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How to Help Your Dog Recover from Surgery

Once your dog comes home after surgery, you have an important role to play in helping them to recover and return to their daily routine as soon as possible. Today, our South Florida vets discuss the importance of post-op care and how to care for your dog after a procedure.

Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions

Both you and your dog will probably be feeling at least some stress in the days before and after ocular surgery. However, knowing how to care for your four-legged friend after they get settled in at home is critical to helping them return to their regular exercise and eating routine as soon as possible. 

Your veterinarian will provide clear, detailed instructions about how to care for your pooch at home after the procedure. Taking these instructions to heart and following them closely will be essential to a safe, successful recovery. Make sure to clarify any steps of the instructions that you do not understand with your vet. 

Even if you get home and realize you've forgotten how to perform a specific item in your vet's instructions, please feel free to call the appropriate office to verify.

Depending on the surgery required, the procedure will be performed in-house or you'll be referred to a veterinary surgical specialist near South Florida.

Our staff at Animal Eye Guys is committed to providing your dog diligent, attentive, and high-quality care, along with guidance and at-home measures such as post-op care that can positively impact your dog's recovery. 

Effects of General Anesthetic 

Your vet will likely use a general anesthetic to keep your dog unconscious and pain-free during surgery. After the procedure, it may take some time for the effects of the anesthesia to wear off. 

Feeding Your Dog After Surgery

Your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite after the surgical procedure. In addition to nausea, loss of appetite is a common side effect of anesthetic. Consider serving a half-size portion of a light meal such as rice or chicken, which may be easier for your dog to digest than regular store-bought food. 

Your dog's appetite should return within about 24 hours after their operation. At that point, you can then start to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If your dog still won't eat more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinary surgeon. Your dog not eating after surgery, or having a loss of appetite can point to infection. 

Managing Your Dog's Pain After Surgery 

Your veterinarian will also explain any medications or pain relievers they need to prescribe for your pet so you can manage post-surgical pain or discomfort and prevent infection. 

Your pet's veterinary ophthalmologist will provide instructions on the proper medication dosage, safe administration methods, and frequency at which the medication should be given. Be sure to closely adhere to these instructions to prevent unnecessary side effects and discomfort as your dog recovers. Ask for clarification if you have any questions about any instructions. 

Some dogs may experience anxiety or be high-strung after surgery. If this is true for your pup, your veterinarian may also prescribe sedatives or anti-anxiety medication to help your pet stay calm while they heal. 

Note that you should never give your dog medications, especially human medications, without first consulting your veterinarian. While medications for people help us feel better, they are toxic to our dogs and other pets. 

Set Up a Quiet, Comfortable Space

Your dog needs a peaceful place to rest and recover. Away from the commotion of the rest of the household, this area should have a soft bed with plenty of room for them to spread out. This soft bed is crucial because it can ease pressure on your pet's sensitive or bandaged body parts.

Dog Shaking or Coughing After Surgery

Have you seen your dog coughing or trembling after surgery? Your dog may have developed a slight cough and mild irritation if a tube was inserted into the trachea (windpipe) while under anesthesia. A minor post-operative cough typically disappears within a few days. Please get in touch with our hospital if your coughing continues or gets worse.

Typically, if a dog is shaking after surgery, this won’t be due to a cold or pain but after-effects from anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, then hold them in your lap or sit next to them while speaking to them and giving lots of reassuring pets. The extra love and attention will help.

Restrict your Pet’s Movement

For a specified period after surgery, your vet may recommend limiting your dog’s movement and physical activity. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause incisions to reopen.

Depending on the procedure, you might not need to confine your dog using significant measures like a full cage or crate rest. Most dogs will be able to spend a few days inside while still making necessary trips outside for bathroom breaks.

However, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture where they like to nap. If you are unable to provide direct supervision, you may need to confine your dog to a safe, comfortable room in the house.

If your dog happens to be recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as recovery progresses.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Seeking more information about how to help your dog recover safely and quickly recover after surgery? Contact our South Florida veterinary ophthalmologists to book a consultation today.

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Animal Eye Guys is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Florida pets. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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