Care For A Dog After Surgery

Be sure to give your dog lots of TLC during its recovery from surgery.

When your dog comes home after surgery, it can be heartbreaking. Your beloved pet will definitely need some TLC, but it is also important to listen carefully to the vet’s instructions and keep your dog calm. Read on for more information on care for a dog after surgery.


1. Listen carefully to the vet’s instructions. Some vets will send home a printed list of instructions for taking care of your dog after surgery. Others are less formal, and discuss these steps with you. Don’t be afraid to take notes. All vets understand your dog is your baby, and you need to know care for him or her after surgery.

2. Keep your dog calm when you get home. This can be especially hard later in the evening or the next day as your dog may feel normal, but his incisions have obviously not healed. It is also extremely difficult if you have another dog, who loves to play. You can solve this problem by taking your healing dog outside on a leash and not allowing him to run around. Some vets recommend this for up to a week. If you see your dog’s incision is healing fine, you can allow him or her to go outside without the leash in a few days. Just watch your dog and his incision carefully.

3. Make a comfortable place for your dog to sleep, especially the first night home from surgery. If your dog is used to sleeping in bed with you or on the couch, this may not be possible the first few nights. Use old comforters or blankets to make a comfortable place for your dog to sleep and rest. Put this new bed in the room you will be in during the evening, so your dog can be close to you but still resting. When it is time for bed, you can move the blankets into the bedroom with you if that’s where your dog usually sleeps.

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4. Purchase an e-collar if your dog will be able to lick or scratch his stitches. The dog in the picture is wearing one of these collars. Most dogs get used to them after a few hours, but they do not love them. However, it is important that your dog does not bother his incision until it heals, or you may be going back to the vet. This could be worse than having your dog wear an e-collar.

5. Use a warm wash cloth to wipe away dried blood and to help with itching throughout the week. Your dog will appreciate the tenderness and help with the itch. Have you ever had stitches? Sometimes the itching is the worst part!

6. Give your dog all of his antibiotics if the vet gave you a prescription. Even if your dog seems completely healed, you still need to finish all the pills to ensure infection will not set in. Caring for a dog after surgery can be time consuming, but it is definitely worth it!

7. Feed your dog very little the night he comes home from surgery. Some vets recommend just a little dry food. If your dog has an upset stomach for a few days, you can give him a mix of very plain people food–boiled chicken and white rice. Then you can start mixing the chicken and rice with his regular food. If the upset stomach continues for several days, then call your vet. Your dog will appreciate all the TLC he is getting when you are caring for him after surgery.

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