After your pup has undergone surgery, you play a critical role in helping with their full and speedy recovery. Attentive post-operative care is critical to helping your dog to return to their daily routine as quickly as possible. Here, our Memphis vets share some tips for how to care for your dog after surgery.
Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions
In the days both before and after surgery, both you and your dog will likely be feeling some stress. However, knowing how you will be able to care for your dog after they settle back in at home will be key in helping to reduce this stress by getting them back to their normal routine as soon as possible.
After your dog's procedure, you will receive clear and detailed instructions from your vet about how to care for your dog at home. Following these instructions as closely as you can will be key to a safe and successful recovery. If you don't understand any of the steps that are recommended by your vet, don't hesitate to get in touch with your vet's office for more detail or another explanation.
Even if you arrive home and realize you’ve forgotten how to complete a specific step in your vet’s instructions, you can call our office to verify. Depending on the procedure required, the surgery will either be performed in-house or you’ll be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon near Memphis.
Whether our veterinarians perform the procedure or need to refer you to a specialist, our team at PetVax Complete Care Centers in Memphis is committed to providing your dog with attentive, high-quality care — and offering advice on at-home measures that can have a significant positive impact, such as post-op care.
Effects of General Anesthetic
For surgeries, your vet will likely use a general anesthetic to help to keep your dog unconscious and prevent them from experiencing pain during surgery. The effects of anesthesia may take some time to wear off after the procedure is performed though.
Feeding Your Dog After Surgery
It is possible that your dog won't eat after surgery. In addition to nausea, this is a common after-effect of the anesthetic. You might consider offering a half-size portion of a light meal such as chicken or rice. Your dog may find this easier to digest than their regular store-bought food.
Don't be worried if your dog doesn't have an appetite after their surgery, Their appetite should return within 24 hours of the procedure. During this time, you can start to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If it has been more than 48 hours and your dog still won't eat after their surgery, contact your veterinarian or vet surgeon. Sustained loss of appetite may be a sign of infection.
Managing Your Dog’s Pain After Surgery
Following surgery, your veterinarian will take time to explain any pain relievers or medications they need to prescribe for your pet so you can prevent infection and manage post-surgery discomfort or pain.
Your vet will brief you on the dosage required of any medications for your dog, as well as how often to provide your pet with their medication and how you can do so safely. It's important that you follow these instructions in order to prevent unnecessary pain as your dog recovers in addition to medication side effects. If you are unsure of any instructions, ask follow-up questions.
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.
A word of caution: Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. While medications for people help us feel better, they are dangerous for our dogs and other pets.
Set Up 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. 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
Have you noticed your dog shaking or coughing after surgery?
If your dog had a tube placed in their windpipe while receiving anesthesia, this may cause them mild irritation and a slight cough. If your dog has a mild cough after surgery, this should diminish over the next few days. Contact your vet if the coughing persists longer than this or grows worse.
Shaking after surgery is typically 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.
Restrict your Pet’s Movement
For a specified period after surgery, your vet may recommend limiting your dog’s movement and physical activity. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause incisions to reopen.
Depending on the surgery, you may need to take some significant measures like total crate rest to confine your dog and restrict their movement. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few weeks, only making essential trips outside for bathroom breaks.
With that being said, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping up on their favorite piece of furniture. To stop them from doing this, you may need to keep your dog in a safe and comfortable room in your house that is set up for their recovery.
If your dog happens to be recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as recovery progresses.
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 pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.