly is 4 years old and has been diagnosed with spinal disc disease . I have recently gotten Lilly back in July from a owner that failed to tell me she had this disease. She was diagnosed last year with him and treated. Lilly stated having issues with pain and not jumping around like she normally does I took her to her preciousness vet who xrayed her and told me this is the disease she has. I have had her on cage rest,for 4 weeks, I weaned her off of her pain medicine and muscle relaxers but I am having some difficulty getting her off the steroids without her being in pain. She does great when on them but shows sign of pain and knuckling in her back without them. I was wondering what other treatment you had for your dog? I can’t afford surgery for Lilly and I am left with morning knowing what I should do. Do you have any advice?

          1. Hi Heidi. I know I’m not Michelle but I may have some advice to offer. First, strict crate rest is THE best thing you can do for her. From what I understand, scar tissue can’t be fully formed over the disk (which is how it heals) until at least 5 weeks post injury. Many dogs need longer crate rest than that (6-10 weeks). If she’s still having pain, it’s possible the disk hasn’t healed. The pain and continued knuckling is a red flag for that. I would keep her on crate rest for a longer period. I’ve heard of many dogs who were totally paralyzed fully recovering with prolonged crate rest. As far as alternate treatments, acupuncture and cold laser have been known to help a lot. Those can also be expensive though.

            1. I have a multipoo that just became paralyzed I’m at loss how do you leave him in a crete for so long how do the use the bathroom will he get better

              1. Hi Lynett. I’m sorry you and your pup are going through this experience. I’m not totally clear what your question is as there seems to be several questions jumbled together. I’ll try to answer though. As far as leaving him in the crate for long periods of time, the tips I list in this article will help. It’s imperative to his potential recovery that you follow strict crate rest for at least several weeks. He can be let out to go potty (assuming he can still go on his own) but you should carry him instead of letting him walk to the spot on his own. Then keep him on leash so he can’t walk around far. I took Gretel out to potty every 3-4 hours unless she let me know she needed to go prior to that. As for “will he get better?” only time will tell. Many, many dogs have fully, or mostly fully, recovered with 6-10 weeks of being kept immobile in a crate. Things like acupuncture, cold laser, hydrotherapy, and massage can help after the first couple weeks too. With that being said, unfortunately, some dogs do not recover and need to be in a wheelchair the rest of their life or be put down (those are extreme cases). Good luck to you guys and let me know if I didn’t answer your question.

    1. i have a 130 lb english mastiff that went through torn acl surgery then snuck out and shattered that leg. she had 5 pins put in. looked like a cage. was told limited outside bathroom tips on a leash. that was to much on her leg. after a week i took her back to the vet . the holes in the bone where the pins went through elongated from putting her wieght on it and it will never heal. So the vet took the pins out, put a plate in from her knee to her ankle with 15 screws and kept her for evaluation for 4 days. just picked her up . i need to keep her in a crate for a minimum of 2 weeks no outside bathroom trips, no leashing, no wieght on that leg at all. this is going to be difficult but if i dont next time there will be no fix

      1. Hi Terry. That sounds like a horrible ordeal for both you and your pup. I’m sorry. Perhaps diapers would help with the potty issue? She may not feel comfortable “wetting herself” but, personally, I wouldn’t know what else to do besides that. It will also be a bit of trouble to clean her up after poo 🙁 I would suggest a sling to support the half of her that has the injured leg but, at 130 lbs, you would probably need 2-4 strong guys to hold her up. Has your vet made any suggestions for dealing with this?

        1. she is in our mud room, with a crate. I tried the crate but she is doing better out of the crate. She is on tranquilizers and pretty much sleeps. she has only pooped once and peed once in 3 days. that worrys me. keeping her down with tranquilizers is the vets reccommendation and its working but it sure is sad to see my girl in that state. i just keep telling myself its only temporary.

          1. Terry, you have to do what’s best for you and her.

            However, I would caution you against not putting her in a crate. Even though she sleeps most of the time, you are creating an environment that is not controlled and she could easily stand up on the bad leg if she got excited or disturbed by something. I guess if your vet knows that is what you are doing though, something would be said if it’s super, super risky.

            If you don’t know already, pain and other meds can make a dog constipated. I would try giving her a tablespoon or two of canned pumpkin with her food (not the sweetened kind for pie). I’m not sure about the peeing. She could be dehydrated but that is still a long time not to go.

  5. OMD literally mom has no idea how you did this, other than knowing what a determined person you are. The note on the door is a really good idea that we would never have thought of. I injured my ACL and was suppose to be on rest, mom did not do well at all, she gives in too easily to whining and pity looks. Gretel has the look down pat how you resisted that is amazing. Glad she is doing well! Love Dolly

    1. Luckily, Gretel didn’t whine much. The pity looks were a bit hard to take but, as you said, I was very determined. I’m not excited about the prospect of potentially having to go through it again someday though that is for sure.

  6. We are currently dealing with crate rest and limited activity. Roy, our 3.5 year old dashing hound ruptured two discs in the lumbar region of his back. He had a 60% spinal cord compression and had lost the use of his legs/feet. We were very fortunate to get him into Dr. Babbitt who referred us to 1 of only 2 surgeons in our area. Dr. Fugazzi, Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center, saw him immediately and Roy was in surgery within the hour. Within 2 days he had regained the mobility in his legs and was acting as if nothing happened. Roy felt there was no need for a crate and verbalized this, often….He just has his 2.5 week follow up and stitch removal and is doing great. He gets trazadone at night so we can all sleep. This is the first time we have had to deal with a surgical issue with our dasher, we have been very fortunate that our almost 14 year old’s infrastructure has held up, quick, knock on wood…

    1. I’m glad that Roy recovered so well. I used to walk Dachshunds and several of my clients had IVDD surgery. All of them were able to walk again after.

      My Chester is 13 and has never had issues either. I’m counting myself, and him, lucky on that one for sure. All Dachshunds will tell you that they don’t need crate rest. Ha, ha. They say they know what’s best and my human should do what I say 🙂 My will is stronger than Gretel’s though, believe it or not. I did a lot of reading about IVDD treatment. While “strict” crate rest is being replaced by crate rest to restrict them from hurting themselves at home and rehab, I knew the time in the crate is still important. I wanted to be sure to do everything I could so there would be hope of getting her back out on the trails again.

  7. My little wiener mix has been on crate rest for a week and a half now. With this latest bout of back pain she had also lost some sensation and mobility in her left hind leg, and despite the meds (prednisone, painkillers and muscle relaxers) the lack of mobility is becoming more pronounced and both of her legs seem to be gradually getting weaker. I know it’s hard to tell a dog’s pain level from her behavior, but based on what I’ve witnessed with her last ivdd episodes, she doesn’t seem to be in pain, just weaker. I’m going to call my vet in the morning, but as it’s Sunday I wonder whether anyone has any insight they can share. Should I be seeing an improvement by now, or at least not a worsening of her symptoms? Is it possible the lack of any exercise could be contributing to the increase in weakness? I’m so worried about her.

    1. Hi Laurie. Sorry I didn’t get to this until now. I assume you have already called your vet, or will be calling soon, to ask. I understand how worrying this all is. I watched Gretel like a hawk for any tiny change every time she was out of the crate.

      I am certainly no expert on IVDD but it’s my understanding that your baby should be seeing some improvement in her symptoms with the meds and crate rest… or, at the very least, they should not be getting worse. I did hear that meds and crate rest do not always help and, in those cases, surgery might be needed. However, your vet will determine the cause of increased weakness and let you know if that is the road you need to go down. If the cause in neurological, then that is a situation that will have to be addressed. It is a possibility that what you are seeing is due to the crate rest itself and not a big deal. I noticed that Gretel was always more unstable on her legs when she was first out of the crate because she had been forced to lay down so long. Since potty breaks were short, it seemed sometimes that she was unstable on her legs the whole time she was out of the crate. Since your pup has only been on crate rest for a week, I don’t think that is enough time for her to lose significant muscle tone but it depends on how strong and active she was before. Her “weakness” could just be stiffness and instability from laying down so though. Anyway, I hope you get some answers from your vet quickly and find out if you need to do something about it.

      1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Jessica. I did talk to my vet and she basically said that this kind of problem can take over a month to start showing signs of improvement. I do notice that Schatzi seems to sometimes get better if I allow her to be out of the crate for maybe a little longer than I should, leading me to conclude that maybe it’s just the lack of activity that is contributing to the weakness. In any case, the vet said to stay the course, and I have an acupuncturist appointment for her in a couple of weeks that I am helping might also give her some relief. I’m happy at least that she doesn’t seem to be in pain.

  8. I have just started with my seven year old mini doxie Daisy on crate rest. What type of bed or pad do you recommend? I’m worried that she’ll be bogged down in soft bedding, but don’t want the surface to be too firm. She has injured her back.

    1. Hi Candace. I don’t exactly have a “this is perfect” recommendation. I just used Gretel’s regular bedding that is usually in there – a fleeced blanket and a WestPaw Design Heyday bed. I honestly didn’t give that part a second thought. If I had though, I probably would have got a thick but firm memory foam crate pad. Good luck with the crate rest. You can do it!

  9. Hi Jessica. My 12 year old chihuahua Leo is about a week into strict crate rest and medical management due to a diagnosis of IVDD. Your blog post has honestly made me feel a ton better about the process. I felt like a monster having him in there all day with the exception of potty time. I have even been hand feeding him in there. He was already used to his crate because we use it as his “home” and it’s we’re he goes to normally to relax. For a dog who has had free reign over our home for 12 years and who’s activities include jumping on the couch barking at anyone who comes by the house and chasing bunnies In the backyard, you can imagine how hard it is to see him in there all the time. We have developed a “routine” that has been going well for the past week. He is slowly responding to the medical management prescribed by the neurologist (steroid, methacarbanol, gabapentol) but I know we have a long road ahead of us, about another 6-7 weeks. He has a follow up visit on 9/22 to check his progress and a medication regime. Thank you again for this post, it really helps when you see you are not the only person dealing with something.

