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How to Care For Your Dog After Surgery

By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President

As a pet parent, it’s always difficult when your dog has to go through surgery. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a minor procedure or a major one…there’s always a certain amount of trepidation and worry.

While you can’t control the surgery itself, you can help your pup get back on his paws by providing gentle, loving, attentive care at home afterwards. Follow your veterinarian’s post-op instructions carefully, and keep these tips in mind:

Ask questions
Before leaving the hospital, make sure you understand what to expect in the hours and days that follow. Go over the post-op instructions and any medications in person with your vet or a vet tech and ask for clarification where necessary. Once you get home, don’t hesitate to call the clinic if you need further information or have concerns.

Encourage calm

Often pets will be put on restricted activity, at least for a short time, after surgery. This may not be a problem if your dog is still groggy, elderly or had major surgery. But if your pup is one who bounces right back, look for ways to keep him occupied and calm. For example, offer a project toy, like a Kong filled with peanut butter and kibble. When going out to potty, keep him on a 4- or 6-foot leash, never a retractable one. And if all else fails, confine him to a crate or small room with comfy bedding and soothing music.

Keep an eye on the incision site
To prevent infection, keep incisions dry. Gently clean with a saline solution if it becomes dirty; otherwise, leave it alone. Discourage your dog from licking the incision, and use a “cone” if he seems to be bothering it too much. Check the site daily for signs of infection, including swelling, oozing, pus, redness, heat, bad odor, loose or missing staples or stitches, or cuts. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these.

Carefully monitor eating and drinking

Don’t worry if your pup refuses food or water the first day of surgery. He may be tired or queasy from the anesthesia. Leave out fresh, clean water for him and offer small bites of food. If he is still not interested after 24 hours, notify your vet.

Watch for signs of pain

Depending upon the type of surgery, your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication. Preventing pain will help your dog heal faster, so follow the medication instructions exactly. Signs of pain in your pup may be subtle, so carefully observe him for behaviors like panting, yelping, agitation, inability to rest or hiding.

Ask Your Vet about Voyce Pro

No matter how dedicated you are, it can be difficult to know exactly what your pet is feeling or experiencing after surgery. That’s why we developed the Voyce Pro Wellness Monitoring Program™. By remotely accessing data collected by the Voyce Health Monitor your dog wears around his neck, your veterinary team can quickly assess his progress and comfort level at home. Steps can then be taken to proactively modify therapies to more quickly get him on the road to recovery.

I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to

Voyce™ is the future of pet health. A revolutionary Health Monitor and Wellness Management System for every stage of your dog's life.​


Posted on Feb 25, 2016 by VOYCE Health
Vets & Experts