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How to Care for Your Dog After Surgery

When your dog requires surgery, it can be an anxious moment for both you and your four-legged friend. You want to do anything you can to make your pup’s recovery as comfortable as possible. In this blog, we will explore some ways in which you can best support your dog during surgery recovery, from getting your dog home, to food and making your home more accessible for your pup. 

Always Follow Doctor’s Orders

Your veterinarian’s directions will always be the most important step in your dog’s surgery recovery. It is essential to follow your vet’s guidelines when it comes to medication, wound care, and recovery practices. You may need to change bandages, administer pain medication, or feed your dog a special diet. If your dog is sent home with a cone to prevent licking, it is crucial to keep the cone on for wound healing, even if your dog is less than thrilled to be wearing it.  Your vet will also likely tell you to limit the activity of your dog and observe them very closely for the first 12 hours after they return home. 

If you ever have any questions during the recovery process, it is always best to consult your veterinarian. Your dog will likely have a follow-up appointment with the vet to check on their recovery. These appointments, of course, are very important to attend. 

Getting Your Dog Home

Depending on your dog’s mobility after surgery, it can be quite difficult to load them into the car for the journey home. If your dog is a small breed, you’ll likely be able to pick them up and place them in your vehicle. If your dog is much larger, it can be much more challenging. Your dog will either not be able to jump into the vehicle, or should be refrained from jumping during the healing process. However, lifting your large dog can risk potential injuries to both you and your dog, especially if your dog starts squirming. 

The safest and easiest way to get your dog into your car after surgery is with the assistance of a pet ramp. Pet ramps, like the folding PetStep ramp, can be propped up on the edge of a vehicle’s rear or side door to help your dog enter the car. Once you arrive home, the stoop or steps leading up to your front door can be daunting for your dog who isn’t able to tap into their full ability. The PetStep ramp can also be used over the short series of steps or stoop to allow your dog to walk over them at a gradual slop instead of needing to climb them. 

Nourishing Food

As mentioned previously, it is essential to follow your vet’s directions when it comes to food. Since anesthesia can cause lethargy and nausea in the 24 hours following the procedure, your dog’s eating habits will be a bit abnormal. You can offer your dog their normal meals, but they might be keener to eating a bland meal that is gentler on the stomach like rice and boiled chicken. This can also help if your dog is experiencing any stomach upset following the surgery. 

Proper nutrition after surgery is important

A call to your vet is warranted if your dog refuses to eat anything for longer than 24 hours since they’ve returned home. 

In general, it is very important for your dog to eat nutritious food while they are recovering. This means their regular diet sans table scraps, treats, or bones that can irritate their stomach and are less than nutritious.

Ensuring Safety & Comfort at Home

Not only can the anesthesia cause lethargy, dizziness, and nausea that can make your pup uncomfortable, the whole ordeal of undergoing surgery can be quite stressful on your dog. Your dog will likely experience some pain or discomfort at the surgery site. In response, you’re going to want to make your dog as comfortable as possible once they return home. 

Because your vet will likely limit the physical activity of your dog, it is best to start by barricading staircases so your dog cannot access them. Since your dog isn’t feeling 100% yet, going up and down the stairs can cause a potential fall or damage to your dog’s stitches. Once your dog has been confined to a smaller area for both their safety and observation, it is time to make it more comfortable. Place plenty of blankets around the room so your pup will have multiple places to lie down and relax. Pillows can add some comfort too! Depending on your vet’s aftercare instructions, you may also need to prevent your dog from jumping onto any couches or beds for a while. 

Dog using folding ramp to get onto bed after surgery

Making Home More Accessible

While making your home safer and more comfortable for your dog, you must also address how accessible it is. If curling up on the couch is your pup’s favorite chill spot, they’ll be missing it while recovering. Since recovery doesn’t happen overnight and your dog will be slowly gaining their mobility back, a pet ramp can be used to improve the recovery process by making your pup’s favorite furniture like couches or beds more accessible. Simply prop the edge of the PetStep ramp on the couch or bed and your dog will then have a gentle slope to climb instead of needing to jump. The ramp can also be used to help your dog over the back stoop or steps when they need to go outside to relieve themselves. Being foldable and portable, the ramp can be used all over the house to make it more accessible to your dog during recovery. 

If It’s For Your Dog, It’s Always Worth It 

As dog lovers, we know just how important a human-canine bond is. Firstly, we want to commend you for seeking more information on how to make your pup’s surgery recovery more comfortable. At PetStep, dogs are our business and we aim to provide both products and education to make the lives of dogs and their humans better! Whether you’re using your PetStep ramp to help your dog access the car, pool, or furniture, we want to provide a high-quality solution that you can count on for years to come. Lastly, we want to wish your dog a speedy recovery from their surgery and hope that our PetStep ramp makes their recovery that much easier. 

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