  10. Hi Christina. I’m sorry to hear about Leo. I know it can be very challenging to keep our babies confined to a crate for so long. Just know that you are 100% doing the right thing. It sounds like he was pretty used to his crate already so that will make it easier. I was actually surprised at how little Gretel fussed when she was on crate rest. As time went on I was able to take her out in her stroller for “walks”. I think that did more to help me feel better than her 🙂 Good luck!

  11. Hi Jessica. Thank you for this brilliant article. I found your website while looking for advice about crate rest. My 4 1/2 year old dachshund, Lettice, was diagnosed with IVDD yesterday. Thankfully, it’s at a very early stage – I’d noticed on Friday that she was struggling to get up a step that would normally have given her no trouble at all – and she didn’t jump up when the post lady arrived (normally inconceivable) plus she was a bit wobbly in her back legs. My vet referred her to a neurologist and, after a thorough consultation yesterday morning, we decided that conservative management would be the most sensible option at this stage. The neurologist said that Lettice should be in her crate for 4 weeks and that she should only come out on a lead 5 times a day for 3 minutes each time to go outside – no running, no steps, no excitement etc. I assumed that ‘strict crate rest’ literally meant that I couldn’t even get her out to sit next to me in the evenings or be in / on our bed. However, I was interested to read that Gretel seemed to be getting some time out of her crate. In your article, you mentioned sleeping with her – was she on / in your bed? I would love to have Lettice on the sofa next to me in the evenings and on our bed at night but I’m worried about doing anything against the advice. Did Gretel come out of her crate in the evenings to sit next to you? Was she on your lap or did you have her on a dog bed all the time? Any advice gratefully received!

    1. Hi Katherine. I’m sorry to hear about Lettice and glad you found my post. The task of strict crate rest can be overwhelming. I am not qualified to give veterinary advice, of course. I’ve found that each vet says something a little different about crate rest according to the way they like to see it done and the particular dog. Gretel’s condition was also minor. For us, there was no limit on time out of the crate but certainly a limit on movement. The crate is a way to totally control her environment. It was less “risky” than having her out of it and I didn’t have to give her my full attention. Also, during the first week I know that any movement is supposed to me minimal. After the first week, my vet said we could sit with her on the couch next to us or on our lap. They key was that she wan’t to squirm around a lot (which she normally doesn’t do – if she did then she would have to go back in the crate), that she wore her harness at all times when on the couch with us, and that we held onto it tightly so there was no chance of her jumping up quickly or down off of the couch. It was a similar situation in the bed. She normally sleeps with us and sleeps soundly through the night. She tolerated the crate during the day fine but absolutely would NOT have tolerated being separated from us at night. She wore her harness, her leash was attached to it, and I wrapped the leash around my leg or arm (made the leash just long enough so she could sleep comfortably and shift around a bit) so that she couldn’t jump down. That system took a little getting used to on my part but worked well for us. Good luck to you and Lettice!

      1. Thank you so much for your speedy reply and I really appreciate your comments. Everything you have said makes real sense. I know it will Lettice the world of good to have some time out in the evenings when she can sit with us quietly and snooze on the sofa rather than be in her crate all the time. Many thanks again for your response.

  12. Hi I have A 5 year old Doxie Called Rusty, This Past Saturday we noticed Rusty was Shaky and his belly was blowed it. We took him to the Vet and told us that his back may be affected by Ivdd on two to three vertebrate.. Then on the second day hi lost the use of his back legs getting him paralyzed from the belly down..The vet recomended surgery but we can’t afford to pay that big amount ..His on pain killers and anti flam tory medicine . He pee on himself and we r give him help also needs help to pee the rest but my main concern it’s for him to go poop . Since the incident this past Saturday he hasn’t go to poop and it’s wed..What can I Do? They double his dosage and I started to se him more awake.. but I still worried about him not going to Poop..His eating lightly..and lots of water..
    We love R dog so much it’s been a blessing to the family .. And This page give us hope to see Rusty back to the way he was…
    Right now his on the crane and we r planning on leaving him on the crane as much time necessary to see him improve..
    Thx you very Much and God Bless

    1. Hi Mario. I am sorry this is happening to you and Rusty. Many dogs who become paralyzed in the back end lose the ability to control their bladder or pooping and have to be expressed manually. I don’t know a lot about that (like how) but I can help point you in a positive direction. and are the best online resources for IVDD (what your pup has). I also highly recommend joining this Facebook group and asking your questions there: Good luck and hoping for the best.

  13. My 9 year old Demo was diagnosed with a bulging disc, prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain killer and permanently “grounded”. He has always used steps to get on couch but prefers to fly off. He is sleeping in his crate but walking to his bowl and out to pee. I am wondering if a dachshund specialist would have ordered more restricted crate rest with no walking at all??

    1. My understanding is, yes. After learning more about IVDD, I am shocked at the number of veterinarians that don’t tell people to put their dog on strict crate rest for at least 6 weeks. Gretel’s IVDD was mild but our vet was still very adamant about that. Sure, a dog can go back to “seeming fine” but there is no way the scar tissue is formed over the disk as it should be unless it’s been at least 5 weeks of little to no walking at all. If there is no scar tissue, the same disk can be an issue again. However, although the disk with scar tissue is almost never a problem again, that doesn’t prevent future injuries to other disks. I don’t know why veterinarians aren’t adamant about crate rest. I think many don’t know. Others are hesitant to recommend it because it is a challenging thing for a pet owner and many give up before they should anyway (so maybe they figure it’s futile?). Anyway, sorry about your pup and good luck no matter what you do.

  14. Thank you for this article! It gives me hope. I’m listening to my dog Molly wheeze-wimper in her crate right now and man, it sucks hard. I drug her crate (wire) into my bedroom but she can’t be on the bed now that her minor IVDD with just a very slight wobble from last week has escalated into strict crate rest and keeping up with drugs (pain med and anti-inflammatory). She hasn’t has surgery and I just flat out can’t afford it so I’m freaking out a bit.

    My vet told me to keep her in the crate (4 weeks, I’m planning on twice that) at night and while I’m out for the day but she’s fine to be on the couch as long as I am RIGHT THERE to make sure she’s not doing anything she wouldn’t be in the crate. Lay down, shift to a better position, eat the ham I pass to her, stay zonked out in comfort. And out for potty breaks of course, which are challenging since she has trouble posturing.

    Did you have Gretel out on the couch with you while she was on crate rest? I do still want to have time with Molly. And if the healthier option is to hang out on the floor and pet her in the crate I’ll do that, but the couch is normal routine for us.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Aimee. Sorry to hear about your pup. Yes, I had her on the couch with me as long as she was pretty much laying still. I kept her harness on her at all times and kept one hand on the harness. She also slept with us at night. I attached her leash to her harness and them wrapped it around my leg. The leash was pretty short so she couldn’t move around much but she didn’t mind. Good luck to you guys!

      1. Oh that’s a FANTASTIC idea! Molly is doing so much better already after several days in the crate and I don’t want to mess up her recovery but I miss having her in bed with me at night. Thank you for the idea and the reassurance about the couch.

  15. Hi Jessica, my dachshund Chloe is currently under strict crate rest and my family members would like to know if it is ok for Chloe to be come out and be carried to the couch and lay next to them (on a leash) for an hour or two each day. Is this ok and does it still qualify as strict crate rest? My thinking at first was no but it seems like it may be ok based on my readings above of your experiences with your dog? Perhaps as long as the dog is stationary and just laying there? We don’t really get visitors so she won’t dart for the door if someone knocks. She will however jump off the couch if not attended to. Anyway, curious as to your thoughts. And lastly, thank you for maintaining this website of information. It has been very, very informative and helpful as we go through this.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about Chloe. I would always ask your veterinarian about things like this. That being said, after the first two weeks of strict crate rest (Gretel in the cage at all times) she was allowed to sit on the couch with me in the evening. I was told to always have one hand on her harness so there was no way she could jump up quickly, or off the couch. She was allowed to sleep in bed with me at night too as long as I had her on a short leash that was attached to me (she’s not one to wiggle or get out of bed in the middle of the night so the risk was low). For me, it was a good way to keep some semblance of a normal routine. Good luck to you guys.

  16. My dog is 3 weeks into post surgery and has been able to walk since day 1. When should I start PT? His muscles are starting to atrophy and seems it would be good for him to walk.

    1. Hi Cindy. Only your veterinarian can determine the right time so please talk to yours. It depends on what the initial problem was and how well the disk is healing (being able to walk is not always a indicator of that).

      I used to be a Dachshund walker and a couple of the dogs I walked needed back surgery at one time or another. I’m trying to remember at what point in recovery they were able to start taking very short walks or working on recovery exercises. I think it was 3-5 weeks post surgery. It was a long time ago though so I may be remembering wrong.

    2. I see you left this comment last year, not in 2018. I’m very sorry that I missed it. I hope your pup healed up well 🙂

  17. Hi, and thanks for a great article. I’m here to underscore the critical importance of STRICT crate rest, and I agree that too many vets give it short shrift. My 8 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Jack, has struggled off and on with IVDD for years but his recent bout has been awful, and brought him close to euthanasia due to unmanageable pain. (Thankfully he has no paralysis). Anyway, we finally had surgery two weeks ago and that first week we got him home was amazing. He had zero pain, was back to being himself, had perfect posture, so guess what, we let him roam around the house. This resulted in one incident of jumping off of two stairs and another incident of getting so excited for a treat that he slipped on the hardwood floor and fell on his side! A few hours later he was in awful pain again and didn’t even want to get up. That pain lasted for four days and it was terrifying – after all he’s been through, our own lack of discipline might have just destroyed his chances. He is now on strict, and I mean STRICT, crate rest for at least three weeks. The vet took an x-ray yesterday and didn’t spot anything concerning, but I’m still very worried. He’s doing much better now, but we’ve also upped his steroid dosage. I worry that the pain will come back once we start tapering the steroids. Anyway, Jack seems perfectly content in the crate these days and isn’t trying to escape, almost like he knows better than his human owners.

