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How can I help my dog recover after surgery?

Ensuring a speedy recovery for your furry friend after surgery is of utmost importance. To help your beloved pooch get back to their energetic and playful self, our Turlock veterinarians have put together some helpful tips for post-surgery care. Keep reading to give your pup the best chance for a smooth and quick recovery.

Follow Your Vet's Post-Op Instructions

Bringing your furry friend home after surgery can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet. However, by being proactive and understanding the proper care techniques, you can help your pup bounce back to their normal routine in no time. 

Your veterinary team will provide you with a thorough set of post-operative instructions to follow. It's important to follow these guidelines closely, and if you have any doubts or confusion, don't hesitate to reach out for clarification. 

To make your pet's recovery process as smooth as possible, here are some key tips to keep in mind:

After-Effects of General Anesthetic

Ensuring your pet's comfort during veterinary surgical procedures is of utmost importance, and a general anesthetic is often necessary. Once the anesthetic is administered, your furry friend will be in a pain-free slumber during the procedure. After the surgery, it's normal for the anesthetic to take a bit of time to wear off, resulting in drowsiness and potentially some shaking. Don't worry, these side effects are temporary and should subside with rest. Additionally, it's common for pets to experience a temporary loss or decrease in appetite following the use of a general anesthetic. 

Feeding Your Dog After Surgery

After administering the general anesthesia, your furry friend may experience some nausea and loss of appetite. To help them recover, it's best to offer them a smaller serving of a simple meal such as chicken and rice, which is easier for their digestive system to handle.

In most cases, their appetite should return within 24 hours after the surgery. However, if it hasn't returned after 48 hours, reach out to your vet or veterinary surgeon as it could be a sign of pain or infection.

Managing Your Dog's Pain After Surgery

As your furry friend recovers from surgery, it is important to manage their pain to ensure a smooth and comfortable healing process. A skilled veterinarian will review the medications prescribed for your dog and provide clear instructions on administration, frequency, and dosage. Following the vet's recommendations is crucial to avoid any unnecessary pain or side effects during your pet's recovery. 

Your pet may need more than just pain relief. They may also need antibiotics to prevent infection. If your dog gets anxious, the vet may give them a calming medication. Don't give your pet human medicine, as it can be harmful. Always talk to the vet before giving your pet any new medication.

How to Keep Your Dog Comfortable When They Get Home

Post-surgery, it is crucial to provide your furry friend with a serene and cozy spot for recuperation, far from any distractions or disruptions from kids or other animals. A plush bed and ample space for stretching out can alleviate pressure on any areas that may be tender or covered in bandages, promoting a speedy and comfortable recovery.

If Your Dog is Coughing After Surgery

When your dog has surgery, they may need to have a tube inserted down their throat to help them breathe. This tube, called an endotracheal tube, can sometimes cause coughing. To help with this, your vet may give your dog medicine to reduce inflammation. Usually, the coughing goes away on its own after a week.

Restricting Your Pet's Movement

After your dog's surgery, your vet may suggest taking it easy for a while. Too much activity and jumping can slow down the healing process. While your pet may need to stay indoors for a few days, it doesn't have to be confined all the time. However, it may be best to keep them in a safe room when you can't watch them closely to prevent them from jumping on furniture or climbing stairs.

Helping Your Dog When Cage-Rest (Crate-Rest) is Necessary

While most surgeries do not require crate rest, orthopedic surgeries do often require strictly limiting your dog’s movements to help them recover well. If your vet recommends crate rest for your dog following surgery, there are ways to help your dog adjust to this strict confinement so that they become more comfortable with spending long periods in a crate.

Ensure that your dog's crate is large enough to allow your pup to stand up and turn around. If your dog requires a plastic cone or 'E-Collar' to prevent licking, you may need to purchase a larger crate for your dog to recover. You will also need to make sure that there is plenty of room for their food and water dishes, without risking spills that could cause your dog's bedding and bandages to become soiled and wet.

Your Pet's Stitches

Many vets now choose to place stitches on the inside of your dog's wound rather than the outside. Inside stitches dissolve as the incision heals. If your vet uses outside stitches or staples they will typically need to be removed by your vet around 10 - 14 days after surgery. Your vet will let you know which type of stitches were used to close your pet's incision.

Caring for Your Pet's Incision Site

It can be difficult to prevent your dog from biting, chewing, or scratching at its bandages or incision site. A plastic cone-shaped Elizabethan collar (available in hard and softer versions) is an effective way to prevent your dog from licking its wound.

Many dogs adjust to wearing a cone collar relatively quickly, but if your dog is struggling to get used to wearing a cone, there are other options available. Speak to your vet about effective and less cumbersome options such as donut-style collars, or post-op medical pet shirts.

Keep Your Pet's Bandages Dry

Keeping bandages dry at all times is another key element of helping your dog's incision heal quickly. Whenever your dog goes outside make sure that the bandages are covered with a plastic bag or cling wrap to protect them from the damp grass. Remove the plastic covering as soon as your pet comes back inside. Leaving the plastic over the bandage could cause sweat to collect under the bandage and lead to an infection.

Don't Skip Your Dog's Follow-Up Appointment

Your vet's follow-up appointment helps keep your pet healthy by checking for infections and making sure they are healing properly. This includes changing their bandages at the right time to avoid any problems. Trust the trained professionals at your pet's vet hospital to care for your furry friend.

Do you have concerns about your dog's recovery from a recent surgery? Please contact Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital today for advice.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

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