Surgery is stressful for any pet owner regardless if it is a relatively safe spaying or neuter surgery or something more serious. To care for your dog after the surgery may rise several challenges. A good veterinarian always gives specific instructions to a pet owner after surgery, but the message sometimes doesn’t get across given the stress on you the owner after surgery.
It’s understandable as your pet just got out of surgery, they aren’t themselves, and quite often you the pet owner is under high stress and nods affirmatively to every sentence without actually hearing them. It’s normal. We see this quite often in our veterinary practice. If this happened to you, don’t worry.
In this article, you will learn how to care for dogs after a surgical procedure and what to do if problems arise. For example, why is my dog shaking? But please, do not be ashamed to call your veterinarian if you have uncertainties. It’s normal to ask.
Table of Contents
- How can you help your dog rest and relax after surgery?
- My pet does not want to eat following surgery, what should i do?
- Is it normal for a dog to shake after surgery?
- What should you do when your dog arrives home after surgery?
How can you help your dog rest and relax after surgery?
The 24 hour period after a surgical procedure can be the most dangerous and challenging for both dogs and their owners. While spaying and neutering are the most common and safe procedures performed by your vet, there is always the possibility of issues arising. Healthy dogs are put under anesthesia with no issues for a variety of procedures. If your older dog needed another procedure, there are even more things to watch for. In this case, definitely consult with your veterinarian and follow their directives closely.
Take note that your dog might still be affected by the general anesthesia and most probably won’t act like they normally would when reacting to the world. In nature, your dog would not let the world know they are in pain or not feeling themselves. This would indicate weakness. As such, your dog may act defensively, cower, or be clumsy. This is why you will want to take additional care of your dog.
Your dog will need a lot of rest during the first day of the postoperative recovery period. Place him or her in a warm place on the floor. If you’ve crate trained your dog or they have a dog house where they normally sleep, make sure the floor of their crate or dog house is extra soft with an additional blanket on top of the pad. Make sure that it is not too hot nor too cold. General anesthesia makes it impossible for your dog to identify if they are too cold or too hot. And even if they sense it, they probably won’t have enough energy to move to someplace else. And that is actually a good thing because your dog needs to rest, not exert themselves by walking around.
Don’t place your dog on a bed, couch or other surface off the ground because they might fall off. Make sure they have no access to the stairs. We recommend using a baby gate to restrict your dog’s movements. During the first day, your dog might try to walk around without their mind turned fully on. Their movement is in most cases, clumsy as your dog cannot predict and see obstacles as well as they could before because of the anesthesia.
My pet does not want to eat following surgery, what should i do?
While following your vets postoperative care instructions, you can offer food and water to your dog. They may refuse it so it is best to not not push them if this happens. While your dog fasted prior to surgery, the anesthesia may affect their hunger for some time. Your dog should start to eat normally after 24 hours. If your dog’s appetite has not returned within 48 hours, please contact your vet as this may indicate an infection.
Water however, is essential. Your dog might not feel that they are thirsty, but during the postoperative period they should consume even more water than usual. Even a small amount by chewing on ice cubes helps. For example one of our dogs wasn’t able to drink like they could before their neuter procedure. We gave our male dog some ice cubes to chew on after his neutering surgery and he chewed them which helped keep him hydrated.
Pour only a small amount of water in the bowl and do not leave your dog unattended while drinking. Because of the effects of the anesthesia, your dog could fall asleep head first in a bowl of water.
Is it normal for a dog to shake after surgery?
If your dog is shaking or shivering, it is most likely because of the anesthesia and does not indicate that your dog is cold. Make sure to check that the room’s temperature isn’t too cold. Don’t place your dog next to the heater, heater vent, or in direct sunlight. Regularly check on your dog to make sure they are not too hot or too cold often.
It is critically important to make sure your dog is warm however. This is because more than 80% of dogs suffer from being too cold or hypothermia after surgery. If you are concerned, you can take your dogs temperature. If you need some help doing this, please refer to our article How to take your dog’s body temperature at home.
What should you do when your dog arrives home after surgery?
Wound care is an essential part of caring for a dog after surgery. The faster they heal and the shorter the postoperative period, means a lower risk of complications and infection.
Make sure the incision site is clean and not covered in pus and scabs. Clean your pets incision with antibacterial soap or hydrogen peroxide as directed by your veterinarian. Change the bandages regularly as directed. We can’t stress this more strongly. Please strictly follow the instructions of your vet.
Wounds may continue to bleed a small amount and may release colorless fluid. This is okay and does not require much attention. Just make sure to clean the area as needed.
However, if wounds are bleeding a lot or release white or yellowish fluid call your veterinary. Do not hesitate, even if you are not quite sure about the amount or color of the fluid. Why take chances? It is far better to get an answer early to make sure your dogs recovery goes smoothly. Rest assured, nothing will happen if you call your vet and find out there is nothing to worry. We are much happier to hear from our patients early if there is a complication rather than trying to get on top of something that has been developing for some time.
Make sure your dog or any of your other pets do not lick the surgical incision. It may cause an infection, pull out sutures, and will surely delay your pets healing. If necessary, use a cone collar, bandages to wrap the surgical site, or separate your dog from other pets.
Limit your dog’s activity during the postoperative period. Don’t take he or she for long walks. Do not allow them to run and jump as it may result in the opening of the incision.
As we said above the hardest part of the postoperative period is the first day and sometimes the second day after surgery. Your dog needs special care and much more attention than normal during these days. Maybe it is not a bad idea to take a day or two off work to care and comfort your dog.
If you encounter ANY problems during the postoperative period, do not hesitate to call your vet. Even if your vet already instructed you how to care for your dog after the surgery, do not be afraid to call again.
Now that you know what causes your dog shaking after surgery, you are prepared for taking care of them. Thus you will be happy and your dog will be happy. And keeping your Pet happy is what we all want.