Post surgery recovery and aftercare for dogs and cats

By Dr. Cherice Roth, KeraVet Bio Lead Medical Advisor

Dogs may need to undergo many standard surgical procedures to maintain a healthy life as they age. Most of these surgeries are quick, and the dog can go home the same day. However, once the dog is home, the pet parent must review the post-surgical information the vet sent home with them.

The following pet health advice will help pet parents adequately prepare for their dog or cats’ surgical recovery.

Before the pet comes home from surgery, the pet parent should ensure that their pet has a safe and comfortable place to rest in a quiet area. If the home has multiple pets, measures should be taken to keep the other pets away from the dog. Other pets may instinctively try to lick the pets’ incision site — which could lead to an infection.

Pet parents also need to plan to stay home and monitor their pet for at least 24 hours after the surgery. The 24 to 48 hours after surgery is when surgical-related health problems are most likely to occur. While the pet parent monitors their pet, they should also take the following precautions to ensure it has no post-surgical complications.

Post-Spay-and-Neuter Care

Most vet clinics do an abundance of spay and neuter surgeries every year. However, just because they are common surgeries doesn’t mean complications don’t happen. If a problem does occur, it’s usually an infection. Thankfully, there are many precautions pet parents can take to help prevent the incision site from getting infected:

  • Cone/Collar Alternative:  Gone are the days of using the cone of shame as a part of routine surgery recovery. Pet parents should request prescription KeraVet Gel as an alternative to protect the incision from licking and support better, faster wound outcomes.
  • Medications: When the pet comes home from surgery, it will likely still feel the effects of the anesthesia and pain medicine the vet gave them. Pet Parents will likely be given pain medication to give their pet. The vet clinic staff will review the medication instructions, and it’s vital that the pet parent adheres to them and doesn’t give their dog the wrong dosage.
  • Exercise: Exercise and playtime should be restricted for two weeks to prevent the incision from tearing open.

Post-Dental Surgery

Dental surgeries are most common in older pets and include teeth extractions. As pets age, their teeth are prone to decay. The post-surgical care after dental surgery is the same as other post-surgical care, except the dog should also be fed soft food for at least a week.

Additional Dog Advice

Pet parents should call their vet immediately if they suspect their pet has a post-surgical health complication. Signs of a problem include not eating or drinking for 24 hours after surgery.

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