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Pet Parent’s Guide to Post-Operative Recovery

As a pet parent, watching your best friend struggle through a painful recovery is a difficult process. The frustration of not being able to communicate what is going on, worrying about their pain and the added worry of them reinjuring themselves are top of your mind. Here are a few ways that you can help your pet (and yourself!) navigate post-op recovery after surgery.

How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery

Your pet’s recovery time will differ depending on the type of surgery they had. Minor, routine surgeries like spaying or neutering may take a few days to recover. Whereas more major surgeries like ACL, spinal or hip surgery may mean extensive recovery time.

Communicate with Your Veterinarian and Be Prepared

Speak with your veterinarian or surgeon at length prior to your pet’s surgery. Make sure you have the time to sit and ask questions to ensure you understand all your pet’s needs. This will give you time to prepare and make sure you have everything you need before your dog comes home.

After the surgery you will be focused on your dog or cat and making sure that they’re alright. Your focus will be on your pet after surgery so ask the right questions when you’re calm and have the time to prepare yourself properly.

Know the Answers to the Following Questions:

  • How long is the recovery time? What should I expect?
  • Will there be any restrictions on my dog’s movement? (Example: No jumping or required crate rest)
  • Do I need to change my pet’s diet?
  • Are there medications? If so – What are they? How often do they need to be given?
  • Are there surgical complications to be aware of? What should I watch out for?
  • Will my pet benefit for rehabilitation post-surgery?

Taking the time to understand a little more about what your pet is going through will make sure you know what to expect and ensure you are doing everything you can for your best friend.

Be Aware of the Signs Your Pet’s in Pain

Post-operative pain and discomfort are to be expected. Your veterinarian may provide your pet with pain medication and will instruct you on how to best manage their pain. Since pets can’t vocalize their pain or tell you where it hurts, there are signs to look out for.

Signs of Pain in Dogs: Whining, sudden aggression, flinching when touched, panting or limping

Signs of Pain in Cats: sudden hiding, loss of appetite, change in behavior, or breathing faster than normal

Simple pain management tips for pets such as looking into holistic care options, rest, and providing join support to you pet can help relieve pain.

Keep Your Pet Safe and Calm

Mini Schnauzer Lola Wheelchair

Post-surgery most pets will need to be restricted for a while, with no jumping and possibly limiting walks to shorter duration at a slow pace. Your Vet will instruct you on what your pet’s recovery time will look like. More serious surgeries may require crate rest or keeping your dog safely contained in a small area where their movements can be closely monitored. For pet’s recovering from orthopedic or spinal surgery restricting your pet’s movements are vital to their healing process.

Practicing proper wound management can help speed your pet’s recovery process. Monitor the surgical site and looks for signs of infection. Swelling, redness, or oozing wounds may be cause for concern. Wounds should be kept clean and dry with regular bandage changes. If your dog is “down” for an extended period and unable to reposition themselves, be on the lookout for bed sores. These open wounds appear on high pressure and bony areas like the hip. Decubitus ulcers can be challenging to treat.

Keeping Your Pet Mobile While Saving Your Back

Once your pet is ready to stand and walk, they may be unable to bear their full weight and will likely need your help and support. Here are few ways you can give your pet the boost they need, while saving your back.

Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash

Rear support for after dog surgery

This easy-to-use support leash is perfect for pet’s recovering from ACL surgery and pets struggling to stand up on their own. The rear support leash can even be put on while your dog is lying down! Slip the leash up their legs to help your pet to stand from lying down and get them outside for quick potty breaks. The Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash is perfect to help pets to stand and walk with assistance.

Dog Wheelchair

Dog wheelchair for post surgery rehab

A wheelchair is a great addition to a pet’s post-surgical rehabilitation and can be incorporated right into their rehab routine. Allowing them to move and stay active, while maintaining their independence and rebuilding their muscle strength.

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