    1. Thanks for sharing Mike. I’m sorry that you and Jack went through this. I hope that some people having doubts about the importance of crate rest read this so your experience provides help for people. I hope he recovers well from this episode.

  18. I too know the horror of a fully blown disc in a miniature Doxie. That was many, many years ago. I unfortunately had no choice back then but to put him down. It completely broke my heart. Low and behold I’m faced with my 25 lb. Chihuahua terrier mix that was diagnosed today with IVDD. My vet didn’t seem to elaborate too much on the severity of her condition, but from what I gathered it must be on the milder side of the scale. She did recommend 4 weeks of crate rest, or at least minimal as possible movement that would prohibit her from injuring herself. My dog is 10 years old. She’s never been crate trained but fortunately has always chosen ( or claimed) my tiny walk in closet as her “house”. She has only about enough room to get up and stretch, turn around and take 2 or 3 steps forward. I installed a gate at the door and she gets carried outside to do her business. She does do a limited amount of pacing to poop as I know of few dogs that can’t simply poop without this. I was told that I should try my best to simply curtail as much as I could, and NO STAIR STEPS. She is on Gabapentin 100mg, Novox (Rimadyl) 25mg for 15 days. I wasn’t given a follow up appointment but just to keep her calm and rested for the time period I mentioned. I’m going back tomorrow to see her and get get a better idea of just what level, and type of condition my dog has. Naturally when something like this occurs we read as much about it as we can. This is how I found your page. When my Dachshund had his problem (repeated jumping off furniture) we didn’t have the luxury of the internet to look for support or answers. This page is helpful for folks that have any kind of dog currently in this dreadful situation. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  19. My 4 year old baby had surgery Monday night for IVDD. He lost use of his back legs. He is not used to being in the kennel AT all except for short periods of time and he doesn’t understand. He cries and barks NO stop. I am using a sedative when it gets really bad and tramadol for pain. Any other suggestions. ??

    1. Hi Courtney. I’m sorry to hear about your baby. Unfortunately, my best suggestions are in this article. Gretel was used to being in a crate sometimes. She never was when we were home until she had to be on crate rest but she didn’t whine or cry. If she had, the only solution I am aware of would have been to give her a sedative or anti-anxiety medication. I have heard of some people setting up an x-pen for their dog. It still encloses them in a small space but there is no “roof” like in a crate. I guess I would also mention that Gretel had bad anxiety when we got her. I don’t know what kind of crate you’re using but Gretel stopped freaking out in the crate when I got her an open-wire one (vs a plastic one like you put cats in). Good luck to you guys!

  20. Hello Jessica,

    First off, great site! I’ve already found tons of useful information. Absolutely love all the pictures!!!! And your dogs are absolutely gorgeous!

    My little 8 lb miniature dachshund Sophie was just diagnosed with IVDD earlier today. She’s almost 6 years old. We’ve caught it early, as she’s just shown symptoms not even a week ago. Soph was prescribed tramadol and 3 weeks of strict crate rest (vet said only take her out to eat and go potty but I’m going to feed her in the crate) . I saw you mention 6-8 weeks crate rest; does the duration vary based on what “stage” of IVDD they are in? I mean if i did an extra 3-5 weeks of rest for Sophie, it would only be beneficial, right? Just a couple more questions: when you did take your beautiful Gretel out for her duty, how exactly did you handle that? Did you let her walk until she went or carry her around to different spots until she decided to go? Oh, and I’m curious how the Hemp Oil worked out for you…could you tell a difference? I’ve heard it is very good for pain as well as many other issues.

    I apologize in advance if you’ve answered these already. I’m trying to learn as much as possible about IVDD. Just trying to be very cautious yet diligent regarding this issue as I love my dog sooo much (don’t we all?!) and want to treat this issue the best I can. Sincerely grateful for you taking the time to read my post! God bless

    1. Hi Rocco. I’m sorry to hear about Sophie but happy to hear you are trying to educate yourself well about this condition.

      It’s my understanding that, no, the length of crate rest is not case-by-case dependent, at least not for the minimum needed for them to heal. Check out and They are great resources. It’s my understanding that it takes 5 weeks on strict crate rest, minimum, for a disk to heal properly. Unfortunately, not all veterinarians understand this or take the injury/condition seriously. Those that do will recommend a minimum of 6-weeks crate rest (an extra week “to be sure). That’s a minimum. Some dogs need longer to heal. Some dogs need 8-10 weeks. I was told 6 weeks minimum (and Gretel was the mildest stage possible to be detected) but I knew this and decided to go for 8 weeks to be sure. Waiting longer does not necessarily “hurt”. The longer the length, the more time for the disk to heal. That being said, if a dog doesn’t use their muscles for 8-10 weeks, it can lead to muscle atrophy. It’s important to start controlled rehab exercises either before they are done with crate rest or after (crate rest is designed to eliminate unpredictable, unsupervised movements that could re-injure them). Gretel saw a rehab vet through the healing process. We started laser treatments immediately and strengthening exercise sessions soon after. You can read about the exercises we did here: When we were not doing specific exercises though, she was to be in the crate.

      As for your other questions: When I took Gretel out to potty, I carried her to the grass and back. I then had her on a short leash so she couldn’t walk around much. I just waited until she went and then put her back in the crate. Gretel takes CBD Hemp oil. Honestly, the only difference I see in her is for her anxiety and restlessness. It helped take the edge off when she was in the crate. I used it in conjunction with other calming products too though. She’s a “tough” one when it comes to natural remedies. She always seems to need 2-3 times the dose at least to see any effect… if I even do at all. Some dogs do great with only a few drops of the oil. I continue to give it to her for the potential health benefits. As with most supplements (like glucosamine), you can’t visually tell if they are working – you just go off the study results and “faith” that it’s working for your dog too. We plan to be a lot more active this summer so my hope is that the CBD oil will help keep her pain-free.

      Good luck to you guys.

      1. Thank you so much for the response, I can’t tell you how much it means. I will definitely keep Sophie on crate rest for at least 6 weeks. I also received a pamphlet at the vet about laser treatments and am going to try that as well as looking into rehab exercises. Thanks so much for the links and providing great info on your site, too!

  21. I have a dachshund that just recently got IVDD. Before she got her surgery i seen her wag her a bit and also move her leg once or twice. She just got her surgery on her spine a week ago and from what I’m told she is still taking her meds but doesn’t feel deep pain and isn’t able to move her tail or her leg anymore. I’m really hoping that with crate rest she will recover and hopefully get to walk on all fours again. This really took a toll on me and I was depressed and still kind of feel it. I don’t want to put my dog down and won’t. She has no control over her bladder but still has control over her bowel. Reading all these comments are giving me slight hope. If anyone can help with any advice. Thanks!

    1. Hi Edgar. I understand the depression that comes with having this happen to your pup. It’s different for everyone but, personally, it was a loss of “the dream” – the life plans I had for us. I had to put a major adventure on hold indefinitely because I didn’t know if she would ever get better. Hopefully your baby fully recovers (mine did but she wasn’t bad enough to need surgery). It makes sense to me that surgery would likely “make things worse before they get better”. I know many Dachshunds who have had surgery (some dogs more than once) and made a full recovery after. Good luck to you guys!

    2. Hi Edgar,

      Was your dog able to recover his back legs and walk again?

      My dog just had surgery and we’re hoping he will walk again.


      1. Andre! Yes! Our dog is walking again. Although is not perfectly as she used to but she is walking nonetheless. The vet told us she had a 5% chance of ever walking again and with some at home therapy, and her survival instinct, she ended up walking again. We are so happy and relieved. The odds were against her. Please don’t give up on your dog, be strong and crate rest as long as the vet tells you to. It’s really hard because you’re going to want to take her out but believe me when I tell you that her rest is really important to her recovery. Good luck and I hope you reply with good news once she is back up and running.

        Best of luck! Keep hope!

  22. We just got our dog, Belle, spayed on Friday. Because I’m a sap for my dog, it seemed like she was getting better and we let her out of the crate before it had healed, and sure enough, she opened up a small part of her Stitches. After many tears (from mommy) and staples where her stitches were, we decided, along with the vet, to keep her in a crate about 23 hours a day for a week. While this is tough on me emotionally, I know it’s what’s best! She’s a 6 month old lab so she is full of energy. I promised her as soon as she’s free, we’re having an entire day dedicated to her; spa day, pupacinno, lots of walks and cuddles; whatever she wants!

    1. That’s a really fun idea. In all my discussions of crate rest for dogs, it’s almost always harder on the people than the pups. Hopefully Belle knows you are doing this for her own good. Hang in there!

  23. Hello Jessica,
    Thank you for your thoroughness of information. My Cavalier/Shih Tzu mix had a severely herniated disc that was pinching a nerve, he was losing the use of his right hind leg. After a couple of weeks of medication treatment and him worsening, I went to a neurologist and he determined surgery was needed. It was performed on April 13 and he is home now and doing much better. His leg is now fully functioning. He’s on strict xpen containment and I carry him out to potty and back. No walking, stairs, playing, or freedom to speak of. We do have standing exercises that are required, but luckily he has the perfect temperament to deal with this and is a perfect patient.
    This doesn’t stop me from worrying about him though. I lay with him daily in his xpen, I’ve ordered a stroller (which I never thought I would) to help us both get out. We’re lucky he’s doing so well but I worry about this ever happening again and how it will change his future lifestyle.
    Thank YOU so much for your tips. I’ve got the sign posted over the front doorbell and it’s already working. Reading about everyone’s experiences here helps too.
    Not one vet has mentioned IVDD and he’s seen at least 4 of them through this process. I will have to ask if that is what he’s experiencing or not. I wonder if it’s easily diagnosed?
    Thank you again!

