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& life to their years"

What happens after my dog has surgery?

Some dogs may be kept overnight following surgery or some may go home on the same day depending on the surgery performed. After picking up your dog from your vet clinic, he may seem unsteady or a bit sleepy as a result of the general anesthetic or sedative given, depending on whether surgery was performed that day. Some dogs are as bright as a button.

Please make sure they are restrained properly in your car for the trip home by a dog harness or collar and lead, attached to the seatbelt so they are not moving or jumping around your car while you are driving.

Once at home, your dog should be kept warm, quiet and away from your other pets for the rest of the day. After care instructions should have been given to you by your vet or a nurse. If you are still worried about your dogs condition or behavior, please contact your vet for advice. The after effects of an anesthetic may last for a couple of days.

Should I feed my dog?

At home your dog should have access to water at all times. Water intake should be supervised to make sure they are drinking, but if they are drinking large volumes of water, this may cause vomiting. You may need to control the amount of water your dog has access to if this is the case. A small amount of food can be given to your dog for dinner. You can try steamed chicken and boiled rice. If your dog vomits this is not unusual as they are still recovering from the anesthetic. Continue with small amounts of water and if necessary leave feeding until the following day. By the following evening your dog should have his normal food.

Going to the toilet

Once at home, your dog may need help to go outside to go to the toilet. You can help provide support by using an old towel or one our slings placed around the abdomen just in front of the hind legs or just behind the front legs depending on the location of their surgery. Remove the sling whenever possible to allow your dog to go to the toilet without interference. A sling is used to support stability. It can also be used to assist your dog up and down stairs and in and out of the car. Monitor your dog closely over the first few days after surgery. Laxatives are sometimes needed to help with defecation.

Activity and Exercise Restrictions

Activity and exercise must be restricted at all times after surgery, both inside and outside your home until you are advised otherwise by your vet or a nurse. Your dog doesn't understand the need to be quiet and resting after surgery. They don't think the same way we do. Dogs are opportunists and will jump onto your couch or chase a cat given the opportunity! You need to be able to control your dog and their environment after surgery. Do not give your dog free range of your house when you are at work. They need to be confined to a small room or crate where they cannot run at the front window when someone walks past or run up and down the stairs when you are not home.

Dogs must be controlled and on a lead at all times which include:
  • In and around your house
  • In and around your yard
  • For toilet stops outside.

Do not allow your dog to:
  • Go up and down stairs. Use a child safety gate to block off the opening.
  • Jump on and off furniture or beds.
  • Walk through long grass, puddles, sand at the beach or uneven ground.
  • Jump into or out of the car, especially 4 wheel drives. Pet Ramps can be purchased for 4 wheel drives to assist you with a very heavy dog.

Cats must kept in a single room or in a crate which is large enough to include a litter tray until advised otherwise by your vet or nurse.

This is extremely important! If your dog is not confined and left to their own devices after their surgery, post-operative complications can occur. Some of these compilations can be very serious. A large percentage of dogs that attend our Rehabilitation Centre, are here for post operative complications which can be avoided with proper supervision and control over your dogs environment.

If your dog is very active or excitable, please consider either purchasing or hiring from our centre a suitably sized dog crate. We can help you choose the correct size for your dog. This is especially beneficial if your dog jumps consistently.

You should encourage your dog to go for a short walk on the lead, but it should only be for 5 to 10 minutes maximum morning and night.

What should I do with the Surgical wound?

It is normal for the wound to swell a little in the first 2-3 days after surgery. If it becomes very hot, red or painful or a pus-like discharge appears, you should contact your vet clinic for advice. Your dogs surgical wound does not need bathing unless you have been instructed by your vet or vet nurse to do so. Do not bath your pet or take your pet to your groomer until sutures have been removed and healed.

Do not allow your dog to lick, chew or scratch the sutures or bandaging. If you are not able to stop them, a plastic Elizabethan collar will be needed, which can be purchased from your vet clinic and should be used at all times except when you are able to consistently supervise your dog.

The consequences of allowing your dog to lick and chew their surgery site can lead prolonged healing time and confinement, more surgery such as re-suturing, extra medical treatment and more expense for you.
If your dog does need an Elizabethan collar please remember that the collars are large and awkward for your dog. While wearing the collar please make sure your dog is kept away from young children and elderly people who could be knocked over or injured by the collar.

When can my dog commence their normal daily activity?

Post Operative Rehabilitation if required can commence when sutures have been removed. Please call us for an appointment or contact your veterinary clinic for further information. If you are experiencing problems and cannot commute to our Rehabilitation Centre, we offer over the phone consultations to help you.

Tuesday 9.30am - 6.00pm
Wednesday 9.30am – 6.00pm
Thursday 9.30am - 1.00pm
Friday 9.30am - 6.00pm
Saturday 8.00am - 1.00pm

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