How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Recover After Surgery?

Dog to Recover After Surgery

When your dog has surgery, you naturally want to know how long it will take them to get better. Just like people, dogs need time to heal after an operation. In this guide, we’ll talk about how long it usually takes dogs to recover from surgery. Here on the Parliament Animal Hospital we’ll also look at what factors can shorten the recovery time and share some practical tips to help your furry friend bounce back to their happy self.

recover time after surgery

What to Expect When Your Dog’s Recovering from Surgery?

When a dog has surgery, recovery typically happens in stages:

Right After Surgery (0-24 Hours)

Immediately after surgery, your dog will probably feel groggy from the anesthesia. They might find it a bit tricky to stand or walk. During this time, your job is to keep them comfortable and relaxed.

Veterinary staff will keep a close eye on your dog. They’ll make sure your pet is recovering well from the anesthesia.

The First Few Days (1-3 Days)

Your dog might feel pain and discomfort in the first few days after surgery. Your vet will give you pain relief medication, and it’s important to give it to your dog as instructed.

Your dog’s appetite might decrease during this time. You can offer them small, easy-to-eat meals and make sure they always have access to fresh water. Keep an eye on the surgical area for any signs of infection, like redness, swelling, or discharge.

The First Week (3-7 Days)

As the first week passes, your dog should start getting stronger. You may notice that they can move better and are more interested in food. But remember, it’s still crucial to keep them calm and not let them overexert themselves.

Usually, the stitches or staples used to close the surgical incision will need to be removed within 7-14 days. Your vet will let you know when and how to do this.

Beyond the First Week (7+ Days)

After the first week, recovery time can vary a lot. Some dogs might return to their normal selves within a few weeks, while others might take several months to fully recover.

Recovery often means things like your dog can move around comfortably, they have a good appetite, and their overall behaviour is back to normal. Remember, each dog is unique, so their recovery time may differ from another dog’s.

What Affects Dog Surgery Recovery Time?

Several things can make your dog’s recovery time longer:

The Type of Surgery

The more complicated the surgery, the longer the recovery. Simple surgeries like spaying or neutering usually have shorter recovery times. But surgeries like fixing a broken bone or repairing a torn ligament might take longer.

For some surgeries, your dog might need physical therapy or other special care during recovery.

Age and Health

Young, healthy dogs tend to recover faster than older dogs or those with existing health problems. Older dogs and those with chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease might take longer to heal.

time that Dog Recover After Surgery

How Well You Take Care of Your Dog?

Your role as a pet owner is important during recovery. Following the vet’s instructions carefully is a big help. This includes giving your dog the right medicines, keeping an eye on their wound, and ensuring they’re comfortable.

Any Complications

Sometimes, unexpected issues can arise during or after surgery, making recovery take longer. These problems might include infections, unusual swelling, or trouble with the surgical site.

Being ready for these setbacks and talking to your vet if you’re worried can make a big difference.

Post-Surgery Care for Dogs and Tips for a Smooth Recovery 

Here are some straightforward tips to help your dog recover smoothly:

Make a Comfortable Spot: Create a cozy, quiet place for your dog to rest and heal. Keep them away from noisy or busy areas. Their favourite blanket or bed can make them feel more secure.

Follow Medication Instructions: Give your dog the medicine your vet prescribes exactly as they tell you to. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Finish the whole course of medicine, even if your dog seems better.

Watch Their Eating and Drinking: Ensure your dog eats and drinks enough. If they’re not interested in food, contact your vet. Your dog needs good nutrition and hydration to heal.

Stop Licking or Chewing: Use an Elizabethan collar (sometimes called the “cone of shame”) to stop your dog from licking or chewing its surgery site. It keeps them from causing complications or infections.

Keep the Incision Clean and Dry: Do what your vet says about cleaning the wound. Keeping it clean and dry is crucial to prevent infections. If you notice any strange changes, call your vet right away.

Slowly Bring Back Activity: Don’t rush your dog back into their regular activities. Gradually let them start playing and exercising again, following your vet’s advice. Too much activity too soon can slow down the healing process.

Keep Talking to Your Vet: During the recovery process, stay in close contact with your vet. They’ll guide you on how your dog is doing, any needed follow-up appointments, and when it’s safe to return to normal activities.

Remember, every dog’s recovery journey is unique. While this guide gives a general idea, your vet will give specific instructions based on your dog’s surgery and individual needs.

Sum Up

The time it takes for a dog to recover after surgery can vary. But by understanding the different stages of recovery and what can affect the process, you can play a big part in helping your furry friend get back to their best self.

Your vet is your best source of guidance through all of this, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Your dog can look forward to a happy and healthy life after surgery with your love, care, and patience. As you continue giving them the best care, you’ll see their incredible strength and amazing healing ability, ensuring a brighter and healthier future together.

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