Your dog going under surgery can be a difficult time for you. Moreover, 1 out of 2,000 dogs die under the effects of anesthesia. So, that is reason enough to feel jittery. But it does not all end when the surgery is over.
The next big hurdle is recovery, returning your pet to his or her old self. This can be a complicated process, especially if it’s a major surgery or if there are complications involved.
The good news is that you have many resources to help you through this challenging period, including fellow pet parents and veterinarians. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about caring for your dog after surgery. This will help you both have a smooth road to recovery.
Preparing for Post-Surgery Care
Knowing what to expect is essential before you head to the vet’s office. Here are some things you can do in preparation for post-surgery care:
- Prepare your dog’s home environment by removing breakable items and arranging furniture so that it’s easy for them to get around.
- Schedule time off work to spend time with your pet and make him or her feel happy and comforted.
- Ensure their crate or kennel is clean and has food and water available during recovery time. Crates and kennels are a must-have for your dog’s comfort and hygiene. Hence, their demand is the highest in the global pet products industry, with revenue up by 74% from 2021 to 2022. You can use Kongs with peanut butter or yogurt inside as an edible distraction while they’re confined.
Post-Surgery Care Instructions
Here are some tips that can help you with post-surgery care:
- Keep your dog quiet. If you’re the only one who can take care of your dog, it’s essential to keep an eye on them. Make sure they don’t overexert themselves after surgery. Keeping a leash on them will help prevent them from running around or jumping off furniture. This could cause damage to their stitches.
- Crate-train if possible. A crate is ideal for keeping a post-surgery dog contained while providing comfort with its familiar surroundings. If this isn’t possible, try placing blankets over chairs so there will always be something soft below their rear end.
- Keep indoors until healed enough for outside playtime again. Then proceed cautiously when letting your pet roam free outside again since grasses may get stuck between stitches during recovery. Also, avoid carpets or rugs until the healing process is complete because they could easily snag onto any exposed areas.
After surgery, your dog’s wounds need to be cleaned daily. This will help prevent infection and keep the wound healthy. You can use a sterile saline solution or just plain water. Clean it with an antibacterial soap once or twice a day.
You can also rely on medication to prevent wound infection. According to an article published in the ResearchGate Journal, vets usually prescribe 0.005% and 0.05% chlorhexidine for fast healing of wounds.
There’s also clindamycin that can help prevent infections. One such medication containing clindamycin is Zydaclin. Zydaclin for dogs is an antibiotic that can help with wounds and abscesses.
According to PetRx, Zydaclin for dogs can also help with dental infections. However, this medication can also have side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. Hence, it is advised to consult with your veterinarian before using Zydaclin for your dog. The veterinarian can guide you based on your pet’s medical history.
You can also take some precautionary measures to prevent infections. For instance, if there are stitches in your pet’s incision site, ensure they don’t get wet unless gauze pads cover them. If the dog has gotten wet, try using cornstarch on the area instead of antibiotic ointment. It won’t irritate their skin as much.
Pain management is a crucial part of the recovery process but can be challenging to master. Fortunately, several options for pain relief can be done at home or by your vet. If you’re in charge of taking care of your pet’s pain management needs during his or her recovery period, here are some tips:
- Ask your veterinarian about options for administering medication. Most veterinarians have their preferred method for administering drugs, and they may also have recommendations on how often they should be administered. You must understand these protocols so you don’t accidentally overdose your dog on any given drug.
- Consider hiring someone else to help with this task if needed. Many people hire pet sitters who specialize in caring for animals while their owners are away from home. This can be especially helpful if multiple dogs are being treated at once.
Giving your dog the medication on time and by the doctor’s instructions is important. If you’re unsure about anything, ask your veterinarian or pharmacist.
- Don’t give more than prescribed. Your dog may need additional pain management after surgery. But if it seems to be feeling better, don’t assume taking more pills than prescribed is okay. Your pet could experience adverse effects from the medication instead of benefiting from it.
- Don’t give too many at once or too few at once. When administering painkillers or antibiotics, ensure you provide them appropriately daily. This will allow the medications to do their job without causing any harm or discomfort to your pet.
Feeding and Drinking
Feeding your dog can be challenging after surgery, especially if he or she is not eating. You can do several things to help encourage your dog’s appetite. However, first, you must know how much food they should eat and when.
After any surgery, your pet must get back on track with its regular diet. This should ideally happen within 24 hours of being discharged from the hospital. This will help prevent weight loss and keep its metabolism stable. Healing occurs faster than usual due to increased activity levels caused by excitement from returning home.
Try feeding small amounts every few hours instead of one big meal if possible. This helps avoid bloating, which could lead to complications such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Once your dog is home, keeping an eye on the incision is essential. You should re-examine it daily to check for signs of infection, swelling, redness, or other problems. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms during recovery. They can assess your dog’s condition and advise you on what else might be needed.
Owners should check how well their surgical wounds heal after surgery and monitor their dogs’ pain. This can be done by observing them closely for signs of discomfort, such as breathing heavily or licking their bandages. Additionally, it’s important to ask their vets about ways to help reduce pain levels without compromising the healing time.
If your dog has just undergone surgery, following their recovery closely is important. Data shows that most soft tissues heal 80% in 2-3 weeks. Hence, giving close attention for at least 2-3 weeks is vital. Ensure your pet gets plenty of rest and doesn’t overexert for a few days after the procedure.
You can also help speed up the recovery by administering medication as directed by its veterinarian and providing adequate nutrition.