How to Care for Your Dog After Surgery

After surgery, dogs are weak and need special care. Here you can find out how to deal with your dog that has just been operated on and what you need to bear in mind.

Many owners hardly recognize their own dog when they pick it up from the vet after an operation. The animal appears dazed, has an unsteady gait and, to make matters worse, wears a plastic collar that blocks its view. In addition, the dog is mostly shaved around the surgical scar and “naked” in places.

Here you can find out how to deal with your dog now, how long it has to recover and how to feed it properly after the operation.

How long does a dog have to rest after surgery?

How long a dog has to rest after an operation depends on the operation and the health of the dog. You can use the following guidelines as a guide:

  • Minor interventions (e.g. tartar removal): about two days only on a leash, then romp around freely again
  • Major interventions (e.g. castration): about ten days only on a leash, the dog is not allowed to jump during this time and must not be put under any strain
  • This information is not a fixed rule. Ask your vet how long your dog needs to recover after the procedure.

In general, as long as the surgical wound has not healed, the dog must be kept on a leash.

The ideal hospital bed for the dog after the surgery

When the dog that has just been operated on comes home, it needs a place to rest. This one should

  • be quiet.
  • warm the dog.
  • to be clean.
  • be at ground level (not elevated).

Be sure to prepare your dog a place to sleep on the floor, because after the anesthesia it will still move a little unsteadily and could fall off the sofa or bed and injure itself.

The sickbed should also be warm. Bed the dog on a thick layer of blankets or pillows. An infrared lamp provides additional warmth. But make sure that your dog doesn’t get too hot. It is best to spread a freshly washed sheet over his sick bed, because dog blankets contain a lot of hair that can irritate the wound.

Keep other animals away from your dog: they don’t understand that your dog can’t move as usual now. They could also lick the surgical scar and infect it.

Feeding the dog properly after the surgery

The animal patient is usually allowed to drink freshwater soon after the operation. When it comes to eating, the following generally applies: as soon as the animal can move in a coordinated manner again and makes an alert impression, it can eat. As long as the anesthetic is still effective, there is a risk that the animal will vomit after eating.

There are operations after which the animal is not allowed to eat anything for a long time. Therefore, ask your veterinarian when he recommends the first feeding. In some cases, he will also recommend a special diet to aid in recovery.

Pay attention to the urine and defecation of the dog that has just been operated on: if there are any problems, inform the veterinarian.

Caring for surgical wounds in dogs

You should examine the surgical scar once or twice a day. You should definitely notify the veterinarian in the following cases:

  • The wound smells bad.
  • Fluid leaks from the wound.
  • The wound is infected.

Be sure to leave the collar on for as long as the vet tells you to. Many dogs are bothered by the collar. It restricts the dog’s vision and freedom of movement. But it is important: this is the only way to keep the dog from gnawing or licking its surgical wound.

Dealing with the dog properly after the operation

A dog that has just had an operation is usually still a bit dazed, weak, and uncomfortable. But don’t feel sorry for him now. Otherwise, he will get the feeling that something is wrong and will feel even worse.

Cheer up your dog after surgery. Pet him, talk to him. For example, you can tell him how proud you are of him. A lot of encouragement can help the dog to get fit again.

Take note of the vet’s instructions

There are basic rules that you must follow when caring for your recently operated dog. Nevertheless, it is wisest to always ask the vet directly how the dog needs to be cared for in the near future. You should ask the following questions:

  • When can the dog drink and eat again?
  • What can he eat?
  • What medication is he taking and in what dosage?
  • What do I have to pay particular attention to in the next few days?
  • How much exercise can/should the dog have?

Write everything down so you don’t forget anything. If you are too excited, the vet will be happy to take care of it for you. Also, get an emergency phone number so you can get medical help outside of office hours.

If you follow all of these tips, your dog will recover quickly after the operation and will soon be able to start again.

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