Your dog's post-operative recovery time is vitally important to ensure they get back to doing the things they love as quickly as possible. Attentive care is required and our Franklin vets are here to tell you what you can do to make this process as easy and stress-free as possible.
Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions
In the days before and after surgery, both you and your dog will likely be feeling some stress. Fear of the unknown plays a huge role so understanding how to care for your dog once they return home is an important part of easing your stress and getting them back to their normal routine.
After your dog's procedure, you will be given a clear and detailed set of instructions from your vet telling you how to care for your dog at home. Following these are essential for a safe, and successful recovery. If you don't understand any of the steps, make sure to get clarification.
Even if you arrive home and realize you’ve forgotten how to complete a specific step in your vet’s instructions, you can contact 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 Franklin.
Whether our veterinarians perform the procedure or need to refer you to a specialist, our team at Advanced Veterinary Care in Franklin 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 likely used a general anesthetic to keep your dog unconscious and prevent them from feeling pain during surgery. The effects of anesthesia take some time to wear off after the procedure is performed.
Feeding Your Dog After Surgery
Your pooch may temporarily lose their appetite following surgery as nausea is a common side effect of anesthesia. If your dog won't eat after surgery you can encourage your dog to eat by offering half-size portions of light meals like chicken or rice. These can be easier to digest than their regular food.
After their operation, your dog’s appetite should return within about 24 hours. You can then begin to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If it’s been more than 48 hours and your dog still not eating after surgery, contact your veterinarian (or vet surgeon if you’ve been referred to one). Loss of appetite can be a sign of infection.
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.
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 the risk of side effects, be sure to follow these instructions carefully. If you are unsure of any instructions, ask follow-up questions.
Sometimes dogs can be restless or anxious after surgery. If this is true for your pup, your vet may prescribe sedatives or anti-anxiety medications to help your dog stay calm during their healing process.
A word of caution: Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. While medications for people help us feel better, many are dangerous for our dogs and other pets.
Set Up a Quiet, Comfortable Space
Your dog will need a quiet area to rest and recover. It should have a comfortable bed with enough room to stretch out, away from noisy or busy parts of the household. This soft bed is important because it should prevent too much pressure on wounds and sensative parts of the 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 his or her 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.
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
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 a 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 pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.