Crate rest

Ex-pen is shown with panels folded back on themselves and wrapped around mattress. Enclose mattress in plastic trash bag, layer pee pad and fleece bottom sheet on top. Water and food bowls are attached at head height.
ex-pen used during conservative treatment

Use a tie, long scarf, ace bandage as a sling to keep a wobbly dog from falling over at potty time. No more collars, use a harness


Acupuncture sessions help with stimulation of nerves to heal and pain relief.

Type of crates: wire is the best. An ex-pen, baby crib, play pen, or pet stroller are alternatives. Limit space (2.5 x 1.5 times body length) with rolled up blankets if necessary. Just enough to stand up, turn around, and stretch legs out fully.

Rules: 100% STRICT crate rest for 8 weeks is a must during conservative treatment. Only out to pee/poop with a harness and 6 foot leash. Use a sling for a wobbly dog to keep rear end from falling over during potty breaks. You stand in one spot to limit walking. (NOTE: avoid a fulcrum effect on the spine by not lifting feet off the ground). Carry your dog to and from the potty place. No baths, laps, couches, or sleeping with you. Full details on setting up the recovery suite

  • Protect the memory foam or egg crate mattress. Enclose in a trash bag then layer pee pad under a fleece bottom sheet. No sewing - just cut with scissors, fleece is available at fabric shops.
  • Attach food/water bowl at head height inside crate so dog does not have to bend down. Especially important with cervical disc injury.
  • Keep crate in the midst of family activity – not isolated in another room.

Alternative treatments

  • Chiropractic manipulation in IVDD dogs is dangerous since it may promote further spinal cord injury.
  • Acupuncture or laser light therapy helps control pain and can lead to functional return of nerves controlling legs and bladder. It can be started at any time.