After a dog undergoes surgery, its owners play a key role in helping them fully and safely recover. Diligent and attentive post-operative care is key to helping your dog return to its daily routine as quickly as it can. Our Marina del Rey vets share some tips for how to care for your dog after surgery.
Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions
In the days leading up to and following surgery, you and your dog will probably be feeling some stress. However, understanding how you should be caring for your canine companion after they settle in at home is key to making sure they can get back to their routine as soon as possible.
After your dog's procedure, your vet will provide you with clear and detailed instructions about how to care for your dog at home. Heeding these and complying with them will be critical to a safe and successful recovery. If you don't understand any of the steps recommended, make sure you clarify with your veterinarian.
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 Marina del Rey.
Whether our veterinarians perform the procedure or need to refer you to a specialist, our team at Shane Veterinary Medical Center in Marina del Rey 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
Your vet will probably use a general anesthetic to help keep your dog unconscious and to prevent them from experiencing any pain or discomfort during its dental surgery. The effects of anesthesia may take some time to wear off after the procedure has been performed.
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 its regular store-bought food.
Don't worry if your dog is not eating after surgery. Their appetite should return within a day. You can then start to gradually reintroduce their normal food to them. If it's been more than 48 hours and your dog still hasn't started eating, contact your vet surgeon or veterinarian. A sustained loss of appetite can signal an infection or other complications.
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 of medications your dog will require and how to administer them safely. To help your dog avoid unnecessary pain as they recover, be sure to follow your vet's instructions as closely as possible. If you aren't sure about any instructions you have received, don't hesitate to ask follow-up questions.
Some dogs may be a bit more high-strung or experience more anxiety about their condition after surgery than others. If this is the case for your canine companion, your vet may also prescribe them anti-anxiety medication or mild sedatives to help your dog 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 inserted into its trachea during its surgery to administer anesthesia, it may have some irritation and a slight cough as a result. A mild cough after surgery should dissipate after a few days. Contact your vet if the coughing gets worse or persists.
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 the movements and physical activity of your dog. Sudden stretching or jumping may disrupt their recovery and cause incisions to reopen.
Depending on the kind of surgery your dog requires, you may or may not need to take serious steps to confine your dog and limit their movement (like crate rest). Most dogs will be able to stay in for a few days with only quick and necessary bathroom breaks outdoors.
That said, you may find it difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture they like to nap on. To prevent him from doing this, if you are unable to provide direct supervision you may need to keep your dog in a safe, comfortable room of the house.
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.