Your dog just had surgery — whether it was a spay, neuter, mass removal, or something less routine — your dog will need some extra TLC to recover quickly and without complications.
When your dog has a surgical procedure, it can be a stressful time for you, your dog, and your whole family! This pet information prescription has a few tips to help recovery go smoothly for everyone. Get well soon little one!
The dreaded cone! (Also commonly referred to as the "lampshade" or the "radar dish.") Your veterinarian might give you this super stylish E-collar to protect your dog's recent surgery site from licking, biting, or scratching.
Elizabethan collars were named because of their likeness to ruffs popularized by Queen Elizabeth I in the Tudor period.
Your veterinarian will provide you with specific instructions based on your dog’s surgery, medications, and home care. It is critical to follow them closely. In general, however, it’s important to:
If you're reading this before your dog has surgery, you can check out this video for tips on how to get your dog comfortable wearing a cone, or read this article for more tips.
The best thing you can do is to keep your dog calm, follow any home care directions, and administer all medications as directed.
Provide your dog with a clean, quiet spot for them to recuperate, away from other pets or small children. Be sure that their pet bed isn’t too difficult for them to get on and off of.
You may want to move their food and water bowls closer to their resting area, so they don’t have to get up and move as far to get to them. This also ensures you can keep an eye on how much they’re eating and drinking. It may also help to elevate the bowls to make it easier for your pet to eat and drink with the E-collar on.
Ideally, when you are not home with your dog after surgery, it is recommended to confine them to a crate or a small room without furniture for them to jump on. This will ensure that they cannot be active as well as prevent them from getting the E-collar hung on something.
If you're having a tough time keeping your dog inactive, or they're wrestling with their E-collar, your veterinarian may need to prescribe medication to calm them down. Give them a call to discuss your options.
Your dog should be resting comfortably, eating and drinking well, and using the bathroom. It’s not uncommon for your dog to be lethargic (low-energy), not eat or drink well, or have soft stool for the first 24–36 hours after surgery. However, their energy and appetite should be improving every day after their first day home.
Your dog’s incision should also be improving every day. While it is common to see some initial redness, swelling, and bruising at first, it should always be clean, dry, and without any yellow or green discharge. Any swelling and discoloration should start to improve within the first 3–5 days and resolve within 10–14 days.
You should call your veterinarian right away if your dog has:
One of the most common reasons a dog has to go back to surgery after discharge is because they were allowed to lick or chew at the incision or were too active while they were healing. While an E-collar can be annoying for you and your dog, it’s preventing a much bigger problem and will be worth the effort to leave it on until your dog’s incision is fully healed.
Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation on returning to physical activity. Allow yourself some extra time to help your dog with stairs (depending on the procedure, such as orthopedic surgery, a sling may be helpful going up and down stairs) and going outside to the bathroom on a leash so they can’t get overdo it. This is when walking your dog with a harness can be better than a collar.
Healing could take a few days to a few weeks. Sticking to the timeline your veterinarian provided will ensure the quickest return to normal for your dog.
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