Dog Surgery

Dog surgery is a likely part of a dog's life, particularly in that of an older dog. Owners concerned about their dogs getting surgery should familiarize themselves with the general process and recognize their responsibility.

Costs of Dog Surgery

Financing dog surgery can pose financial difficulty for the owner. Depending on the area in which the owner lives and the type of surgery, the total cost could run anywhere from around one hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Vets may offer delayed payment plans, but there are other options if the vet does not offer such a plan.

A healthcare financing credit card, such as CareCredit, offers 0% interest for a period of 3 months to 2 years, on all health-related expenses charged to the card, including veterinary expenses. The owner must have good credit to be eligible for this card.

Pet health insurance is a proactive way to reduce or eliminate the sometimes substantial cost of pet surgery. Since virtually all dogs need some form of surgery at some point in their lives, pet health insurance is a wise investment. It can also be used to help cover the cost of check-ups and minor treatment.


Except in emergency situations, dog surgery typically occurs a few days or weeks after a consultation with the medical professional overseeing the surgery. During the 24 hours before surgery, the owner may be asked to take food and then water from the animal in stages. (Water is usually allowed until a few hours before surgery.) This is to empty out the dog's digestive system to reduce the risk of vomiting while under anesthesia.

During Surgery

Owners may or may not be present in the waiting room during pet surgery. Minor and/or non-emergency surgeries may require only that the owner drop off the dog early on in the morning and pick the dog up again later that day or the next day.

The dog will be put under anesthesia during the procedure and may have some of its fur shaved. Vets will typically keep the dog under observation for at least one night, but they may not.

Canine Surgery Recovery

Recovery from dog surgery can take a couple of days to several weeks, but the average is around two weeks. During this time, the dog will be fitted with a cone that will prevent it from biting its treated areas and/or stitches. The owner is responsible for making sure this cone stays in place during the total extent of the recovery time, as the dog biting its treated area could lead to infection.

The owner may also be advised to give the dog topical and/or oral antibiotics to prevent infection as well as pain relievers to lessen the dog's suffering. The dog may require medicine two to three times per day. The owner may be asked to put a compress over any swollen areas for a period of around 5 minutes several times a day.

Although dog surgery may be inevitable at least once during a dog's lifetime, owners can help prevent some surgery by proactively increasing their dogs' chances of living healthy lives. Dogs should eat healthy, exercise frequently and be kept on leashes while outside the home to help prevent injury, accident and illness.