How to Prep Your Dog for Surgery

No one wants to be told that their dog requires surgery. It is critical to understand that our veterinarians do not make this suggestion carelessly. Today, our Sacramento vets discuss surgeries in dogs, how to prepare for surgery, and even dog care after surgery.

When it comes to your dog, canine surgical procedures are divided into two categories: elective procedures and those that are obligatory. We believe it is critical that you understand why a surgical procedure is being advised and that you can make informed decisions about your dog's health.

Common Dog Surgeries

Some of the most common elective surgeries in dogs include:

  • Spay/Neuter
  • Dental extractions
  • Benign growths of the skin

Some of the more urgent care surgeries for dogs include:

  • Skin lacerations or abscesses
  • Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
  • Fracture repair
  • Malignant skin tumors
  • Bladder stones/urethral blockages
  • Spleen cancer

In most of these situations, a dog would need emergency surgery to save their life.

Preparing Your Dog for Surgery

Excluding emergency cases, your dog will be examined by the veterinarian to confirm that they are healthy and ready for surgery. If your pet is overweight, the vet may suggest a weight-loss regimen. Carrying additional weight raises the dangers of general anesthesia and may make it difficult for your pet to move about after surgery.

It is often recommended to have your pet bathed or groomed in the week leading up to surgery so that they are clean and ready for surgery. You'll need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog or cat won't be able to be groomed for a period after surgery.

The vet may order radiographs and ultrasounds before the surgery so the surgeon can make plans for how to approach your dog's specific case.

Have a transportation plan ahead of time, based on the type of surgery your pet will undergo and their expected level of mobility after the procedure. Your pet may need to be carried to your vehicle and from your vehicle to your home. arrange for someone to help you if you don't feel capable of doing it yourself. If you are unsure about the best way to transport your pet home after surgery, consult with your veterinarian. If your pet will need crate rest, have an appropriately sized crate ready for when they return home after surgery. Make sure that your dog has enough room to lay down, stand up, and turn around with water and food dishes in the crate.

You might be wondering if a dog can have water before surgery or if dogs should eat before surgery. In most cases, you will be asked not to feed or drink anything to your pet after midnight the night before their surgery. If your dog is on medication, consult with your veterinarian about whether you should withhold the medication until after the procedure. Some veterinarians may also request that you bring your pet to the veterinary hospital overnight.

Check in with the staff at reception and ensure that they have your correct phone number so that they can keep you updated while your dog is in their care. Try to arrive on time and stay calm and relaxed while dropping off your dog. Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing before surgery to ensure that your pet does not face any additional anesthetic risks.

Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery

Understanding how to care for your dog after the surgery is critical to assist them in returning to their routine as soon as possible. Following vet instructions is critical to a safe and successful recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, please clarify there are no dumb questions if it helps your dog recover. Depending on the procedure, you may be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon or the surgery may be performed in-house.

Following surgery, your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite. Try serving a half-size portion of a light meal. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of their operation. If your dog hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may prescribe pain relievers or medications for your dog following surgery to help with post-surgery discomfort or pain. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain while your dog recovers. Never give human medications to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian because a large amount of human medicine is toxic for dogs.

Most vets will recommend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.

If you are unable to provide direct supervision, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture. If your dog is recovering from orthopedic surgery, they may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as the recovery process progresses.

Your dog will likely have to wear an e-collar (a.k.a. the cone of shame). If your dog is excessively agitated by the e-collar talk to your vet about alternatives such as a surgical onesie or a donut collar.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Sacramento vets to book an appointment to see about your dogs surgery.