Caring For Dog In a Postoperative Period After a Surgery

Any surgery is complex and dangerous. Risk of complications (and even death) is very high. Anesthesia intolerance, excessive bleeding, problematic recovery.

There are so many things that might cause serious problems not only during surgery, but during postoperative period as well.

The first day after surgery is the hardest

Dog after surgery wearing cone collarThe first day after surgery is the most dangerous and very hard for both – dogs and their owners.

Take a note that your dog might still be affected by anesthesia and most probably won’t act adequately to world. This means that YOU have to take all the care for your dog.

Your dog will need a lot of rest during first day of postoperative period. Place him in a warm place on floor. Make sure that it is not too hot nor too cold. Anesthesia makes it impossible for your dog to identify if he’s cold or hot. And even if he would sense it, he probably won’t have enough energy to move to another place.

Don’t place your dog on table, bed or other surface that he might fall off. Make sure your dog has no access to stairs. During first day of postoperative period your dog might try to walk around without his mind turned on. Movement is in most cases clumsy and dog cannot predict and see obstacles.

Offer food and water to your dog. Most probably he won’t take food and if it happens – don’t push. Water, however, is very essential. Dog might not feel that he’s thirsty, but during postoperative period he should consume even more water than normally.

Do not pour a lot of water in a bowl and do not leave your dog unattended while drinking. Because of anesthesia your dog may fall asleep with his head in a bowl. Might sound funny at first, but numerous lethal outcomes is no joke.

If your dog is shaking move him to a warmer place. However, don’t place him next to radiators or in a direct sunlight. Check if he’s not too hot or too cold regularly.

Wound care after a surgery

Dog wearing cone after surgeryWound care is most essential part of caring for dog after surgery. The faster they heal, the shorter postoperative period, lower risk of complications and infection.

Make sure wounds are clean and are not covered with pus and scab. Clean them with antibacterial soup or hydrogen peroxide. Change bandages regularly if any. Strictly follow instructions of your vet.

Wounds may be bleeding a bit and may release colorless fluid. This is okay and does not require much attention. Make sure they are clean.

However, if wounds are bleeding too much or releasing white or yellowish fluid – call your veterinary immediately. Do not hesitate even if you are not quite sure about amount or color of fluid.

Make sure your dog or any other pets do not lick wounds. It may cause an infection or may pull out sutures before healing has occurred. If necessary use cone collar, clothes (shirts, pants) or separate your dog from other pets.

Lower activity of your dog during postoperative period. Don’t take him to long walks, do not allow to run and jump as it may result in opening of wounds.

As I wrote above – the hardest part of postoperative period is the first and sometimes the second day after surgery. Your dog needs a special care and attention during those days. Maybe it is not a bad idea to take a day or two off work to watch after your dog.

If you encounter ANY problems during postoperative period do not hesitate to call a vet. It may save a lot of trouble and even lives.
Photos by pwever and chris.corwin.