    1. Hi Judy. I’m sorry to hear you and your pup are going through this but I’m happy to hear he is on the mend. It does sound like he could have IVDD. I think some vets don’t mention it because they don’t know about the disease – it’s not as common in other breeds as Dachshunds – and some don’t mention it because they don’t think mentioning it will change the prognosis or course of action. It’s my understanding that, if a dog (that is one of the breeds that can have the disease) has a disk problem between the ages of 4-7 and there was not an acute accident like a car wreck or fall, that is caused by IVDD. I’m not as familiar with the condition in non-Dachshund breeds though so I could be wrong. To me, it’s important to know whether it’s IVDD or not though so one can know how to properly address the issue. Good luck to you guys!

  24. Hi Jessica,
    You know he did actually have a fall on our hardwood floor on that hip, so possibly that’s why they determined it was from? Hard to say though he’ll be 5 in August, so he is within the age range too?

    Thanks again, I’ll ask when we go in for our recheck.

  25. thank you for this info! my Oliver had surgery sept 2014 (he was 8 yrs old) his back legs went paralyzed in just a few days. after surgery he recovered fully – walking (carefully) after a few weeks then running after just a few months – he has had a few “sore back” issues, but felt better after a few days. – till now
    Yesterday morning he yelped when i picked him up, but seemed fine for his walk..then flopped into bed as soon as we got home, and stayed there till last night, walking hunched and crying/shaking to go potty..then right back to bed. today no improvement, so i am guessing its his back again, but in a different spot, as his back legs are i need an x-ray? if i have all the meds and do crate rest, do i need to know exactly where the injury is? is it something that a doggy chiropractor could adjust “in” or just crate rest? hubby doesn’t want to put him thru surgery again, i know of a doggy chiropractor.. your thoughts?

    1. Hi Gail. So sorry you guys are going through this again. Whether an X-ray is needed or not is something you should discuss with your veterinarian. In Gretel’s case, this was her first episode and it was mild. We didn’t do X-rays since treatment would have been the same no matter which disk it was and we weren’t doing surgery. We didn’t do chiropractor treatments after the initial two weeks of crate rest but she did get cold laser and acupuncture treatments. Personally, I would be wary of going the chiropractor route without knowing what exactly was wrong via X-rays. Good luck.

  26. Hi I have a daushaund that just turned 5 and had her first ivdd surgery this February. I had noticed that she had a hunched back and walking slow so I took her immediately to the vet were we have been place on tramadole and a antiflamorty . I am worried again due to the first time she ended up having surgery however I didn’t follow the strict cage rest rule ( such a bad mom I know) however this time I am it’s just so hard and she moves around in her kennel which makes me worried can I let her move around and or should watch her more and more to make sure she doesn’t move at all

    1. Hi Corrie. I had a similar concern when Gretel was on crate rest. I asked our rehab vet and she said the minimal moving she did in the crate was ok. It’s not something that can be completely prevented. Sounds like you are doing the right thing. Good luck to you guys.

  27. So my dog has IVDD , she just had an MRI yesterday and I’m pullling out my hair just thinking about doing crate rest for 6 weeks!!! Oh, should mention that she is a Jack Russell, her name is Matia, and has been showing signs of something going wrong for 5 months. So, here’s my dilemma. Do I try:
    Chiropractor? Or crate rest first? She has done acupuncture, but that was done before knowing exactly where her disc issue was. We did some PT also, but neither of them seemed to help. I have read a lot of these posts and not sure if chiropractic approach has been successful. I hate taking advice from a chiropractors website, as who knows if what they are selling really worked. I read somewhere that using a chiropractor was one of the worst ways to go. I just don’t want to do surgery unless it’s our last option.
    Right now, with a slow, slow walk, she does perfect. I’ll call that first gear. Second gear she drags her toes and does a hippity hoppity with one leg, third gear she flat out hauls and her feet keep up perfectly. Sometime coming up small steps she bumps her chest, and sometimes she’s wobbly. When she does her doggie shake, her back legs seem rubbery. But she will lay on her back to scratch it and she moves side to side without issue.
    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    I, like everyone else, hate going through this. What’s your advice?

    1. Hi Pamela. Sorry this has happened to your dog. I assume you have taken Matia to the vet? Based on your description, it does sound like she us having an issue but I can’t say what or how bad (also because I am not a vet). If she is having a disk issue, and especially if crate rest was recommended, absolutely do the crate rest. Any treatments are meant be done IN ADDITION to crate rest, not instead of. I have heard from many people whose dogs had disk issues and some swear by chiropractic treatments. I didn’t do that with Gretel but did find cold laser treatments to be helpful. I didn’t see any noticeable improvement with acupuncture but it has worked wonders for me so I assume it was helping her.

      I know the thought of crate rest is hard. In life, we sometimes must to difficult things for the greater good. It helped me to stay dedicated to it knowing I was doing the absolute best thing for Gretel and without it I was actually going to hurt her in the long run. Instead of looking at the crate rest as punishment to either her or myself, I looked at it as committing to her health and being the best pet parent I could be.

  28. Matia has been seen by a neurologist who also contacts our local vet with all of the diagnosis. When I first took her to the neurologist, she did want us to keep Matia quiet…no jumping, no running, etc, but never specifically suggest total crate rest. Now that she has had the MRI, we know she has a herniated disc at T12 – T13 disc space resulting in compression on the spinal cord and nerve root. The neurologist is recommending a surgical decompression of the disc space via hemilaminectomy…..whatever that is. Guess I need to google that one! All I really read was surgery.
    I’m just thinking, after reading so many of these posts, that I should try the crate rest. What I don’t know is have I waited to long to try this? I will call her neurologist to find out answers to that…… once I did suggest a chiropractor, but she didn’t think that was a good idea….. maybe because she didn’t know exactly what was going on, and now since the MRI, she does. I’m not sure how long crate rest is required after surgery, but I’m assuming it’s 4 to 6 weeks as well.

    1. Pamela, I am sorry that I missed your second comment. Hopefully surgery went well and, as you probably found out, the mandatory crate rest after surgery went well. It’s been about 6 weeks since your last comment so I hope your pup is healed up.

  29. Hi Jessica, like many I found your website while liking up info on ivdd. Dipstick my 10 year old min dashhound was just diagnosed with ivdd 3 days ago. I’m thankful we caught is yearly as he is still able to move on his own. I had both the emergency vet and your own vet tell me he need crate rest restrict his walking to only potty time. Dipstick is a very active Dash hound but I’m also thankful he loves his sleep time. He Has never been crated before so so far I am thankful it hasn’t been that bad. He Just looks very sad and like he’s done something wrong. We do have another Dash hound she is 11 it’s just sad to see them separated because they are always so close to each other whether they’re on the couch together outside together it’s like they’re attached at the hip. But with having the another one if she see somebody walking by she starts to bark which makes him want to bark. So my question is I work three days a week out of the home can I bring dipstick with me and crate him at my work? I own a secondhand consignment store so there are a lot of people that do come in I will put a note on the door to ask that no one brings in another dog and not to disturb dipstick, but I’m just worried it might be to much for him and his rest time. I am his person. He seems to be much better with me around him all the time compared to leaving him at home with my daughter all day or my husband. Right now I do have 6 days off but I’m not sure what to do when o have to go back to work. Any suggestion will be helpful as I have found some peace of mind from reading your blogs and info on your site. Thank you for that.

    1. Hi Stacey. I’m sorry I missed your comment. I’ve been very sick the last couple of weeks.

      They key with crating is to make sure your dog does not get excited and jump around. It sounds like you can’t eliminate that so it would be about minimizing it. You are back to work by now so I assume you have tried bringing him to work. Did that work better for Dipstick?

  30. I’m so glad I came across your blog! Your 5 1/2 month old mini doxie, Ruth, just sustained a IVDD. It was very overwhelming to think that she would need to spend the next 30 days on create rest. Your comments and tips will help tremendously! It’s also good to know that we are on the right track and that she will be better. I love the short leash idea, when she’s healed, so she can have some freedom without the risk of jumping off the furniture. Our vet has told us she will never be able to go down steps or jump from furniture without the risk of further injury. This too was devastating and daunting to think about. It will be life changing for sure but I’m too, determined to make life the best it can be for our little girl.

    1. Hi Jill. I am sorry to hear about your pup. Unfortunately, a back injury that leads to an IVDD diagnosis does mean that life as you and Ruth know it will have to change. It might not be as drastic as you think though. Fro example, my hubby had two choices to keep Gretel from jumping off the couch. One was completely barricading the couch so she could not ever get up there again. She loves the couch though. Instead we bought the barricades (who sections of 3 foot dog barrier – like that kind that keeps them out of a room) and a ramp. We barricaded the whole couch except for one “hole” in the fencing where the ramp is. Now she can get on the couch but has no choice but to use the ramp to get up and down. It is a bit inconvenient (and a bit tacky looking) to always have a barricade around our couch but we would do anything to keep her safe. We also got rid of our bed frame and put our box spring and mattress right on the floor. She does jump off of that but it’s only about 18 inches. Her body is almost that long so she is really only jumping a few inches. Do know that no matter how careful you are, it could happen again. The degenerative nature of the disease means a dog could get a back injury just from jumping up fast from bed. Anyway, good luck to you guys. Glad you caught it early.

