After a dog has had surgery, their owners play an important role in helping them to recover. Attentive, diligent post-operative care is essential to helping your pooch return to their daily routine as quickly as possible. Our vets in Middlesex share 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 experiencing some stress. That said, knowing how to care for your pup after they're back at home is critical to ensuring they can return to their regular routine as soon as possible. 

Following your dog's surgery, your vet will give clear, detailed instructions regarding how to care for your dog at home. Reviewing these and complying with them will be critical to a safe, successful recovery. If you're unsure of any of the steps recommended, make sure to check in with your veterinarian. 

Even if you return home and realize you've forgotten how to complete a particular step in your vet's instructions, please call our office to verify. The surgery may either be performed in-house or you may be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon near Middlesex, depending on the procedure required. 

Whether our vets conduct the procedure or refer you to a specialist, our team at Bound Brook Veterinary Clinic in Middlesex is dedicated to providing your dog with high-quality, attentive care — and offering advice on at-home practices 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 their dental surgery. The effects of anesthesia may take some time to wear off after their 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 their 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 pup still  hasn't started eating, contact your vet surgeon or veterinarian. A sustained loss of appetite can signal an infection or other complication.

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.

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.

Does your dog need surgery to help correct a health issue? Contact our Middlesex veterinarians today to find out more about our surgical services.