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How to Help Your Dog Recover After Surgery

After a dog comes out of surgery, their owners have an important role to play in helping them to safely and fully recover. Diligent and attentive post-operative care is critical to helping your pooch return to their daily routine as quickly as possible. Our Rancho Cucamonga vets share some tips for how to care for your dog after surgery.

Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions

In the days before and after surgery, you and your dog will likely be feeling at least somewhat stressed. However, understanding what you can do to care for your furry friend after they settle in at home is essential to ensuring they return to their regular routine as soon as possible. 

After your pooch's procedure, your vet will give clear, detailed instructions regarding how to care for your dog at home. Following these and complying with them will be key to a safe, successful recovery. If you need clarification on any of the recommended steps, check in with your veterinarian. 

Even if you realize you've forgotten how to complete a specific step in your vet's instructions after you return home, feel free to call our office to verify. The surgery will either be performed in-house or you'll be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon near Rancho Cucamonga, depending on the procedure required. 

Whether our veterinarians need to refer you to a specialist or perform the procedure at our veterinary hospital, our team in Rancho Cucamonga is committed to providing attentive, high-quality care to your dog—and recommending at-home measures that can positively impact their recovery, such as post-op care. 

Effects of General Anesthetic

Your vet will likely use a general anesthetic to render your dog unconscious and to keep them from experiencing any discomfort or pain during their surgery. The effects of anesthesia can take some time to wear off after their procedure. 

Feeding Your Dog After Surgery

Sometimes, dogs won't eat after surgery. Lack of appetite is a common after-effect of anesthetic, along with nausea. You might consider offering a half-size portion of a light meal such as rice or chicken to your pup. Your dog may find this more easily digestible than their regular store-bought food. 

Don't be too concerned if your dog is not eating after surgery—their appetite should return within 24 hours. You'll then be able to gradually start re-introducing their normal food. If it's been more than 48 hours and your dog still hasn't started eating, contact your veterinarian or vet surgeon. A sustained loss of appetite can point to infection or other post-surgical 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 pup will require and how to administer it 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 with an anti-anxiety medication or mild sedatives to help your pupo 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 their trachea during their surgery to administer anesthesia, they 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 of time 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 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.

Does your dog need surgery to help correct a health issue? Contact our Rancho Cucamonga animal hospital to learn more about our veterinary surgical services and commitment to excellent care.

New Patients Welcome

Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rancho Cucamonga companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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