  31. Hi Jessica. I first came across your blog while researching non-surgical treatments for IVDD at 3:30 in the morning while I had my dog on her first night of crate rest. My 11 year old Daschund, Lucky, was just diagnosed with this back problem earlier that day. Her condition is more advanced and came on very quickly. From the time we got her as a puppy we’ve had to think outside the box in Lucky’s care. She was born without a tail, so her spine is shorter than normal dogs. When she was first born, her back legs were weak, and she couldn’t use them very well. By the time we got her at 8 weeks, she hopped like a bunny and she did not have control of her bladder and bowels. Each vet visit saw her back legs get stronger, but she never did get full control of her bowel and bladder. We became experts at how to express her bladder and help her move her bowels over the years and could have become rich if we had invested in the puppy pad stock market! We don’t have kids, so she is our furry daughter. As you can imagine, I was completely devastated when told we may have to make some “tough decisions” after several days on steroids. This all started Tuesday when I had taken her for a walk in the park and noticed that she was walking funny after jumping down from a curb. After taking a couple steps I saw that she was favoring one of her back legs so I stopped and called my husband to come and pick us up. I called the vet & initially made an appt for Saturday. Wednesday morning she seemed to be moving around better, so we thought she just pulled a muscle or something. We just let her take it easy and lay in her bed. However, when we returned home from a day at the lake, we found her laying beside the back door (where we always enter the house) completely unable to move or put weight on her back legs. She was just scooting her back legs underneath her while using her front legs to pull herself forward. We called the vet the next morning and took her in immediately. That’s when she was diagnosed. We can’t afford surgery, so I’ve been researching non-surgical treatments. Now that she’s been on steroids for a day and a half, she’s getting more energy (which I know is due to how well steroids make you feel, not that she is miraculously cured) and it’s a bit more challenging to get in her area to change her pads and clean her up. She wants to make sudden movements b/c she’s so happy to see us and to get out of her area. Your blog really helped in giving me ideas to help break up her crate time. I also read about your various exercises and massage techniques on another entry on your blog. Your blog makes me feel like I’m not alone in this, and I’m not as scared as I wait to see how much Lucky will recover.

    1. Hi Trish. It sounds like Lucky has had a challenging life but you’ve done the best for her that you could. The good news is that you have already overcome the most challenging part for some – learning to, and being comfortable with, expressing her bowels and urine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound to me like the vet has much hope for her regaining use of her legs. There will certainly be some challenging decisions to make but just know that it’s possible for her to live a pretty normal, happy life without use of her back legs. The biggest challenge I think is that you will have to express her manually but you’ve already been doing that. If she cannot walk, you can get or make her a wheeled cart for longer walks. There is also something called a drag bag you can put on her back legs so it makes sliding them against the floor easier and more comfortable. You may already know about these options but I wanted to mention them incase. I am sorry you guys are going through this and I hope for a good outcome.

  32. Thank you for this excellent article. My RoyRoy, a 5-1/2 year old doxie has just developed back trouble. Two trips to the ER in the last week. They perscribed bed rest for 6-8 weeks, crate when I’m out. He is crate trained, luckily, but hates being in there during the day. He happily sleeps there at night, but I created him when I went out this week and he p’d, poo’d and chewed his mattress up. He was the stud dog for a champion doxie breeder and I got him at 2. She told me that though they were all crate trained, he didn’t like to be crated during the day so she had a little bed for him. I tried crating him when first got him when I’d go out and he’d either break out of the crate or be destructive. He is on the sofa with me, but I have his harness on him and a baby gate propped up against the front so he can’t jump off. After reading this, I’m going to restrict his walking further, have been at least trying to get him to walk to the door before I pick him up to go out, but will start carrying him more. I’m sure I’ll be spending more time in your site and links in the days to come. Thank you!

    1. Hi Linda. I’m sorry your RoyRoy is going through this. When crate rest is prescribed, it means little or no movement. Of course a dog will shift around when laying down but they shouldn’t walk at all if you can help it. I carried Gretel every moment she wasn’t in her cage. HOWEVER, there are exceptions. Studies have shown that being sedentary for 6-8 weeks can weaken a dog’s muscle, which can actually hinder recover and not help it. Gretel was allowed to start short, 5 minute walks on leash a week or so after the strict crate rest started. We built up to more and more controlled exercise (walks and strengthening exercises – you can find those on my IVDD resource page under “Dachshund info”). But when we weren’t doing formal exercise, she was still to be on the strict crate rest. Good luck to you guys.

  33. Thanks for the tips – we have a toy Poodle with a herniated disc that is on bed rest. He’s very cligy and whines a lot in the cage so it’s tempting to wanrt to let him out but then again we don’t want to turn 4 weeks into 4 months of bed rest 🙂

    1. I get it. Leaving him in the crate is the best, safest thing but it can be stressful for both of you. Like I said, my rehab vet gave me permission to sit on the couch with Gretel as long as I always had a hand on her so she couldn’t get up. You have to be 110% vigilant about it though…. which is also a big commitment. It might be something you want to try for short periods though if your vet gives the ok.

  34. I’m glad I found this site. I had a doxie years ago with IVDD. Didn’t know about crate rest until his 3rd flare-up. He tolerated the crate better than I expected although it was still tough. My current doxie was just diagnosed a few days ago. He has not tolerated the crate, especially at night. He was whining and moving around in his cage a lot to get our attention. The vet said it would be better to keep him calm on the bed than restless in the crate. So we are trying that. It’s tough. I feel guilty for doing it but I couldn’t risk more damage from him climbing on the crate door in his attempt to beg us to let him on the bed. He never jumps off the bed but we still keep a harness on him. It’s day #3 of 56 days (8 weeks). I hope he gets healthier. His seems to be a milder case of IVDD than my other dog and I’m praying it remains that way. It’s in his neck unfortunately which is the hardest for healing due to how often they move their heads

    1. My rehab vet explained that the crate is just to create a controlled environment with minimal movement. If you can create that at night in your bed, then it’s not necessarily “bad” to not use the crate. You just have to be extra vigilant that there is no jumping or sudden movements.

      I knew a bulge or rupture in the neck was more serious/difficult but didn’t know why. That makes sense that it’s harder to heal. My thoughts are with you guys and I hope your pup heals completely.

  35. I need some advice. I have an 8 yr old Doberman Pinscher. I took him to the vet yday to have some lumps looked at…”fatty tumors.”
    I mentioned to the vet that I tried to turn him over inbed and he cried out in horrible pain. The next night he moved himself and cried out again. Before I took him to the vet I was checking all his lumps and tried to adjust him…My poor baby yelped again. He had the look of terror in his eyes and his back leg was shaking. I mentioned food and all was forgotten.
    When the vet ran his hand down his backbone adding pressure he got to the middle area and another hideous cry:(
    The Vet suspected this IVDD. Says he has seen it quite often. He wasn’t real concerned. My dog is in super shape and has no other issues at all… still has the beautiful prancing gait. He gave me anti inflammatories for the next ten days and told me to keep him crated if I can. No jumping on bed to sleep.

    So my Doberman literally sleeps with me every night “under” the blankets covered up. His crate is right next to my bed and sometimes he just goes in there cause he wants to. I don’t have a problem during the day when I am at work. He gets his Kong’s and bones and is happy. It’s when i come home. I took him to potty on his leash. It’s the sleeping arrangements. So I have piled stuff onto my bed. I have made a bed for me on the floor next to his kennel. He is out of his kennel and laying on a dog bed under a blanket. I am just wondering if this is going to be okay? Can he walk around the room? He won’t be jumping…he won’t be running.
    Or even in what seems to be a mild case will this do damage. He is crate bound all day then bedroom bound on the floor with me the rest of the night.

    I know no one is a vet but opinions from experience and knowledge can be just as valuable.

    Apologies for writing so much…

    1. I’m sorry you are going through this. Your Doberman sounds like my Dachshunds – sleeping under the covers. As for walking around, it sounds like me and your vet may have different opinions. Your vet seems pretty lax about the whole thing – “crate him if you can”. My Gretel had mild IVVD back issues like your dog and I took it very, very seriously. So my answer is no. Your dog should not walk around. In order for the disk to heal (scar tissue to form over the bulge), scar tissue must form over it. In order to scar tissue to form, your dog must remain as still as possible – hence, the crate. In addition, it takes a minimum of 5 weeks for that scar tissue to form. Once it does, your dog should not have another issue with that same disk (although he could with other disks). That means 5 weeks of strict crate rest. That being said, it has been found that, like people, staying completely sedentary for 5 weeks can do more harm than good. The muscles that support the spine can get weak. My vet gave us the go-ahead to start 5 minute on leash walks after two weeks of crate rest. When she wasn’t walking under controlled circumstances (on leash, no chance of getting spooked/nervous and jumping around), she was to be in her crate. We could increase the time every week until she was walking 30 minutes at the end of the 5 weeks. We also started treatments like cold laser, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. She obviously walked to and from those appointments. I used a crate in the car so she couldn’t move around.

      Regarding the sleeping arrangements, I think your setup is fine as long as he stays in the bed and doesn’t walk around. I’m guessing that is harder to prevent with a big dog than it is with a small one (I can control Gretel with one hand on her). I would keep a leash on him and not let him walk around the room. If he’s moving too much then, unfortunately, he should be kept in the crate.

      I hope that helps. Good luck to you guys.

  36. Hello:

    I have a 10 year old rat terrier – Walter – that has injured his back. Vet referred me to a holistic vet for chiropractic treatment or acupuncture or whatever. Can’t get in until April He hurt himself further yesterday morning – I was afraid he’d have not use of his back legs but he does – HOWEVER, I am deathly afraid to take him out of his crate – I know his backend is weak, but he isn’t incontinent so he needs to go out. Is it better to carry him out or use a towel to cradle his torso and see if he can maneuver himself? He will have two steps down (one out of house to deck and one off deck to patio) to get to a potty area – about 8″ each time. He is about #25 pounds, so can I do more harm lifting versus towel walking?

    1. Hi Laurie. I would carry him. That’s what my vet said to do with Gretel. If you have him maneuver himself, even if you are supporting part of his weight, it’s not a “controlled environment” so there is a chance he could twist wrong or fall. Definitely no stairs.

