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Dogs Recovering from Surgery: Tips & Advice

Dogs Recovering from Surgery: Tips & Advice

As a pet parent, you will want to take the best care of your pup possible to help them recover post-surgery. Diligent post-op care will help your canine companion return to their normal selves as quickly as possible. Our Kinston vets share tips on how to care for your dog after surgery.

The Importance of Following Your Vet's Post-Op Instructions

The days leading up to and following surgery can be stressful for you and your dog. Understanding how to care for your furry friend after they settle in at home is critical to helping them get back to their normal selves.

Once surgery is complete and your pup is ready to be discharged, your vet will provide clear, detailed instructions about how to care for your dog at home. Following these instructions carefully is crucial to a healthy recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps recommended, don't hesitate to contact your vet's office right away. Your veterinary team will be happy to clarify or verify any detail you may have questions about.

Regardless of whether our vets performed your dog's procedure or referred you to a specialist, our team at Five Oaks Animal Hospital in Kinston is committed to providing your dog with attentive, high-quality care.

Effects of General Anesthetic

Your veterinarian will typically use a general anesthetic to put the dog under during surgery and prevent pain during and shortly after the procedure. The effects of anesthesia may take some time to wear off after the procedure is performed, leaving your dog a bit drowsy, slow-moving, or "spaced out." This is typical behavior shortly after surgery and should wear off after a few hours, depending on the intensity of the surgery and size of your dog.

Your Dog May Not Want to Eat Right Away

Dogs often refuse to eat right after surgery. Don't be alarmed. Lack of appetite and nausea are common after-effects of the anesthetic. You might consider offering a half-size portion of a light, bland meal such as chicken or rice. Your dog may find this easier to digest than their regular store-bought food. Your pup’s appetite should return within about 24 hours.

You can then move on to reintroducing their regular diet, unless otherwise instructed by the vet specifically (which is more common with stomach or intestinal surgery). If it’s been more than 48 hours and your dog still won’t eat, contact your veterinarian immediately as this could be a sign of infection.

Pain Management After Your Dog's Surgery

Post-op, your vet will explain any pain relievers or antibiotics prescribed to your pet so you can prevent infection and manage pain.

The vet will take the time to brief you on the dose required, how often the medication should be administered, and how to do so safely. To prevent unnecessary pain and lower the risk of side effects, be sure to follow these instructions carefully.

Some dogs may be high-strung or experience anxiety post-surgery. If this is the case for your pooch, your vet may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pet remain calm while they heal.

Note: Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. While medications for people help us feel better, they can be toxic to our dogs and other pets.

Create a Quiet, Comfortable Space

Your dog will need a quiet space to rest and recover. This spot should have a soft bed with room for them to spread out, away from the hustle of the rest of the household with food and water dishes nearby. This soft bed is important as it can help prevent undue pressure on bandaged or sensitive parts of your pet’s body.

Dog Shaking or Coughing After Surgery

Dogs that have had a tube placed in their trachea (windpipe) while receiving anesthesia, may have mild irritation leading to a slight cough after surgery. Mild coughing in dogs after surgery will usually diminish over the course of a few days. Contact our hospital if coughing persists or worsens.

If your dog is shaking after surgery it is likely to be an after-effect of anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, then hold them in your lap or sit next to them while speaking to them and giving lots of reassuring pets. The extra love and attention will help.

When & How to Restrict Your Pet’s Movement

Your vet may recommend limiting your pup's physical movement for a period of time post-op. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause sutures to rupture.

Depending on the surgery, you may not need to go as far as crate rest or confinement. When it is necessary, however, most dogs will be able to stay inside comfortably for a few days, making essential trips for bathroom breaks outdoors.

Our vets know that it can be challenging to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture they like to nap on. To prevent this, you may need to keep your pup in a safe, comfortable room of the house with nothing to jump up on.

Dogs recovering from orthopedic surgery may need to be confined to a smaller room or pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as recovery progresses. When in doubt, consult your vet!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your dog's condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Does your dog need surgery? Contact our skilled Kinston veterinarians. We are here to help your dog return to good health and normal activities as quickly as possible.

Always Welcoming New Patients

Five Oaks Animal Hospital is thrilled to be accepting new patients! Our qualified vets are passionate about the health of Kinston companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(252) 686-8601