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Post surgery dog care: 15 tips

Post surgery dog care

Post surgery dog care tips

Post surgery dog care made easy with these 15 brilliant tips

Having surgery is not only stressful for the dog physically and emotionally, it very stressful for the guardian as well. Not only is the guardian waiting for the phone call to hear that their dog has woken up and the surgery went well, they are also worried about the post surgery dog care routine.

Even though your veterinarian will inform you of all the precautions which must be observed while your dog is recovering, here are 14 amazing tips to make your and your dogs life easy while he or she recovers from surgery.

Post surgery dog care tips for easy recovery

Post surgery dog care tips


Keep your pup confined


The primary part of the post surgery dog care process is to keep your dog’s movement restricted. Even the tiniest of surgeries take a toll on the dogs body. Hence it is imperative that the dog is given time to heal before he or she can go back to engaging in their regular activities. Confining the dog helps the tissue that was incised to heal nicely. 

If the dog is constantly engaging in strenuous activities it will not only delay the recovery process, it may also hurt the wound further and cause improper healing. Constant movement also increases the risk of post surgery infection.

Whether your dog must be confined or not depends on the type of surgery that the dog went through. In  case of spay, neuter or removal of a small benign tumor, three to seven days of activity restriction is enough for healing during the post surgery dog care. 

To speed up the healing process, it is best if the dog is confined to a small space. This space must be familiar to your dog. If you have a very energetic dog, it would be better to confined him or her in a crate or pen. 

In case the incision is at a region which undergoes regular rubbing (armpits) or is under a ton of tension (ankle or forearm), the restriction period needed may extend up to 2 weeks. This is to allow proper healing and prevent disturbance of the surgery region as much as possible in cases of major surgeries like hip surgery or bone surgery

To make the confinement comfortable, you can add your pup’s favorite stuffed toys, nice bedding and a blanket. Make sure that the crate or enclosure is big enough so that your dog can easily stand and turn around in a circle unless it is prohibited by the vet. 

Make sure that your pup receives all the medications on time


Antibiotics and pain killers are the most commonly prescribed medications for post surgery dog care. antibiotics prevent the incision site for getting infected while the pain killers keep the pain at bay. In case it is a small surgery, chances are that your dog may not require antibiotics since their might be little infection risk. However, pain medications must always be administered. 

You can also opt for home remedies to help reduce your dogs pain. However, before you decide to administer home remedies to your dog, have a discussion with your veterinarian about the same. Arnica oil is an amazing homeopathic over the counter drug to relieve pain and  inflammation. However, it should never be applied on open wounds or incisions. 

Keep the dog calm


To keep keep your dog calm after surgery you can opt for CBD treats. You can also use essential oils to relieve your dogs anxiety and help him or her relax. However, have a discussion with your vet about essential oils as well since some oils may be toxic to your dog.

 High energy dogs might even require calming treats like CBD or sedatives to help them rest as part of the post surgery dog care routine. 

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Check the incision for proper recovery

Dog guardians are not asked to clean the incision as part of post surgery dog care. However, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on the incision to be sure that it’s properly healing. Cover the incision when you take your dog outside so that it does not come in contact with dirt or germs. However, when at home, keep the incision open unless advised otherwise by your vet.

In case you notice that the incision looks crusty or dry, just clean the region with a towel soaked in luke warm water. Never use alcohol or peroxide to clean the incision as these products can cause delay in the healing process. 

If you notice that the incision is oozing pus, looks red and swollen or hard to touch, these might indicate that the incision is infected. In case you notice such symptoms, take your dog to the vet.


Keep your dog warm 

Since your dog was given  anesthesia for the surgery, the effect of anesthesia may last for a while even after your dog has woken up. One common side effect of anesthesia is that your dogs temperature sensors may not function right for one or two days. Hence, it is your responsible as part of the post surgery dog care to help your dog regulate his body temperature. Your dog may not be aware of his or her body temperature. Therefore, you must adjust him or her accordingly.


Keep your dog away from other animals or kids

Dogs become aggressive when they are in pain. The pain of the surgery and the disorientation due to anesthesia may make your dog irritable and he or she might lash out during the first two days post surgery. Hence, it is imperative that you keep your dog isolated from the kids and other pets as part of post surgery dog care. 

These symptoms are temporary and your dog will go back to being his or her sweet self on no time. In case their is a chance that your other dogs may try to play or roughhouse with the dog who was in surgery, keep the sick dog away from other dogs for a period of 10-14  days at least.

Related posts: How to calm an aggressive dog: 10 brilliant tips


Allow your dog to rest on the floor

A major part of post surgery dog care is to avoid any kind of exertion. If your dog tries to climb on the sofa or the bed, this will cause unnecessary exertion and may even reopen the stitches. Therefore, it is advised to have a resting place set up on the floor for your dog.

Even though the anesthesia wears off in a few days post surgery, the effects and the grogginess might still prevail. It may be hard for your dog to tackle the obstacles for a few days. Thus it is advised that your dog should be allowed to rest at a place which is not too far from the door as part of the post surgery dog care routine. 


