Your veterinarian may provide specific and essential instructions regarding care after surgery for your pet, but here are a few general guidelines that are useful when it comes to post-surgery pet care.
Following surgery, your veterinarian may suggest confining your dog for some time afterward in order to protect their surgical incision sites and ensure they don’t reopen themselves and cause further injury during recovery. Although this may be challenging for some pets, confinement can help ensure they won’t experience further trauma during their healing period.
Your veterinarian should have prescribed pain medications for your dog following surgery. They should only be used as directed and never shared between dogs (unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet). Over-the-counter human painkillers can be lethal or harmful if given incorrectly to dogs.
Most dogs will require wearing an Elizabethan collar (available in hard and soft versions) to prevent them from biting, chewing or scratching at their incision sites or bandage areas. While most animals will adjust quickly to this option, if yours has trouble with it talk with your veterinarian about other less obtrusive alternatives such as donut-shaped collars or post-surgery medical pet shirts that could provide effective preventative solutions.
If your pup is coughing after surgery, it could be caused by an anesthesia tube placed in their trachea during their procedure. Though coughs should subside over time, if they persist or worsen contact your vet immediately.
Your dog’s appetite may temporarily decrease after surgery due to general anesthesia; this should resolve within 24 hours. If they still aren’t eating, contact your veterinarian or veterinary surgeon as they may provide additional instructions.
As part of their recovery, it’s essential that you provide your dog with a peaceful place free of children or other pets where he/she can rest peacefully without feeling pressured by others or bandaged areas of his/her body. A comfortable and soft bed should be included to promote restfulness.
At times it can be helpful for your dog to relax by providing stimulating but calm games such as fetch or tug of war; switch the toy frequently in order to prevent boredom.
Dogs that have recently undergone surgery often become distressed by itching at the surgical site or being restricted from jumping and stretching as part of recovery, leading them to act out to get noticed or comforted by humans. Be patient while providing lots of love and reassurance – your pup will thank you later!