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How to Apply Ice Packs for Dogs

Dog in clinic

What are the benefits of cold therapy (ice packs) and how should it be applied?

BENEFITS:

  • Reduces and helps control inflammation

  • Reduces muscle spasm

  • Promotes blood flow

  • With compression will help reduce edema/inflammation

  • Reduces pain

HOW DOES COLD THERAPY WORK/WHAT DOES IT DO?

  • Causes vasoconstriction

  • Reduces cellular metabolism

  • Decreases sensory and motor nerve conduction velocity

APPLICATION

  • Applied primarily in the first 72 hours post trauma for 10 to 15 minutes

  • Allow at least 2 hours between sessions to allow tissue to recover from the last icing

  • If you are using an ice pack with a plastic outer shell, place the pack in a pillow case to buffer the impact of the plastic against the skin.

Special Consideration:

  • If your dog has had a TPLO, do not wrap the ice pack around the inside of the knee when icing the knee. The metal plate is there and will quickly absorb the cold which will make your dog uncomfortable.

What are the benefits of heat therapy (hot packs) and how should it be applied?

  • Heat therapy induces muscle relaxation

  • Apply heat pack after the initial 72 hours post trauma for 10-15 minutes.

  • Allow at least 2 hours between heating sessions to allow tissue to recover.