After your dog undergoes surgery, you can play a crucial part in aiding their complete recovery. Giving your utmost attention and diligent care post-operation is vital for their swift return to regular activities. In this guide, our vets in Zeeland offer tips on caring for your dog following surgery.
Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions
In the days before and after surgery, both you and your dog will likely experience some stress. However, understanding how to care for your canine companion after they settle in at home is crucial for helping them return to their routine as quickly as possible.
After your dog's procedure, your vet will provide clear, detailed instructions on caring for your pup at home. Following these instructions is important to ensure a safe and successful recovery. If you have any questions or don't understand any of the recommended steps, be sure to ask for clarification.
If you find yourself at home and realize that you've forgotten how to complete a specific step in your vet's instructions, you can call our office for assistance. Depending on the procedure needed, the surgery will either be performed in-house, or you may be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon near Zeeland.
Whether our veterinarians handle the procedure or refer you to a specialist, the Zeeland veterinary team is dedicated to providing your dog with attentive, high-quality care. We are also here to offer advice on at-home measures, such as post-op care, that can have a significant positive impact.
Effects of General Anesthetic
Your vet probably used a general anesthetic to keep your dog unconscious and prevent them from feeling pain during the surgery. It may take some time for the effects of the anesthesia to wear off after the procedure.
Feeding Your Dog After Surgery
Your dog might temporarily lose its appetite following surgery, which is a common side effect of the anesthetic, along with nausea. To help with this, you can try offering your dog a smaller portion of a light meal, such as chicken or rice, which may be easier for them to digest compared to their regular store-bought food.
Usually, your dog's appetite should bounce back within approximately 24 hours after the operation. At that point, you can gradually reintroduce their usual food. However, if it has been more than 48 hours since the surgery and your dog still refuses to eat, it's advisable to get in touch with your veterinarian or the vet surgeon if you were referred to one. A lack of appetite could potentially indicate an infection.
Managing Your Dog's Pain After Surgery
After your pet undergoes surgery, your veterinarian will explain any pain relievers or medications necessary for your pet's well-being. This will help you prevent infections and manage any discomfort or pain following the surgery.
The vet will provide you with information about the proper dosage, the frequency of medication administration, and safe administration techniques. To ensure your dog's smooth recovery and to avoid potential side effects, make sure to adhere to these instructions carefully. If you have any uncertainties about the instructions, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
In some cases, dogs may experience post-surgery anxiety or heightened stress levels. If your dog falls into this category, your vet might also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to assist in keeping your pet calm during the healing process.
A vital note of caution: Never administer human medications to your dog without consulting your veterinarian first. While these medications may benefit humans, they can be dangerous to our canine companions 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 the coughing persists or worsens.
Typically, if a dog is shaking after surgery, this won't be due to a cold or pain but after-effects from 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
Your vet may advise limiting your dog's movement and physical activity for a specified period following surgery. Quick stretching or jumping can disrupt the healing process and lead to incision complications.
The extent of confinement required varies depending on the type of surgery. In most cases, you won't need to resort to a complete cage or crate setup. Typically, dogs can remain indoors for a few days and be taken outside for necessary bathroom breaks.
However, preventing your dog from going upstairs or jumping on their favorite furniture for a nap can be challenging. To deter such behavior when direct supervision isn't possible, consider keeping your pup in a secure and comfortable room within the house.
In the case of orthopedic surgery recovery, your dog may need confinement in a pen that is the size of a small laundry room or smaller. Over time, you can gradually increase their exercise as the recovery process advances.
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.