When your dog undergoes any surgery, it is important for pet parents to know how to care for them after the procedure. Recovery can seem like a long and frustrating process, but our McAllen vets can provide you with tips on how to care for your dog and manage their pain after surgery.
We understand that the healing process after a veterinary surgical procedure can be stressful for you and your pet, so here are some tips for helping your dog's recovery to be as successful as possible.
Follow Your Vet's Instructions
After performing surgery on your dog, your veterinary surgeon or veterinarian will provide you with clear instructions for handling your pet's post-operative care after they return home. Make sure you are paying careful attention to your vet's instructions (take notes if necessary).
Don't hesitate to ask for clarification or, if you realize you have forgotten some aspect of your pet's post-operative care, to call your vet to explain again for you. Just as you do, your vet wants the best for your pet and will be happy to provide help.
Veterinary surgeries are done under general anesthesia, which may cause your pooch to feel queasy or to lose their appetite as they recover from its immediate effects. Make sure to feed your dog a light bland meal (such as cooked white rice and unseasoned chicken) to ease their digestion.
Within 24 hours, they should have recovered from the effects of the general anesthesia.
Keeping Your Dog Comfortable And Restricting Movement
With most types of surgery, it's likely that your animal orthopedic surgeon will advise you to restrict your dog's movement for a certain period of time. Your dog will likely not feel very energetic or have much desire to move at first, but it might be necessary to confine your dog and prevent them from running, jumping, or performing other movements that could injure a healing surgical site.
The best way to accomplish this is by confining your four-legged friend to either a playpen (if they are smaller) or to their own room (if they are medium or larger) without anything to jump on or injure themselves with. For some surgeries (e.g. orthopedic procedures), your vet may recommend a strict confinement of "crate rest" for some or all of your dog's recovery period.
Make sure you make whatever space your dog is confined to as comfortable for them as possible, with their favorite toys, blankets and cushions, and lots of space to spread out and relax.
Post-Surgery Pain Management for Your Dog
Your dog's orthopedic veterinarian or veterinary nurse will take the time to discuss your dog's pain medication regimen with you. They will tell you the required dose, the method by which you should administer it, and how often to do so.
Make sure you follow your vet's instructions as closely as possible to ensure efficacy and reduce the chance of side effects.
Usually, the pain management treatments prescribed are antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection and pain medications. If your dog is anxious or high-strung, your vet may also prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or mild sedative to help them remain calm during the healing process.
Standard Recovery Times Following Surgery
The length of time required to recover from surgery will invariably be impacted by a number of factors, including the type of surgery your dog has had, your pet's age, general health, and rehabilitation needs while they recover.
Generally, most soft tissue surgeries like spaying, neutering, or abdominal surgeries should be mostly healed by the 2-3 week mark and may be fully healed by a month-and-a-half after the operation.
Orthopedic surgeries, however, can take much longer to heal. Your dog will likely be mostly healed between 2 and 3 months after the procedure, but it could take up to 6 months or longer for them to fully recover.