Post Surgery Aftercare

by Nancy Boland

Most vets send home detailed post-procedure care instructions after an anaesthetic procedure. Most are common sense and very simple but it’s still important to be aware of any potential risks and really understand general post-procedure care. Please call your veterinarian with specific questions about your pet’s recovery.


Keep Calm

Dogs all react to anaesthesia differently. Some will be very subdued and even depressed for a few days, while others will be completely restless and unsettled. Regardless of the way your dog reacts, keeping him calm the first 24 hours will speed anaesthetic recovery.



When your dog is groggy, they may have trouble maintaining normal body heat. Keeping your dog in a warm, quiet environment where you can keep your eye on them is very important, especially if they are feeling somewhat disturbed from the anaesthetic. Home comforts will be very reassuring for them.


Monitor food and water intake

How soon your dog can eat and drink will be determined by your vet and what operation they have had. While it is encouraging to see your dog eat and drink (especially after the pre-procedure fasting), it is generally recommended that smaller portions are administered initially, otherwise an upset stomach is likely to occur.  If your dog has had oral surgery soft food in small quantities is recommended, and if your dog eats dried food it is best to soak before feeding. Some may be too sore to even want to eat very much and this is normal for the first few days.



Your dog may not be completely “with it” as far as coordination goes for hours after they are home after an anaesthetic procedure. This can result in injury from common things; such as stairs, chairs or other physical obstacles so if you are concerned keep your dog in a quiet place where they can settle.

aftercare 2


Even if your dog has been administered pain medication, he may be in some pain or discomfort as the anaesthesia begins to wear off. This can cause an overreaction to regular things, such as jumping up on the bed, being picked up, or going for a walk. Be gentle with them during their first 48 hours if they are feeling extra sensitive.


 Other Pets

Be watchful if you have any other pets in the household. Exuberant pets may be overwhelming for your dog post surgery so the excited greetings and playtime will need to wait until the anaesthesia is completely worn off and wounds, if applicable have healed. If you have other dogs that are prone to becoming over-excited make sure they have been suitably exercised for the day so have the least energy possible to provoke their excitement.


Call your vet

The first 48 hours, it is generally normal for your dog to be out of sorts. However, if your dog experiences any strange behaviour, is not managing their pain well, or is having a delayed recovery from anaesthesia, please call your vet as soon as possible for an appointment.


You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy