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How to Care for a Dog Post Surgery

How to Care for a Dog Post Surgery

Aftercare following surgery is very important for your dog so that it recuperates faster. Given in this DogAppy write-up is the complete method on how to care for your dog after surgery.
Malvika Kulur
Med Alert!
Never give your dog Tylenol, Advil, or Aspirin for the pain, as they are meant only for human use. Only give him painkillers that have been prescribed by the veterinary surgeon.
Taking care of your dog is not easy, but if you follow all the instructions given by your veterinarian, your dog will recoup faster, and heal well. One has to be very diligent while looking after a dog that has undergone a surgery, and the first 48 hours post surgery are very crucial; therefore, the veterinarians usually keep the dog under observation at the hospital for any irregular behavior. Once you get to take your dog home, you need to start with the aftercare instructions.
Products Used Post Surgery

Always give your pet medication that has been prescribed by his veterinary surgeon. Talk to the surgeon before giving milk thistle or ginger to your dog. Many times, doctors prescribe antibiotics and multivitamins so that your dog is free from infection and heals faster. So, never skip out on those. Your dog's doctor may also prescribe aloe vera gel, vitamin E ointment, antibacterial creams or ointments, Calendula, etc., to be applied around the operated area. Apply these diligently using a Q-tip, or directly from the tube, but never with your fingertips. This is so that the wound does not get contaminated by bacteria.

Recovery Aids

E-collars and Support Harnesses
E-collars or Elizabethan collars are used so that the dog does not pick at his wounds. It is a preventive measure taken so that your dog does not inflict any wounds around the operated area by scratching, licking, or biting it. Do not take out this collar when the wound is still fresh. Take it out only when the doctor tells you to do so. Support harnesses, body suits, boots, and coverings are also products used when one is caring for a dog that has been operated upon. Boots are used to make sure that the dog does not slip on the floors after surgery. Coverings and body suits help cover the wound so that it is kept warm, and also so that the dog does not fiddle with his wounds. Always purchase graded products that have been recommended by the veterinarian.

Wheelchairs and Carts
Wheelchairs and carts are of great help for handicapped dogs. These help the dog to be moved around without causing strain on the wound. They also put the dog at ease as they have multiple support settings. If your dog has had a surgery anywhere on or around his hind limbs, then this product is a boon. Wheelchairs and carts keep the dog in its natural posture, without stretching its wound. Talk to your veterinarian before buying this product.

Aftercare Instructions

► Before you begin taking care of your dog, make sure you get your house ready. Clean it thoroughly, and keep a room aside specially for your dog. Stock on basic essentials, like food, water, and medication.

► Keep your dog on the floor so that he is comfortable and does not have to climb or get down from a height (bed or couch). Keep comfortable padding, like a mattress or comforter so that the hard floor does not make your pet uncomfortable.

► Keep the room in which he is staying warm, but not hot. If you are living in a place where the weather can get cold, then investing in a heater will be a good idea.

► Follow the instructions given by your veterinarian regarding wound cleaning and dressing. Check the operated area around 2-3 times a day to keep an eye out for possible infection.

► Depending on the type of surgery performed, the aftercare varies. Some doctors will ask you to wash the wounds with saline water and then dress them with Betadine or other topical ointments, whereas some will insist that you keep the wounds as dry as possible.

► Look out for any secretions from the wounds. If you see copious amounts of blood, pus, or white or yellow liquid draining out, then please call your veterinarian.

► If you have more than one dog and a child, it is best to keep your dog away from them, at least till he heals. This is so that your dog does not get irritated and snap at the other dogs or your kids if they are playing with him.

► Keep many wipes and sanitizers handy, as your dog might urinate while he is sleeping. Also, remember to take him out more than usual because dogs urinate frequently after a surgery due to all the fluids pumped into them.

► Do not give your dog a bath during this time. If required, ask your doctor if you could give him a dry wash, just using swabs so that he feels fresh. Take him out on the leash for short walks so that he does not tire or exert himself, but still gets his daily dose of fresh air.

► Keep lots of water around for your dog, as he may get dehydrated due to all the medication he is taking. Also, feed him small meals so that he does not feel nauseous and weak. In most cases, dogs that have just undergone a surgery refuse food, so do not force him to eat. You could offer him some soft food, boiled pieces of chicken, or broth.
The most important thing is to stay calm and cool. Do not panic or be depressed when you are taking care of your dog, as dogs can sense emotions really well, and might react badly to your panic. Shower your dog with a lot of love and care so that he heals well and is happy despite his surgery. Apart from the above-mentioned instructions, you could also take help from a friend or family member during the time you are caring for your dog. Keep your veterinarian on speed dial so that if at all your dog is exhibiting any behavior that may be of concern, you could consult your doctor, and help your dog get better.
Disclaimer: This DogAppy article is purely for informative and educational purposes and does not intend to replace the advice offered by a registered veterinarian.