Caring for your Dog Post-Op
It’s no secret that pet owners think dogs are just as much a part of the family as any two-legged human. This means that any medical procedure or surgery your dog has can be just as emotionally painful for you as it is physically painful for your pet.
Most dogs, at some time or another, will need to undergo a surgical procedure that will require a qualified vet and a safe, supportive home to heal in. If you’re currently in this position, here are some general tips on caring for your dog after surgery.
Confine Them To A Small Healing Space
No matter your dog’s age, it may feel inclined to jump and play (particularly if it’s a puppy), but just like humans, dogs need to rest in order to properly heal from any type of surgery. To promote rest, keep your pup in a confined space that limits activity.
Follow Directions on Medications
Your vet may prescribe your dog some pain medicine or antibiotics for after the surgery. This is common practice and will help keep your pet comfortable and healing properly. Still, prescription medications should always be taken according to doctor recommendations. Be sure to talk in-depth with your vet about dosage, frequency, and any side effects to look out for with medications.
Create A Calm And Comfortable Environment At Home
When you’re sick, you probably just want to lounge in bed surrounded by blankets and pillows. The same can be said for your dog. According to House Method, you should create a space for your dog that will keep them comfortable as they heal.
This might include a cosy dog bed, their favourite blanket, or a spot in front of the fireplace if it’s wintertime. Be sure to create a spot on the floor so your dog doesn’t have to jump up and down from the bed or couch.
Let Your Dog Sleep
Since you’ve created a cosy bed for your pet, let it sleep there. Just like humans, dogs’ bodies heal and regenerate as they sleep, so it’s important for them to get a lot of sleep as they recover from invasive surgery.
Let them sleep and be alone as much as possible and consider turning on a sound machine to drown out any household sounds that may wake them up and cause them to get excited (like the doorbell).
Feed Your Dog A Vet-Approved Diet
Your dog’s stomach may be in knots after surgery. Not only can anaesthesia and medicine cause an upset belly, but your dog likely feels a lot of stress post-procedure, especially if it had to stay at the vet for monitoring immediately after the surgery.
All of these things can make your dog sick, so it’s best to stick to a bland diet for a few days after surgery. Ask your vet for specific recommendations for food and be sure to serve it in small portions to avoid overeating and vomiting. Additionally, keep an eye on your dog’s fluid intake to ensure it does not get dehydrated.
Look For Any Signs Of Infection
If your dog had an incision during surgery, the wound has the potential to become infected. Even if there are no stitches involved, the wound needs time to heal properly.
Your dog will likely be sent home with a cone on its head to help keep it from licking the spot, but there are still outside germs that can cause problems. If at any point the wound looks crusty, has a yellow discharge, is red or swollen, or generally looks “not right,” call your vet to have your dog checked out.
Use Caution When Bathing
Depending on the surgery, your dog may have a lot of energy and manage to find a way to get into something dirty while it’s still healing. If this is the case (or something else happens and a bath is necessary), carefully determine the best method to bathe your dog. Whatever you do, don’t submerge your dog in the water and be very careful not to get any stitches wet. If at any point you’re in doubt, call the vet for advice. After a neuter or spay procedure, it’s typically recommended that dogs not be bathed for at least two weeks.
No matter what, the best thing you can do for your dog after a surgery is show it love and compassion. Let it know it's taken care of and give it a little extra attention because it’s likely uncomfortable and could use a little extra snuggling to help get back to normal.
About the author
Kay Carter is a writer who covers a variety of topics including health and wellness and home improvement.
When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, travelling, and practising photography.
❛ Hi there! My name is Kay Carter and I'm a recent graduate from UNC. I'm currently a freelance writer and love writing about all things real estate, health and wellness, and home improvement. So far, I've enjoyed reviewing household products, writing about making our homes healthier and more functional, and blogging about personal experiences.
When I'm not writing, you can find me reading (my goal this year is to read two books a month), practising photography, or travelling (I'm a BIG weekend traveller). I also love to journal and go to the gym whenever I can. In the meantime, please check back as I continue adding published writing pieces to my portfolio. If you're looking for a freelance writer, please feel free to reach out! ❜
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