GUEST POST: How To Help Your Dog Recover After Surgery

Recovery time after a surgery may be difficult for a dog. So, make sure you know everything about the rehabilitation period in order to help your dog recover as fast as possible.

The basics about helping your dog recover from a surgery are…


Make sure the incision is clean and dry by inspecting it twice a day. In addition, do not bathe the dog otherwise the incision may get wet. When it comes to cleaning the incision, clean it with warm water. Do not clean the incision with soap, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. If your vet did not recommend any cream or oil, do not use it.

If there is a surgical drain, you should clean it twice a day. While cleaning the drain, use only warm water. You may notice some ooze, but it is considered normal after the surgery. Do not become concerned if there is a small amount of blood on the incision either, it is normal. Lastly you should not groom your dog otherwise the wound may get infected.


A dog will usually lick his wound because it may become itchy. It is an instinctive action. However, by licking the incision, stitches may be pulled out, and the incision may get infected. In order to prevent licking, the most effective option is to buy an Elizabethan collar for dogs. The recommendation is that your dog wears this collar for two weeks after the surgery.


Medications are necessary after some types of surgeries. It of utmost importance to follow the medication schedule. Do not double up the dose if you missed the previous one. Use only those medications prescribed by the vet. If your dog needs to take liquid medications, read the instructions carefully because most liquid medications should be kept in a refrigerator. Do not let your children give medications to the dog. You can give the medication to your dog with a treat.


After anesthesia, your dog may not want to eat which is normal because anesthesia may cause nausea. Ask your vet how much food you can give to your dog. After surgery, you can feed your dog with a critical diet in order to help him recover faster.

Critical diets consist of more nutrients than a regular diet and are usually given the first week after surgery. They include a lot of calories, minerals, vitamins and proteins to help with healing.

You can either feed your dog its regular food split it in 3 smaller portions throughout the day (which will keep your pet’s metabolism running and prevent vomiting). Or you can give your dog some home-made, blended food which contains 40 percent meat, 30 percent vegetables and 30 percent starch. For example, you can make a mixture of ground turkey, rice and carrots also served in three small portions throughout the day.


A few days after the surgery, make sure your dog has some time alone as he needs to rest to recuperate. He also may be a little cranky after his surgery as he may be in pain, so if he is alone, he is less likely to react to other animals or children.

There’s also a danger of other dogs licking your dog’s wound. For some surgeries, a vet may recommend that your dog stays in a crate. It all depends on the type of surgery. If your dog needs to be in a crate, place some new toys in the crate to keep him entertained.

Dog Walks

A few hours after your dog comes home, he may be disoriented due to anesthesia. Pay extra attention while you are taking your dog for walks. Always have your dog on a leash. Your dog may need to urinate more frequently after the surgery. So, be prepared to take your dog for a walk every few hours.

Canine Massage

The benefits of canine massage include relaxation, pain relief, improved circulation and increased oxygenation. Do not conduct a massage immediately after surgery. Let your dog rest properly. However, at the end of the recovery period, you may hire a therapist to conduct a session. Make sure the therapist you hire has a certification.

If your dog is going into surgery, research everything you can about before and after surgery care to ensure the success of his procedure. If you aren’t sure about something, always ask your vet for help. And most importantly, be gentle towards your dog as it’s probably quite a confusing time for him too.

Author bio

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls and a proud owner of grumpy poodle Sam and German Sheppard Billy. Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by Boomerang Pet Food.

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