Make sure your dog drinks water

Your dog may not realize that he or she is thirsty. However, it is very important that your dog stays properly hydrated as part of the post surgery dog care routine. Stay by your pup’s side when he or she drinks water. Sometimes dogs who are overly groggy may land up falling on the water and drowning. Offer your pup water every few hours so that he or she does not become dehydrated.


Give your dog a bland diet

Bland diet is easiest to digest and puts the least amount of pressure on the digestive system. Therefore, it is advised that you give your dog a diet of rice and chicken, no raw food, treats or commercial dog food. Do not force feed your dog. Let your dog eat on your own. Give your dog small amounts to eat, not the full meal during post surgery dog care. When your dog eats, it would be out of hunger and not for the flavor of the food

It has been observed that dogs might vomit and have nausea on the first day post surgery. This is another reason why you should give your dogs small quantity of meal as part of the post surgery dog care routine.

Related post: Upset stomach in dogs: causes, symptoms and remedies

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Take your dog outside every few hours


Dogs are pumped in IV fluids during the surgery to keep them hydrated. This will cause your dog to urinate more once he or she is it off anesthesia. Your dog may be disoriented and have accidents in case he or she is not provided regular opportunities to go outside as part of the post surgery dog care routine. 

There is also a chance that your pup may pee when sleeping. Therefore, make them sleep on something which would be easily washable. Alternatively,  you can put washable or waterproof material over the bedding so it can be cleaned easily.

Related post: Why do dogs drink their urine?

Stop your dog from licking his or her own wounds

If the surgery incision is located at a region where your dog can easily reach, there is a high chance that he or she will try to lick it. Thus, the cone. It is very important that post surgery dog care involves your dog wearing the cone. The cone should be worn most of the time to avoid having him or her lick the wounds. If the incision irritates your dog, he or she might even bite out the stitches. This would only take your dog two minutes to achieve. Therefore, the cone is mandatory.

Keep your dog on a short leash for two weeks post surgery


Do not let your dog jump, run or walk too fast. Your dog may try to run due to all the pent up energy that accumulated when the dog was recuperating in the hospital. Hence, keep the leash short and do not let your dog walk too fast or run during the post surgery dog care period. Even if they don’t understand it, it’s for their own benefit and a crucial part of post surgery dog care.

Keep the stitches dry 

Do not give your dog a bath for a period of two weeks post surgery. Their is a chance your vet may inform you about this. Keeping the stitches or the incision dry is the most important part of the post surgery dog care. In case it is raining outside, do not let your dog go out alone. cover the incision with a plastic so it won’t get wet. Try to keep your dog under umbrella when you go out or make him or her wear a raincoat.

Manage your dog’s emotional state

A very important part of post surgery dog care is keeping a close eye on your dog’s behavior. if your dog is barking excessively, restless, pacing, whining, painting too much, you must contact the veterinarian. These are the signs that your dog is under some kind of distress. 

When you are home, spend time with your dog. Show him or her that you are their with him or her. If you have to leave the house for a while, make sure your dog is in a room away from the other animals and kids. Put a relaxing music on or the television on at a low volume. Try not to be gone for too long. Taking care of your dog’s emotional state is as important as caring for his or her physical state in the post surgery dog care routine. 

Use a cold compress to reduce swelling

It is commonly observed that male dogs develop swelling of the scrotum post neutering. If you notice your male dog experiencing too much swelling, you can add a cold compress to your post surgery dog care routine. Apply the cold compress 4 times a day for 15 minutes per session. This must be done for two days and not more than that. 


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Following these 14 tips of post surgery dog care will allow you to prevent  90% of the complications observed after surgery. In case you notice something out of the ordinary, call your vet. Have your vets phone number at a place that easily accessible. 

Is their any other tip about post surgery dog care that you think others must be aware of? Mention them 
in the comment section. In case you have any questions about this blog post, any other blog post or about dog care in general, feel free to contact me on any of my social media channels or leave your queries in the comment section. I will be happy to help you out.

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Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for a dog to recover after surgery?

Recovery period depends on the type of surgery that the dog underwent. However, full recovery generally takes around 4 to 6 months. A complete recovery will require proper post surgery dog care and careful rehabilitation. Your vet will be able to tell you how long will it take your dog to be completely fine.

What can I give my dog to eat after surgery?

You can give your dog canned dog food or kibbles. You can also give your dog pumpkin or yoghurt. If your dog has had surgery of the digestive tract, you should give him or her chicken and rice bland diet.

Can I leave my dog alone after surgery?

Your dog needs time to heal. If your dog is resting well and is happy being left alone, you can leave your dog alone for a few hours. Just keep checking him or her once in a while. However, if your dog prefers to have you around and feels more comfortable in your presence, then it’s better that you stay with your dog.

Why is my dog panting after surgery?

Your dog might be panting due to pain. Pain causes dogs to breathe heavily or pant. Once the drugs which were administered to manage pain start to wear off, you may start to notice your dog starting to pant. Another cause behind dog panting could be because the anesthesia is wearing off.

Why is my dog smelling bad after surgery?

If your dog is smelling bad after surgery, it might be due to a possible infection of the incision site. If you notice this, it is best to call your vet, so that the course of treatment can be modified to help the wounds heal better.

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