During your dog's post-surgery recovery time, you have an important role to play in helping them fully recover. Attentive and diligent post-op care is essential to help your pooch return to their daily routine as soon as possible. Here, our Glendale vets offer some advice on how to care for your dog after surgery. 

Follow Your Vet's Post-Op Instructions

In the days following surgery, both you and your dog will probably be feeling somewhat stressed. However, understanding how to care for your canine companion while they settle in at home is critical to helping them return to their routine as soon as possible. 

Following your dog's procedure, you'll receive clear, detailed instructions from your vet about how to care for your pooch at home. Following these closely will be essential to a safe, successful recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps your vet has recommended, make sure to contact us to clarify. 

Even if you return home and realize you've forgotten how to complete a specific step your vet has instructed you to complete, you can call our office to ask questions. Depending on the procedure required, surgery will either be performed in-house or you'll be referred to a veterinary surgeon near Glendale. 

Whether our veterinarians have performed the procedure or referred you to a specialist, our team at Limehouse Veterinary Clinic is committed to providing your dog with attentive, high-quality care — and offering advice on post-op care and other at-home measures that may positively impact your dog's recovery. 

Effects of General Anesthetic 

Your vet has likely used a general anesthetic to keep your dog unconscious and prevent them from feeling pain during surgery. The effects of the anesthesia can take some time to wear off after the procedure. 

Feeding Your Dog After Surgery

You may notice your dog won't eat after surgery. Your pooch may refuse food due to anesthetic-induced nausea. To help bring your dog's appetite back, you might consider offering a half-size portion of a light meal, such as rice or chicken. Your dog may find this easier to digest than their regular store-bought food. 

Try not to be alarmed if your dog is not eating after surgery. Your pup's appetite should return within about 24 hours. At that point, you can gradually begin to reintroduce their normal food. If it's been more than 48 hours and your dog still won't eat after surgery, contact your veterinarian (or veterinary surgeon if you've been referred to one). Loss of appetite can point to infection. 

Managing Your Dog's Pain After Surgery 

Your veterinarian will take time to explain any medications or pain relievers they need to prescribe for your pet's post-surgical at-home care, so you can prevent infection and manage post-surgery pain or discomfort. 

The vet will brief you on the dose needed, how often the medication should be administered and how you can do so safely. To prevent unnecessary pain as your dog recovers and to eliminate risk of side effects, be sure to follow these instructions carefully. 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 trachea (windpipe) while receiving anesthesia, this may have caused mild irritation and a slight cough. A mild post-surgical cough will usually diminish over the next few days. Contact our hospital if coughing persists or worsens.

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 not need to take significant measures such as complete cage or crate rest to confine your dog. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, making essential trips for 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 pup 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 people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.

Do you have questions about your dog's upcoming surgical procedure? Contact us today. We are happy to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.