  37. Hi Jessica, Wonderful article! I wish I had seen this 8 weeks ago. My 11-year-old Chihuahua was diagnosed with IVDD in February. We had her on crate rest for 6 weeks (my vet only advised 4 weeks but after reading other articles online I opted to go longer). She has not seen a neurologist and has responded very well to the conservative treatment. Two weeks ago he suggested letting her have the run of the house. Since I was just then letting her out of her crate, I created a small area in our living room with a portable play yard. We did that for a week and she was quite happy to have that little bit of freedom. This week I have opened the gate and she can move around at will. It’s been 8 weeks since her injury. After reading this article, I feel like I might have let her out too early, in spite of my vet’s instructions and my extension of her crate time. She seems to be feeling great, looks and acts like her old self, but I am worried it’s too much too soon. My question (which led me to your page), is how do I keep her off the couch, which is what the ER vet theorized caused her injury. Right now I have it blocked off with the play yard but of course it looks ridiculous and I can’t imagine this is a long-term solution. She keeps eyeing it as if she’s trying to figure out how to get up there. I’m not sure I want to chance trying to teach her how to use stairs at this point. Any suggestions?

    1. 5-6 weeks is the minimum but you could always do more to be safe. That’s what I did. However, if you did the minimum, and she seems fine, she very likely is.

      My couch solution is the “ridiculous” one. One option is to find a way to deny her all access to the couch (unless you lift her up). You could just place a lot of pillows or items on it so there is no space for her. There are also some products you can buy that are supposed to deter pets. PetSafe makes an Electronic Pet Training Mat that emits a static pulse to deter your pet from the couch. I don’t recommend that myself because they could ignore the static, and would have to jump a few times to learn, but it’s an option. There are also a couple of other products you lay on your couch to deter them. As I said, I chose the “ridiculous” option. I’ve build a fence around my couch using free-standing pet gates. There is one gap in the gate where there is a pet ramp. That is their only option for getting on and off the couch. My hubby and I just move part of the gate when we want to sit on the couch. It does look ridiculous, and is a a bit annoying, but the alternative (another IVVD injury because of jumping) is more unpleasant.

  38. I must say that this has been the most helpful blog ever for me, so thank you so much! I have a 10 year old sheltie mix and I had no idea of either IVDD or crate rest. About a month and a half ago, I was walking her and she lunged (which she usually does) and I heard her yelp. She continued the walk, but I noticed she was slow. A week or so later, she began hiding under tables and arching her back, and then started knuckling her left paw. I took her into the vet the next morning and he prescribed Metacam for 10 days and crate rest. I felt terrible! How could I keep her in that crate? It took me a while to understand that this was for her own good and her only chance at getting better without further medical intervention. Then I found your blog and so much info online, and I am SO GRATEFUL! She is on week 3 of crate rest and is doing great. I let her out to potty on a leash and she is walking normally. I tell her to walk slowly and she listens. No steps, no jumping. I am letting her sniff around now that she’s on Week 3. I will keep her in for 6 weeks, and I now know it’s for the best! I am worried about what will come later–I’ll need a ramp for my bed, which is high. She LOVES jumping and jumps on and off the couch frequently. I’m thinking that whole area may just be off limits unless I can teach her how to use a ramp there. I’ve been letting her sleep by me in bed as she usually does. I don’t leash her, because she never jumps off the bed unless I get up, so as long as I’m on the bed (and keep her at arm’s length) she is OK. I wouldn’t advise this for everyone, but there is so little risk of her jumping that I feel OK doing this. I will try to teach her to use the ramp from the bed soon. Anyway, sorry for the long note, but I found so much useful information from the experience of others that I wanted to share. Perhaps someone will feel better. I am so relieved she is doing well now, and hope she continues. THANKS AGAIN for all the great info and being such a wonderful mom to your fur baby!

    1. Hi Ani. I’m sorry to hear about your pup but glad that crate rest got easier for you guys and you plan to stick with it. It really is for their own good and it’s usually harder on us than it is on them.

      As for the bed and couch, yes, ramps would be good. My hubby and I actually just put our mattress and boxspring on the floor. Now it’s not really a jump for Chester and Gretel – more like a step down – but I do try to lift them on and off the bed when I can. As for the couch, our solution works but isn’t practical for everyone. We didn’t want to prohibit them from the couch, nor risk that they might not use the ramp and jump off, so I used free-standing pet gates to fence the couch in. There is a gap with a ramp so that’s the only way on or off for them. We just move the fence if we want to sit on the couch and watch the dogs carefully so they don’t jump (we lift them off or guide them to use the ramp).

  39. Help! Our mini Dashshund has recently injured her back, and is now paralyzed from the waist down, the emergency vet center we took her to, has prescribed her muscle relaxers, pain meds, and steroids, we have been giving these meds around the clock, since yesterday after she saw her normal vet, who agreed with the meds, if not she immediately becomes restless, and in pain, but she is just to nauseaded, to eat or drink on her own, she is also suffering from diareah, and some blood around her sphincter due to excessive uncontrolled bowel movements, we have also learned how to express her bladder, but she just isn’t doing good we are currently crate resting her, but could use all and any recommendations please, we don’t want to give up on her, but we don’t want her to suffer!!’

    1. Hi Jeff. I’m sorry to hear you guys are going through this. I hope your pup is doing better now that it’s been a few days.

      It really sounds like you are doing all that you can right now if the vet didn’t recommend surgery. During the first week or so, strict crate rest and pain/inflammation management, is the most important thing. If she is not eating, it’s likely due to stress (and possibly pain) so I would talk to your vet about how she is doing and see if they think the pain medication should be increased. After a week or so, and if your vet says it’s ok, you could start incorporating alternative treatments like cold laser, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. That has been known to help many dogs recover from an IVDD episode, even if they initially weren’t able to walk.

      My thoughts are with you.

  40. Jessica, I am so grateful for this blog right now. Our 2.5 year old partial Doxie just went down with IVDD a few days ago and it went downhill fast. He had emergency surgery last night and showed some improvement this morning. We aren’t out of the woods yet but are hoping for the best.

    We do want to make sure he has the best chance for success. I bought him a crate the other day with extra bedding and diapers just in case. Unfortunately due to events in his past life (he was adopted by us) crates are not his friend. He does very well without a crate normally, but he’s a baby still so loves to run, jump and move around things he will need to not be doing. I read what you put above and cannot thank you enough for that advice (we will be taking it), but do you have any other advice for calming him when we do have to leave the home in his crate? We are so worried about leaving him and him trying to get our or destroy it (which he did do when we first adopted him). Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ashley. Crate rest can be hard when a dog is anxious in one. The reality is, sometimes you have to get medication from the vet that will keep them calm. If you haven’t already, you can try natural calming treats first. Hemp CBD dog treats and Vetriscience Composure work well for us (and we’ve tried a ton of natural ones that didn’t). I will note though, I have to give Gretel double the amount suggested on the package to calm her down. In some cases, I’ve had to give her three times. It’s generally not harmful to do that but just keep an eye on your pup for side affects if you do (the only thing would be “too groggy” or vomiting). Honestly though, going the vet-prescribed medication (like Trazadone or Xanex) would be cheaper. Him moving around to try and dig out of the crate or destroy it is just as bad as not crating him at all so you’ll need to make sure he stays calm somehow. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  41. Hello,

    My mini dachshund experienced herniated discs seven weeks ago. He became paralyzed in his back legs. We did not have the money for surgery so have had him on crate rest. He has not regained use of his back legs. Has had improvement in reflex movement and shakiness that he had in his front paw. I am beginning to think he may not recover mobility. He has one more week of crate rest than I am to let him “figure it out”. I have done PT for his back legs since the diagnosis to try and keep his muscles stronger and loose. He still needs to be expressed, but is able to have bowel movements on his own. Any experience with dachshunds that do not regain mobility. He is acting, looking, behaving, great. The vet said he looks fantastic and I can continue to go on like this if I want. I’m worried about his quality of life. It is breaking my heart. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Robin. I’m sorry your pup is not recovering as hoped. I know several Dachshunds who were full or partially paralyzed and went on to live a happy life with the help of a doggie wheelchair. They may have to wear diapers and/or continue to be expressed long-term though.

    2. Can anyone tell me how much the surgery is? My doxie was just put on crate rest and I am hoping it works. We got her on treatment before paralysis but she did have limited movement. Rimadyl is helping her for now.

      1. Hi Robin. Surgery can range from around $5,000 to $10,000 depending on where you live (cost of living and services in your area), the veterinarian, and how complicated the surgery is.

  42. I’m so glad I found this article. My mini dachshund Phoebe has a disc issue in her neck. We haven’t done an mri at this point as our vet is confident it’s a disc issue, but jot a serious one. He advised restricted movement and painkillers for several weeks. I took that to mean crate rest for 6 to 8 weeks. As Phoebe’s issue is minor, she is still mobile and peeing and pooping ok I started out with barricading her onto the couch (in lieu of a crate) and only taking her for thre ten minute on leash walks for going to the toilet per day. We did that for a couple of weeks, she also has a liver function issue so we had to stop the painkillers as they were making her ill. We lasted a few days before she cried out in pain shifting postiton one day. So back into a very low dose of the Metacam. We are now at the start of week 4 and she is still on the Metacam. We have been persisting with the three short toilet walks, but have also been allowing her to potter sound for a short time around the house or in the garden. Supervised of course and no stairs! Then today she yelled out again when shifting around on the couch. Boy do I feel terrible! I feel I’ve let her do too much and now she’s in pain again. My vet recommended tramadol alongside the Metacam form a while. We can’t get to the surgery for a few days so he said 1/8 of a paracetamol (Tylenol) would do instead. So now I’m fretting about that affecting her liver, plus that I’ve let her do too much and it’s all getting overwhelming 🙁 I’m wondering if I can salvage the three and a bit weeks of crate rest we have under our belts at this point or should we start again?

    I know this article is a couple of years old, but any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received.

