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. 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. 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.
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 – depending on the procedure – and allow yourself some extra time to help your dog with stairs and going outside to the bathroom on a leash so they can’t get overdo it. 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.