Recovering from dog operations
If your four-legged friend has to have surgery, it can be helpful to know what to expect post-dog operation so that you can make your pet as comfortable as possible. Your vet will give you specific advice relating to your particular pet’s ongoing treatment and recovery, to help them get back their usual selves.
Your vet will tell you what sort of exercise your dog can return to, and how soon, depending on the type of dog surgery they’ve had. For example, if your dog had stitches post dog operation, they will need to be kept on a lead and only allowed the very minimum amount of exercise - ideally just a walk in the garden to go to the toilet - until a few days after the stitches have been removed. They will also need to be discouraged from jumping onto furniture and going up and down stairs. Always follow your vet’s instructions on exercise.
Following orthopaedic surgery, your dog may need to be on restricted exercise for even longer and may even need strict crate rest. Make sure your crate is big enough for your dog to sit up straight and move comfortably - but not so big that they can run around. You should take your dog out for regular toilet breaks, but put down newspaper in case they can’t make it and change their bedding regularly so that it’s nice and fresh for them to relax in.
Always leave a bowl of clean water in the crate and check regularly to make sure it’s not been knocked over. Crate rest can be hard on both of you, but the more you can restrict them, the quicker their recovery will be and the lower the risk of them hurting themselves. If your vet has asked you to restrict your dog to crate rest it’s for a reason – they want your dog to get better as much as you do! Keep your dog in their crate for as long as your vet recommends, even if they seem better.
It’s very important that you keep dog bandages dry so they don’t cause any further damage. Even if your dog is simply going out to the garden to go to the toilet, you will need to tape a plastic bag over the bandage to protect it. Your vet may give you a drip bag, made of tough material, to use instead. Remember to remove the bag as soon as your dog is back inside as it's dangerous to leave a plastic bag on your dog's foot for too long, as moisture can build up inside and cause health problems – much like when our fingers prune in the bath!
If you notice any unpleasant odours, discolouration, swelling above or below the bandage, limping or pain get in touch with your vet straight away. It’s also important to stick to your specified check-up dates with your vet to make sure that your dog’s recovery is on track. In the meantime, if the dog bandage comes loose or falls off, don’t be tempted to rebandage it yourself. If it’s too tight, it could cause problems so take your dog back to the vet and they will be happy to redo it for you.
Plastic collars on dogs
To prevent your dog from licking, biting or scratching their wound or bandage, it’s a good idea to get them a funnel-shaped collar known as ‘Elizabethan’ or ‘Buster’ collars. Until recently these were generally made of plastic, but softer fabric collars are also now available and your dog may find these more comfortable. The fabric collars are also kinder on the furniture and any passers-by - an exuberant dog with a plastic collar can be quite destructive! It's important to leave their collar on all the time, especially at night and whenever your dog is left alone. Your dog should soon get used to wearing their new accessory, but make sure it doesn't hinder them eating or drinking. If it does, you’ll need to remove the collar at meal times and whenever your furry friend wants a drink of water.
Some dogs just can’t get used to the collars, and find them distressing. If that’s the case with yours, let your vet know as they may have alternative ideas. If you follow these tips to care for your dog after surgery, and your vet’s advice, your pet should have a speedy recovery and soon be ready for playtime again!
If you’d like more information on recovering from dog surgery, or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM