Dog Pain Relief After Surgery

Dog pain relief after surgery is necessary, to keep your pet comfortable. A surgery may be a traumatic event in the dog’s life and the post surgery pain may often be unbearable. There are numerous pain relief remedies that are recommended by vets.


The NSAIDs or the non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs are often recommended after surgery, as these will reduce the post operatory swelling and will also bring pain relief.

The NSAIDs are also efficient in reducing the recovery time. The swelling of tissues will reduce the blood circulation and this can also cause tissue damage and a slower healing of the surgery area.

The dog may receive anti inflammatories such as carprofen. Carprofen is a non inflammatory analgesic drug with immediate effects. The side effects of this drug may include:

  • stomach pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms
  • gastric ulcers (if administered for over 10 days)
  • drowsiness

Don’t administer non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs created for humans such as Tylenol, nurofen or Advil, as these can be toxic in high amounts. Aspirin may be used in canines, but the dosage should be carefully monitored.

The vet will indicate the suitable amount of time the NSAIDs should be administered for. This will depend on the type of surgery and its complexity. Dogs with leg surgery may require medication for up to 2 weeks, while after a neutering procedure the vet will only recommend 2 to 3 days of medication.


The analgesic medications are pain relievers that have no auxiliary effects. In some cases, the vet will recommend only analgesics (without anti inflammatory effects).

Commonly used analgesics in dogs after surgery include:

  • Tramadol, which will reduce pain immediately and should be prescribed in high doses, which should be reduced as the dog recovers
  • Fentanyl, which is indicated if the surgery is complex and the dog will most likely be in a lot of pain. Fentanyl skin patches should be applied every 72 hours. Note that the first Fentanyl patch may take up to 12 hours to be effective, so additional pain medication should be administered during these first 12 hours.

Common side effects of analgesic medication include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy

In some cases, the vet will decide to use the analgesics in conjunction with a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug.

If the dog is not responding to the pain medication and he is whining and looks he is in agony, you need to consult the vet. The vet will prescribe a stronger pain medication or he may recommend the hospitalization of the dog for intravenous pain management.

The recovery period after a surgery will depend on the type of surgery performed and may take several weeks to several months. Ensure your pet gets the pain medications as long as they are needed. Get a special diet during the recovery period and allocate more time to your pet, to ensure he gets all the comfort and affection.