Dog Surgery Aftercare: Your Complete Guide

After your dog undergoes surgery, it’s crucial to provide proper aftercare to ensure a smooth recovery. While these tasks may seem overwhelming for a dog owner, this guide will answer your most frequently asked questions and provide you with valuable insights on what to expect during your dog’s recovery at home.

Should my dog be constipated after surgery?

It’s normal for your dog to experience a delay in their first bowel movement after surgery. Factors such as anesthesia drugs and surgical manipulation of the digestive tract can slow down gut movement. Additionally, fasting your dog before surgery may contribute to an initially empty gut.

Keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movements within the first 48 hours after discharge. If you don’t see any signs of a bowel movement or notice your dog straining or discomfort, consult your veterinarian for further guidance. They may suggest dietary changes, supplements, or even an examination if necessary.

Is it normal for my dog to leak urine after surgery?

Your dog should urinate normally after surgery. However, if your dog is in pain, they may be reluctant to move around and urinate as usual, leading to accidents in the house.

To help your dog, ensure their pain is adequately managed. Discuss a pain-management plan with your vet before bringing your dog home.

Other factors, such as the type of procedure, the surgery site, and hydration levels, can also affect your dog’s ability and willingness to urinate. If necessary, your vet may provide instructions on how to assist your dog in walking outside to urinate safely.

What if my dog is howling or straining to urinate after surgery?

If your dog is howling or straining to urinate after surgery, it could indicate pain, discomfort, or even a urinary blockage. Inability to urinate is a medical emergency, so it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care.

Is it normal for my dog to pee a lot after surgery?

It’s common for your dog to urinate more frequently in the first 24-48 hours after surgery if they received IV fluids during their hospital stay. This increase in urination should occur without difficulty, and their urine may appear more clear or normal in color.

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Certain drugs used during anesthesia and surgery can also cause a temporary increase in urination. However, if you notice a significant increase or decrease in urination, unusual complications, or other signs of illness, contact your vet.

What can I give my dog for pain after surgery?

Proper pain management is essential for your dog’s post-surgery recovery. Discuss a pain-management plan with your vet before taking your dog home. This plan may include medications to manage pain and inflammation, exercises to encourage mobility, and instructions for general activity restriction.

Remember, only use pain medications prescribed by your vet. Over-the-counter human pain medications can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, follow the guidelines provided in the surgical discharge instructions for optimal care.

What do I do if my dog is not eating after surgery?

Reduced appetite after surgery can have various causes, ranging from pain and medication to infection and stress. If your dog is not eating or eating minimal amounts, contact your vet for guidance. Inappetence lasting more than 12-24 hours may require a visit to the vet.

Ask your vet about feeding instructions, including when to start feeding your dog, the frequency and quantity of meals, and whether any dietary modifications or food softening is necessary.

Is it normal for my dog to be vomiting after surgery?

Vomiting is not normal after surgery and may indicate pain, medication side effects, infection, or other complications. If your dog vomits after surgery, contact your veterinarian for advice. If it’s after hours and your vet is closed, consider visiting an emergency clinic, especially if the vomiting persists.

Based on your dog’s condition, your vet may recommend a bland diet or further examination if abdominal surgery was performed.

What do I do if my dog’s stitches are coming out? When should my dog’s stitches be removed?

After surgery, your dog may have stitches that require removal. Stitches can be absorbable or nonabsorbable, and their removal depends on the type used and the healing progress.

Ask your vet about the expected removal date for your dog’s stitches, and request a demonstration on how to identify the surgical site. Monitor the stitches closely, and if you notice any signs of stitches coming out or loosening, contact your vet immediately for further instructions.

Is it bad for my dog to lick the incision site? Does my dog have to wear a cone?

Dogs are often sent home with cones after surgery to prevent them from licking the incision site. Proper use of the cone is crucial for your dog’s recovery. Make sure to keep the cone on your dog at all times, even during eating and sleeping, as removing it can lead to complications such as premature stitch removal or infection.

Consult your vet on how to properly place the cone on your dog. If your dog has access to the surgery site, it can result in reopening the incision or causing damage to tissues. Usually, the cone should be worn until the stitches are removed or the wounds are fully healed.

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What are the signs of infection?

While veterinarians take precautions to minimize the risk of surgical site infections, it’s important to know the signs to watch for at home. Infections can occur on the surface of the skin or deeper in the tissue.

Watch for signs such as lethargy, fever, refusal to eat, warm and painful incision sites, swelling, discharge, reluctance to move, vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of illness. If you suspect an infection, notify your vet immediately. They may recommend an examination and further diagnostic tests if needed.

Why is my dog shaking after surgery?

There are various reasons why your dog might shake after surgery. It could be due to pain, changes in body temperature, effects of medications, or underlying medical conditions. If your dog experiences prolonged shaking, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and possible adjustments to their medication.

My dog had a seizure after surgery. Is this normal?

Seizures in dogs are not expected after surgery and should be treated as a medical emergency. If your dog experiences a seizure that lasts more than three minutes, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

If your dog has a preexisting seizure disorder and takes anti-seizure medication, consult your vet regarding any necessary adjustments post-surgery. If your dog experiences a seizure for the first time after surgery, stay calm, prevent them from self-injury, keep track of the duration, and seek immediate veterinary care.

Possible causes of seizures include brain-related conditions, toxins, medications, and other diseases affecting the body.

My dog is panting/breathing heavily after surgery.

Persistent panting and heavy breathing are not normal after surgery and may indicate underlying issues. If you notice changes in your dog’s breathing, consult your vet right away. Labored breathing, low energy, or pale or bluish gums require immediate veterinary attention.

Possible causes of heavy breathing include medications, pain, stress, over-hydration, heart conditions, lung conditions, complications, trauma, infections, or diseases affecting other organ systems.

Why is my dog coughing after surgery?

Coughing after surgery can have various causes, and it’s essential to contact your vet if your dog is coughing. Possible reasons for coughing include intubation-related irritation, infection, kennel cough, inflammatory or allergic airway disease, parasites, specific conditions, or diseases affecting the heart or other systems.

If your dog’s cough worsens, breathing becomes difficult, energy decreases, or gums appear pale or bluish, seek immediate veterinary care.

My dog is depressed after surgery. What can I do?

It’s normal for dogs to feel a bit down after surgery due to the stress and recovery process. However, if your dog seems excessively lethargic or lacks energy, contact your vet for guidance. They may recommend bringing your dog in for reassessment.

During the immediate post-surgery period, your dog may want to sleep due to the effects of anesthesia and medication. However, they should still be responsive when roused. If you have concerns about your dog’s energy levels, appetite, or general well-being, consult your vet.

My dog has a runny nose after surgery. Why?

A runny nose after surgery can have various causes, some of which may be related to the procedure itself. Causes can include infection, irritation, allergies, surgical involvement of the nose or sinuses, dental procedures, overhydration, or respiratory and heart conditions.

Clear discharge may not be a major concern, but yellow, green, or blood-tinged discharge requires immediate veterinary attention, especially if accompanied by sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, lethargy, or refusal to eat.

It’s essential to monitor your dog’s overall condition and contact your vet when in doubt.

Remember, providing proper aftercare is key to your dog’s successful recovery. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your dog’s surgery aftercare, always consult your veterinarian for advice. For more information on pet care and services, visit Katten TrimSalon.

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