Caring for Your Dog After Surgery: A Checklist

Caring for your dog after surgery is just as important as the surgery itself. Improper care post-surgery has the potential to cause infection and unnecessary pain and suffering for your dog. In addition, proper post-surgery care is crucial to healing. Following your vets instructions for caring for your dog after the procedure to the letter will ensure that your pet cane resume his normal active lifestyle as quickly as possible. How to Care for your Pet after Surgery Depending on the type of surgery, your vet will have very specific instructions. The post-surgery instructions for a dental procedure may be quite different from spay/neuter post surgery instructions. That said, there are a number of post-surgery instructions that are common for just about every type of dog surgery. These include: * Limit activity * Limit food and water consumption * Do not allow the dog to aggravate the wound area * Keep an eye on sutures Just like humans, pets can be irritable, weak, and groggy after surgery. Doing too much too soon can lead to major setbacks in the recovery process. It is important to monitor your dog’s activity carefully, meaning, limit all activity. Do not allow him to jump, run, and play under any circumstances immediately following surgery. Crating or confining the pet to a small (toyless) room might be necessary. Limiting activity can also prevent nausea and/or rupturing sutures. It is important to limit food and water consumption as well, which will allow your dog to readjust slowly. Over consumption too soon after surgery is sure to cause an upset stomach or even vomiting. The wound area post-surgery warrants special attention. Do not allow your dog to aggravate the wound area as this can lead to infection, bleeding, opening of sutures, pain, and oozing. This can also slow down the recovery process tremendously. Each day you should check for redness, drainage or swelling to make sure the wound is healing properly and that your pet is not chewing or licking the area. You will have to keep an eye on sutures for at least 10 days -- the typical amount of time sutures remain in place. If you suspect that your dog just won't be able to avoid licking or chewing the wound area, you can use an "Elizabethan collar" around his neck. You can purchase it from your vet or at any pet store. Other Post-Surgery Instructions When leaving the hospital important to use a carrier to prevent additional injury on your canine. Once you arrive at home, make sure your pet's sleeping area is clean and free of drafts. The warmer the area the better -- but not too hot! If your vet has provided medications, follow dosage instructions to the letter. In addition, all post-surgery diet instructions must be followed carefully to prevent everything from vomiting and nausea to upset stomach.