Dog Surgery – Post Care Tips

Dog surgery -post care is the most vital part of the entire procedure.  If something goes wrong while your best friend isn’t fully healed, there may be a set back that lasts far longer than you expected.  Additional intervention may even be required.

Of course the length of time and amount of restraint necessary when recovering from dog surgery depends entirely on the procedure that was performed.  A dog recovering from a debark procedure requires much less than a dog recovering from an abdominal or bone surgery.

7 Basic Tips For Post Care Dog Surgery

 1.  Always have an emergency contact number for your veterinarian or his after hours hospital affiliate.

2.  Fully understand the recommendations and follow up procedures determined by your vet.  Have them in writing so you can refer back to them.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Now, for the things that might get overlooked:

3.  After dog surgery do not expect your dog to eat normally.  He should continue to eat but his portions should be reduced.  Feed him more frequently but less than half the amount he is used to at each feeding.  He needs good nutrition to heal but not so much at once.  He is not active right now and can not metabolize his food quite like he is used to.

4.  After dog surgery make sure you are available to help him outside to relieve himself several times a day.  If he is recovering from orthopedic, bone, or joint surgery, make sure you have a sling to help support his weight if he is too big to carry out.

5.  No Stairs!  If your pet has dog surgery that involved abdominal or orthopedic manipulation you should carry the dog up and down the stairs.  He should not be allowed up on the couch or bed at this time either.  He could easily destroy the internal sutures or false ligaments that have been placed.

6.  Don’t overdo it.  We often want to help too much when our beloved pet comes home from the hospital after dog surgery.   A crate is a safe place after dog surgery to guarantee their activity is restricted.  Give them what they need when they need it, but otherwise back off.  The more you let them rest the better they will heal.  This is often the hardest part for most of us.

7. After dog surgery have an Elizabethan Collar (cone) at home for when you can’t watch him.  Do not allow any possibility that he will chew on or remove sutures, bandages or splints.  He could create a major problem for himself and an expensive one for you.  He may have to go through anesthesia and surgery to repair damage.  Put the collar on him anytime you aren’t right there.  Through the night is a must.  There are many different kinds of collars. Some are clear, some have snaps or velcro, and some are more like giant stiff wrist bands instead of lamp shades.   Find what works best but have one available. A collar is very important, no matter what kind of dog surgery your pet has had done.

Post Care Tips For Common Dog Surgery

 *Eye surgery – Make sure you limit the time they spend in the light.  Brief outside visits are best and rooms with low light conditions should be maintain for several days while they heal.  The eyes have to work much harder in bright light.

*Spay or Abdominal Surgery – Keep her inside and quiet.  She may not require a crate but she should be kept in where it is clean and she can be restful.  She should have a comfortable place where you can watch her closely.  If she won’t settle down well she may need to be in a crate for the first few days if her surgery was more than just a juvenile spay procedure.  She should not go for a walk or play for at least a week.  Reduce her food intake per meal and offer her more frequent smaller meals.  For example, feed her 1/3 of her normal food, but offer it three times a day instead of once.

*Neuter – Keep him inside and quiet.  You often can barely tell he’s had dog surgery at all.  At least he won’t act like it to watch him but you should still keep him from too much activity.  Keep him in a clean environment and away from his stitches.  He will really want to wash the area because it feels odd and uncomfortable.  He can do a lot of damage if he ruptures sutures inside or out. If he pulls on himself he may pull a stitch and find his scrotum filling with blood.  Another surgery.  Keep an E-collar on him if he won’t leave the area alone.  This simple procedure can get much more complicated if he decides to ‘help’ the process along.

*Cancer Surgery Healing after a cancer surgery can be a problem.  Dogs often don’t heal like we expect they will as the tissue and cells are compromised and unhealthy.  Keep him inside and quiet for the first few days.  Watch any bandages and suture lines for weeping, oozing and sloughing.  Sutured areas involving unhealthy tissue can tend to pull and fall away before it has healed.  Feed him often.  Recovering from cancer takes a lot of fight and a lot of good nutrition.  You may even check into a special diet for him at this point.

*Bone or Joint Surgery – Keep him confined.  A crate is the best place as long as it is big enough to accommodate whatever apparatus he comes home with.  He should be restricted as per the vets recommendation.  No exceptions.  You should either carry him out if it is more than a few steps or if he is too big to lift, invest in a harness or use an old towel as a sling to help take weight off the recovering structure.  After dog surgery  you pet will need a lot of help and patience if you have stairs.

Check the surgical area several times a day to make sure there is no swelling. Redness beyond what it was when he came home, heat, oozing, or weeping after the first 24 hours.  If there is a splint or bandage you should smell it to make sure there is no dead tissue smell.  A splint can often rub in one area and create sores and lesions.  Be aware of these.  They are painful and take a long time to heal.  A cast MUST be kept dry at ALL times!  A wet splint can lead to tissue damage and gangrene.  Special boots are available to aid in keeping splints free of moisture.

De-barking – While you probably don’t have to make too many modifications to your pup’s activity and you may be surprised how lively he is, you will have to be careful with how you feed him for a few days.  His throat will take several days to heal, similar to having ones tonsils out.  You might offer him cold or ice water if he will drink it, instead of room temperature.  Do not feed kibble for a few days after dog surgery.  If  you do be sure to soak it in water for a while until it is soft and won’t scratch.  The first day or two it is even advisable to offer something as smooth as baby food from a jar, or pureed meal of some kind.  He needs his nutrition, but getting it down will be uncomfortable for a while.

Any household with dogs should have a few first aid items on hand at all times.  It is a good idea to keep gauze pads and dilute betadine on hand at all times when you have pets.  These are some of the best things to have around for incidental injuries and post surgery care.  If you don’t have the time to compile your own first aid kit, you can purchase one for a few well spent bucks.  Be proactive with your best friend.  You’re his best advocate!

About The Author

This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice.

Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.

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