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What To Do After Your Pet Has Surgery

taking care of your pets after surgery

Whether it’s a standard spay or neuter, or a yearly dental, at some point during their lives your cat or dog will likely need surgery. For more minor surgical procedures, your pet can typically go home the same day; in other instances, they may have to stay overnight for observation.

This often depends on what kind of veterinary surgery your pets have, as well as their age and their overall health. For older animals or those with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems, the recovery process might be slower. They may need longer observation or services that can only be performed at a veterinary clinic, depending on their circumstances.

Though each pet is different in how quickly they heal, there are several things you can do to help them in the recovery process.

1. Limited Activity

Like their owners, any type of surgery requires time for your pet to rest. It’s important to keep them calm, and in some cases, your pet will need their activity completely restricted as they recuperate. As your pet may not be feeling well, don’t be alarmed if they initially want to be left alone. Be sure to abide by your veterinarians directions as in some cases, any type of post-surgery activity can impede the healing process and raise the likelihood of infection.

Have them avoid activity such as jumping around or playing, which can excite them. If you’re having your pet spayed or neutered, they should typically avoid any activity for a few days. More extreme surgery may require a few weeks of recuperation.

Consider isolating your friend in a spare room, or any other quiet area, where they can rest comfortably and where they’ll avoid any external distractions, and other pets if you have them. Don’t be afraid to spend time with them and show them love, but if you’re unsure about what to do as they recuperate, speak with your Austin Veterinarian.

2. Behavioral Issues

If your pet has been given anesthesia, there’s a good chance they’ll be very sluggish afterwards; sometimes it may take one to two days to come out of it. The best thing for them to do at this point is get plenty of rest. Some may sleep it off, while others could experience issues walking, vomiting, problems breathing and little to no interest in eating. Let them rest, but keep an eye on their progress.

It’s usually the first 24-48 hours after surgery that are the most critical, so keep an eye on your pet and call your veterinarian if you notice any potential problems.

3. Licking and the Cone of Shame

The cone of shame…that big, ugly plastic cone we wrap around our pets heads is uncomfortable and far from fashionable, but it comes in handy, especially when you don’t want your pets to lick any areas where they have had surgery. It’s important to keep any surgical areas clean and free from infection, so that means no licking. Your pet may not need a cone, but it’s good to have one on hand just in case.

4. Post-Operative Medications

Depending on the severity of the surgery, your little fella may be prescribed additional medications for pain, and antibiotics. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions in administering these meds. Also, never give a cat or dog any medicine for humans; they can be extremely toxic. Call your veterinarian if you have any questions.

5. Observe their Bathroom Habits

There are a few things to keep in mind should your pet need to go to the bathroom post-surgery. If you have a dog, take them for very short walks, just long enough for them to do their business, then bring them back inside. If you have a cat, you may want to replace the litter in their box with shredded newspaper, to keep the litter granules from getting into any healing incisions. If you’re not sure about what to do, based on the extent of their surgery, consult with your veterinarian.

Once your cat or dog has had any type of surgery, the main focus should be on recovery and rest. At ATX Animal Clinic, we monitor your pets post-surgery and care for them until they’re ready to head back home. In most cases, they will be fine, but if you have any questions, or if any complications should arise after they return home, please do not hesitate to contact us.