Top 5 tips on preparing your pet for surgery 

By Dr. Cherice Roth, KeraVet Bio Lead Medical Advisor

As pet parents, the thought of our furry friends undergoing surgery can evoke many emotions. Whether it’s a routine spay/neuter procedure or something more complex, feeling anxiety, concern, and hope is natural. But rest assured, with the proper preparation and post-operative care, your pet will be on the road to recovery in no time. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this journey with love and diligence.

1. Emotional Preparation

Your emotions matter. Pets intuitively pick up on our emotions. While feeling anxious is normal, try to remain calm and composed around your pet. The more you remain calm, the more your pet will, too. Having low stress before a surgical procedure also helps them to heal better because of decreased cortisol.

Familiarize yourself with the procedure. The more you know, the more at ease you’ll feel. Discuss with your veterinarian what the surgery entails, potential risks, and the expected recovery timeline.

2. Preparing the Home

Safe recovery zone. Post surgery, your pet will need a quiet and comfortable space to recuperate. Consider setting up a cozy corner, in a low-traffic area of your home, equipped with your favorite blanket or bed.

Barrier-free movement. For pets with orthopedic surgeries, ensure their path is clear of obstacles. You should restrict access to stairs or slippery surfaces for a while.

3. Preparing the Family

Talk to the kids. If you have young children, explain the situation to them. Help them understand the importance of giving the pet space and being gentle during recovery.

Assign duties. Make it a family effort. Assign tasks like administering medication, feeding, or gentle playtime to different family members. This ensures everyone’s involvement and the pets’ consistent care.

4. Dietary Considerations

Pre-surgery fasting. Most surgeries require fasting, so follow the vet’s guidelines about withholding food and water before the procedure.

Post-surgery diet. Your vet might initially recommend a special diet or smaller, more frequent meals. Stick to these guidelines and monitor for any digestive upsets.

5. Aftercare Essentials

Wound care. Regularly check the surgical site for signs of infection or complications. If the wound does not appear to be improving after 5 days, call your veterinarian.

Request KeraVet Gel. Unlike a traditional E-collar, which only works to keep the pet away from the surgical site, KeraVet Gel deters licking behavior as well as manages the wound. KeraVet Gel provides a moist wound environment that supports positive healing outcomes, while the added lick deterrent discourages self-harming behavior. To break the animal lick cycle, it’s recommended that the KeraVet Gel be applied as needed on day one. Following day one, if applied regularly to deter licking, you can continue to apply it every 4 to 6 hours for continued wound management. 

Pain management. Administer pain relief as prescribed. If you feel your pet is unusually uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s essential not to give extra medications or human drugs.

Physical activity. Limit strenuous activities and follow the vet’s recommendations on when your pet can return to their regular playful self.

While daunting, the journey of your pet’s surgery is a testament to the lengths we go to for ensuring their well-being. Remember, with your unwavering love, combined with expert veterinary care, your pet will weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side. Always lean on the advice of your trusted veterinarian and know that every step you take is one step closer to a healthier, happier life for your beloved companion.

Learn more about KeraVet Bio Lead Medical Advisor, Dr. Cherice Roth, MS, DVM, by visiting her on LinkedIn.