    1. Hi Sarah. It sounds like your vet wasn’t very specific about the crate rest. That’s unfortunate. Since he didn’t explain how little Phoebe was to move, it makes sense that you didn’t know. Strict crate rest really means no movement at all if you can help it. We were allowed to start rehab before the 8 weeks ended but it was to be in a controlled environment under strict supervision. So it sounds like you never truly did start the crate rest. 5-6 weeks for the crate rest is actually the minimum with some needing more (were were told to do 8 with Gretel after reassessment at 6 weeks but we actually did 10 just to be on the safe side). If it were me, I would start the 6 weeks “all over”. That way Phoebe is getting the minimum period of crate rest and the other three weeks of restricted crate rest might just make a bonus to that. Of course, I’m no vet so you can run what I’m telling by yours if you have any more questions. Good luck to you guys.

      1. Hi Jessica,

        Thanks so much for your reply. You kind of confirmed what I was thinking myself, when the vet said restricted movement I asked what that meant and he said no running, jumping and no stairs. He didn’t seem to think Phoebe’s issue was serious and was quite vague. That kind of conflicted with my existing knowledge of neck and back issues. So I can away from the vets office confused.

        I am tempted to start the six weeks over again with the couch/crate scenario and only the three toilet walks – she needs to move around to toilet so she will have to have those. But I will admit my own mental health is starting to fray, no one tells you how stressful it is. I feel I can’t go out and I’ve spent three weeks confined with her!

        1. Sarah

          I have just posted a comment about my experience, almost a year ago, of the wonderful advice here on this website and how it helped us (in Scotland) with out Shih Tzu, Leo’s disc problem. Our vet was incredibly supportive of all we were doing but didn’t talk about crate rest at all. In fact he was talking about increasing Leo’s activity when his back legs then paralysed completely. We decided not to put him through an operation, although we feared the worst (others, quite rightly may decide an operation is the best thing). Because of the paralysis we then did full crate rest, using the advice here. Leo was fully supported by appropriate pain relief, first of all anti-inflammatory medication and then switching to steroids. All were reduced and removed as quickly as he showed signs of healing.

          Leo was fully recovered and off medication around 3-4 months later and now (aged 10) has no visible signs of any problem. I am really replying because you mentioned how stressful it all is and my husband and I found that, too. We were shocked at our reactions because of the stress and worry and I felt I had to explain to people that we have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, so not short of anything to worry about, but that any dog is quite definitely one of the family and anything wrong with them affects you strongly.

          So, make sure that you look after yourself too – that’s important! Unbelievably (I am sure to most people) we went ahead on a booked holiday towards the end of Leo’s crate rest and we discovered that the boarding kennels that we have always used were perfectly used to carrying dogs with disc problems out for toileting as well as giving medication and the usual pampering. So, Leo was ready for full recuperation when we got home: starting activity and weaning off the final medications. Also, our own failing backs (from carrying him out for toileting 4 times a day) had recovered as had our deteriorating mental health! We were actually in a better place to fully help Leo!

          I hope things have been going well for you and Phoebe.

          Sheena from Scotland

          1. Thanks for sharing your story Sheena. I’m smiling ear-to-ear reading about Leo’s great recovery. Also, thanks for sharing your advice for dealing with the stress of crate rest with Sarah.

  43. Finding you has been very relieving. I’ve been a nervous wreck for days after taking my 6 y/o Cardigan Corgi to the emergency vet on Tuesday evening. He started having muscle spasms right when I got home from work that day which I’ve never seen before. After going to the er, back home, and back to the er, the vet determined it has to be a back issue he’s dealing with, more than likely inflammation or a herniated disc. All his vitals are fine, blood work fine, still loves food and watches the TV. She said she didn’t feel like an mri was necessary so it must be mild for now. I’ve purchased a crate today, so that’s where he’ll stay for quite a while. He used to love his old crate so I don’t foresee this being an issue but I’m sure he’ll eventually get restless and I’ll just have to stay strong and find ways to occupy him. I’m definitely worried about him but I know this is the best thing for him. It’s hard not to read things online and not worry he’ll get worse which is why reading this post and all the great comments below has helped me feel somewhat relieved. I actually haven’t eaten in nearly two days because I’m so nervous for him. He’s on 3 types of medication so he’s definitely chilled out, but you can tell he wants to feel normal again because he’ll let out one random whine while he’s laying down. It’s heartbreaking as a pet owner.

    The meds have made his stool a little loose so I made him some chicken and rice, which he ate quickly so that should help that a little. He only dragged his foot one or twice when out to pee this morning but I’m sure he’s just stiff from laying down for two days. I’ll definitely keep an eye on him. Hopefully that won’t continue to occur. He did try to chase a car yesterday night so I know those back legs are working! I just have to try and time our potty breaks to avoid seeing other dogs or cars in our complex! Lol

    Hopefully he’ll be on the up and up. It’s such a bummer too because we just moved from Philly to Nashville so he’s already adjusting to that, now he has to adjust to being back in the crate! I know I’ll thank myself later, I just have to remind myself of that.

    Thanks again for your post!

    1. I’m sorry you hear you guys are dealing with this but glad that my blog post, and the comments here, gave you some support.

  44. I posted on your wonderful website around a year ago when my 9 years old Shih Tzu, Leo was first ill with NVDD here in Scotland. I wanted to say again how helpful your explanations about Gretal’s crate rest and recovery have been for us and I hope this has been a good year for you. I wonder if Leo’s story might offer some comfort to others going through this terrible time and wondering if there can be a good outcome. Yes, there definitely can. Leo is now 10 years old

    For Leo: he took around 4 months to come back to absolutely full health last year. That was from full paralysis of his back legs in late September 2017. We worked with a lovely vet locally and we chose not to have any back operation for Leo, or scans or X-rays as all would have involved stress and any operation seemed to offer similar recovery time, with extended crate rest and hard time for Leo. It was not all a financial decision as we could have, one way or another, found the money. Others will (quite rightly for them) choose differently and Gretal’s crate rest story will help them, too. Our Leo was given anti-inflammatory medication and strong pain relief (Gabapentin and Tramadol). Within a few days, the vet switched to steroids and they helped quite speedily. The vet monitored all medication and we reduced very gradually on all, as speedily as his healing happened. Leo’s crate rest and carrying out for toileting lasted about 7-8 weeks and he was generally ok with it (thanks to the medication, I think, which pretty well zonked him). We had no hesitation in taking him out of the cage to sit or lie with us, although I kept a lead on him to prevent jumping. I also had a portable crate that I would take into the garden (you call yard!) as he loves being outdoors. I also moved the crate to different places in the house as he would cry if left in a single spot all the time. We found it exhausting and the whole experience, of course, is terrifying and stressful! However, knowing that there may be a good outcome can be helpful, I think, instead of just expecting the worst.

    Leo was 10 years old in February 2018, so not a young dog and, possibly, now behaves like quite an elder dog in that he will now not walk very far (around 10 minutes or so each walk) although he much enjoys daily 4 short walks around the park and he still does have daily, short bouts of boisterous play and running with our younger dog (6 years old border terrier, Poppy). We gradually allowed the play to become more boisterous and, although we do worry, he enjoys it so much, we feel it’s important. We allow very short flights of stairs but no jumping up or down. We don’t allow him to jump on and off furniture, although he has managed a couple of jumps up onto the sofa and a couple of times climbed up long sets of stairs, when we have not been watching carefully enough. Finally, we have had to reduce his food quite noticeably as he will simply put on weight because he now gets so little running and walking exercise.

    So, whatever the future holds for all of us, we are very happy to have had the support and experience of this wonderful website that helped Leo to where he is now!

    1. Sorry, I typed NVDD instead of IVVD in my post about Leo in Scotland and so you will be wondering what NVDD is – it doesn’t exist – just a typing error!


    2. Yours is such a positive and hopeful story Sheena. I’ve heard from many people who were told my their vet that their paralyzed dog had to be put down if they weren’t going to do surgery. That makes me sad because they think they don’t have another option but, if they find me and/or my blog, I always share that I know of success stories with crate rest and medication alone. Stories like yours. I’m so glad life is back to a new normal for you guys. I wish you and Leo many more happy years together!

  45. How long did it take your dog to walk again? How long does it usually take?
    Our dog has IVDD surgery last week. He woke up not walking and we rushed him to the vet hospital and surgery was done immediately. We are doing the exercises and he has a great appetite. I’d just love to see him walk again.



    1. Hi Andre. It really varies per dog. Mine didn’t need the surgery but I know many, many who have. Some were able to walk again within a week, some it took a little longer, and some never regained all of their mobility back (but most were able to walk again). You just have to be patient, be observant of your dog, keep doing the things you are supposed to for recovery, and keep checking with your vet if you have any concerns. Good luck to you guys.

  46. Can you please contact me…..
    I have been taking as much as your advice as I can and have a few questions. My fur baby 5 yr old baby just got diagnosed with IVDD.. I am devastated.

  47. Thank you so much for this article. My sweet Husky doesn’t have the issues you mentioned to cause crate rest (and I hope he never will or never has), but he’s going to be getting the heartworm shot series over the next thirty days and has to be inactive for the first shot to work correctly, which means crate rest. Cooper is basically a giant energizer bunny when he’s not napping and I’m home so the advice you have here, I’m hoping it will be the trick to giving him some peace in his crate and giving me some peace of mind!

  48. Thank you for this information! My Morty had an acute IVDD episode last Thursday and was in surgery Saturday. He had lost almost all DPS. He came home Tuesday and is doing good. He’s wagging his tail, which I know he can still not have use of his legs and wag the ole drumstick, but that’s ok. I thought I would never see that wag again. He’s peeing on his own pretty good. I know he may never walk the same or walk at all and that’s ok too. He’s still our baby and we won’t love him any less. He is not a fan of the crate. He is crate trained but he would 100% rather be in your lap. He is really not happy about not sleeping in the bed with us but the past 2 nights have been pretty good. I really appreciate the tips on things to use to keep him calm that are more holistic. I also applaud your website name. I look forward to checking more of your stuff out! Happy hiking with Gretel and Chester!

    1. Thanks Christy. I’m sorry Morty (and you) are having to go through this. It’s no fun but it sounds like he is making progress, which is really good. I admire that you are willing to celebrate each of the little wins.

  49. Hi, my terrier (Shaylee) has narrowing in her disk (s). She is approximately 5 1\2. I rescued her 3 years ago. Her vet did a laser treatment and put her on 3 meds. She said to keep her confined but she could walk to get food and water and can go outside on a leash to go potty. This treatment plan is for 2 weeks. Towards the end of the first week, my son was suppose to be watching her while I showered. He went upstairs. She found a way to escape and went upstairs. That evening she struggled to get up from peeing. Her right leg wasn’t cooperating. The next day I noticed other leg has the same issues. It’s like she’s losing muscle loss. She can walk but getting up, down and squatting is a problem. It took 2 days for the vet to get back to me. She had the vet tech call and they recommend that take her to a neurologist. She also said i could meet with their therapist. The therapist said the same thing about my dog walking to get food and outside to potty. They referred a place but after looking at the reviews, makes me nervous to go there. I’m the type of person to spend hours and days researching. I’ve been researching all neurologists in an 1 1\2 hr drive and they all have not so great reviews. I’m contacting 2 of them tomorrow to make an appointment for a consultation. I’m hoping for the best. During this week, my son took her outside to go potty and she did a little hop out the door and yelped. Two days later she tried jumping up to my son. I’m trying to be super strict with her movement. I have posted signs all over my house to remind everyone that they need to be more diligent in doing their part to make sure she remains calm and doesn’t move. I stay by her side at all times. She is a very needy dog and is attached to my hip. She is a calm dog, more like a couch potato. I sit on a kids video chair on the ground to be next to her and I sleep on a low air mattress so she can be near me or on the mattress. I don’t shower until someone is home to watch her. I fear she may try to escape again. I’ve ordered a pen to help as she has never been in a crate. One problem i have is that she doesn’t like to be picked up. She wiggles and will try to get away from us, so I still walk her to go potty. My biggest fear is that she will need surgery that we can’t afford. I’m scared that she can become paralyzed. Today I never saw her go pee and that has me worried. I feel so defeated with all the incidents. I cry every day and night. Do you think she can recover from this without surgery? Btw 2 more days will be two weeks for this treatment plan she is on.

    1. Hi Lisa. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Yes, it is possible to avoid surgery, or heal without surgery, with 5-10 weeks of strict crate rest. It’s no guarantee because every dog is different but that is my #1 recommendation I have for keeping her healthy.

      I am not a vet but I find that many, many vets downplay the severity of the issue and the great need for a dog to be immobile to heal. However, I will note that their advice is 8 weeks of crate rest with no rehab until then but our rehab vet had us start hydrotherapy about about 3-4 weeks. The rest of the time, Gretel was to be on strict crate rest.

      As for the neurologist, again, I’m not your vet. If they recommend it, I’m not in a position to go against that. I will, however, say, it seems to mystery to me why she is continuing to have issues. You have pointed out several instances where she has a chance to re-injure herself or experience a setback in healing. I’m not confident that a neurologist will offer more advice than yes she has a problem and should have her movement restricted more. Perhaps one could give you some peace of mind about her current stage of injury and potential for surgery in the future (ie. can you avoid it). As for the negative reviews, that’s a tough one. I find that it’s the unhappy people that are most likely to write online reviews. However, when that is all you see, it can indeed be a problem. If it were me, I would probably try to find another even if it meant I had to drive a little longer. If there wasn’t one, then I would go to get a second opinion if nothing else.

      I do hear that she has never been in a crate so I understand it may cause her to stress out and move around too much in there. It’s great that you ordered a pen for her. The website l linked to above has information about setting up a “recovery suite” that is not just a crate. Some dogs handle that better. Also, like I pointed out in my article, we did let Gretel out of the crate for very limited amounts of time like to lay on the couch with us. I always had my hand on her though so I could keep her from moving around too much or jumping down.

      Good luck to you guys!

  50. Thank you so much for writing this article. As I type this, my Bichon Frise in undergoing surgery for a herniated disc. The neurologist already informed me that he will be put on crate rest for 4-12 weeks after surgery and I don’t know what to expect as he has not been crate trained. Your article was very informative and helped with my nerves for what’s lying ahead. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  51. really trying to email this great information over to my parents while Im out of town. I don’t see an option for that, and my dog is there with them paralyzed on Meloxicam. Please help me share this information

    1. Hi John. Simply click on the URL at the top of the page (in the navigation bar), right click your mouse, hit copy, paste that into an email and send it to them. If you are on mobile, your browser may have a way to share information. For me, on Chrome, I can share by clicking the 3 dogs in the upper right corner of the window and selecting “share” from the list that appears. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to personally email people information.

  52. Many thanks for the article and responses. We have an 8 yr old mini-dachshund who tore his ACL. Very concern about the surgery and even more concerned about the recovery. He is very high energy. We are hoping you can address some of our concerns.
    1. He is crate trained but he can stand and turn around in his crate. Will that be an issue during the 6-8 week crating for his recovery?
    2. We have a firm 2 inch think pillow in the crate, should we remove that because it is too soft and does not provide a stable base should he decide to stand or turn in the crate?
    3. With standing and walking needing to be kept to a minimum, should we pick him up and take him out of the crate for potty breaks or just take the crate outside and let him walk out of the crate himself?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated and thanks for the wonderful website.

    1. Hi Tim. I use a size larger crate for my Dachshund than you’re “supposed to” so she can also stand and move around in there pretty easily. I was concerned and asked our rehab vet about it and she said it was fine. You can’t keep a dog 100% immobile. Plus, she said the crating is to keep a dog from walking far, jumping, or accidentally falling off of something and re-injuring themselves. Personally, I would remove the pillow for the reason you mentioned. Obviously, the bedding should be comfortable but something firmer and flatter is probably more appropriate. Definitely carry him any time he is outside of the crate. Carry him out to go potty and put him on a leash so that he can only do the “potty shuffle” and do his business. Pick him up and put him back in the crate right after. I either carried my dog to the food/water disk or gave it to her in the crate. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

  53. Thank you for the idea of sleeping with the dog but attaching a leash to you so they don’t move much.
    My 9yr old Silky terrier has started limping on her right hind leg and the vet thinks could be a torn ACL but he instructed 2 weeks of crate rest and to see him again.
    Since I’m working from home, she’s not crated but just rests on a chair next to me in the home office, I was just thinking how to ensure she won’t move around at night.
    I appreciate this blog post so much.

  54. Hi! We have an 11-year old daschie who was recentrly diagnosed with IVDD. Unfortunately, he was never crate trained and suffers from separation anxiety, which is driving us all to insanity in my family. We keep him in the crate all day (except for the times he needs to go potty) and take turns sleeping on the floor with him at night. The vet said he had a stage 2 injury and prescribed mild painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, but after a week he was still in pain and shaking constantly, so we switched to prednisone and tramadol, but it’s been a week and he doesn’t seem to be getting better: he still cries out in pain three our four times a day while in the crate. We don’t know what we’re doing wrong. After reading your article, I’ll try to return him to his old routine (which we changed greatly), but other than that I’m at a loss. Acupuncture is something we’re considering, as well as a back brace as he seems to have some difficulty getting into position to go potty, but we can’t afford surgery.
    I guess I just wanted to vent, sorry. These past two weeks have been incredibly taxing.

    1. Hi Alex. You left this comment almost a month ago so I’m not sure if you found a solution. In regard to the continued pain, I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. Not all Dachshunds start to get better right away. Sometimes, you need to try several (more) medications before you find what gives relief. Also, unfortunately, sometimes the injury continues to get worse before it gets better so a higher dose of the medication may be needed. I understand how taxing the whole experience is and it’s normal to feel exhausted and like there is no end in sight. But it sounds like you’re doing all of the right things. I hope that the situation has improved by now.

  55. My dog keeps crying in the crate I’m not sure if it’s cause he’s in pain or he’s frustrated he can’t stand up or get out

    1. Jo Joanne. If your pup only cries in the crate, it’s most likely because he wants out. It’s very common behavior of Dachshunds who must stay in the crate most of the day. It’s usually either because they aren’t used to being in the crate or have separation anxiety (they can’t follow you around the house). Sticking with the crate rest of crucial to recovery though so you may want to consider talking to your vet about a sedative to relax your dog. Good luck.

  56. I’m so glad I found your website, it has help me so much. The vet I went to told me my dog had IVDD and her recommendations where pain and anti-inflammatory meds, And two weeks crate rest. My question is my dog just finished her first week of crate rest. This morning I opened the crate and before I could put her leash on she ran and jump on the couch, she yelped but seems fine and is having no pain. My heart felt like it jumped out of my chest when it happen. What damage do you think she did. She walks fine and she not in any pain, she so wants to play and run, so much energy. This is hard. I learned my lesson, leash before opening the crate door all the way. I have read a lot about this and crate rest is all over the place from 2 weeks to 2 months. I’m going with six week, she walks, acts fine and not in pain, only when she jumped that one time.

    1. Hi Mary. I can’t say for sure there was damage due to jumping out of the crate or how much. It’s certainly possible it could cause a setback or further degree of injury, but it could also be just a “tweak” that caused temporary pain. I left a harness on my Doxie 24-7 during recover so I could grab ahold of that at any moment and stop her from jumping or moving fast. A minimum of 6 weeks of crate rest is necessary for scar tissue to form and “repair” the disk so I think you are on the right track there. Beyond that, it can be hard to tell if more is needed without a reassessment by a veterinarian. Good luck to you.

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