After Surgery Care For Your Pet
It’s never easy when your pet has to have surgery. Even in the safe hands of our vets, we can’t help but worry about our four-legged friends. However, once your pet is home there are various things you can do to help them recover.
Always listen to your vet’s advice after surgery and if there are any concerns to always speak to them first. The following advice is based on our own personal experiences and is certainly not a replacement for qualified veterinary treatment.
Create A Safe Place For Your Pet
Recovering from anaesthetic is not always a pleasant experience and this is the same for our pets. They will often feel the side effects for sometime after the procedure, and this can result in them feeling a bit disorientated or anxious.
Creating a safe place for your pet to retreat to and recover can be really helpful in this sort of situation. You can do this in all sorts of ways, and I usually set up my dog’s favourite bed along with a soft blanket in a secluded but warm part of the house. If your dog is already crate trained, then you can use their crate to create a safe place (but be sure to keep the door open so your dog can still seek you out if they need comfort after their operation).
For cats, you can again use their favourite bed in their favourite spot to create a safe area or why not try a cardboard box padded out with blankets by a radiator, as we all know how much cats adore cardboard boxes! Essentially, the end goal is to create a comfy quiet space where your pet can relax and not worry about external stressors.
Some other things worth considering:
- Have quiet music playing nearby. This will help muffle out general household sounds and certain music has been confirmed to have a calming effect on animals.
- If you have children or other animals, encourage them to keep their distance from the safe space. This gives your pet a choice on whether they wish to interact with others, or simply relax.
- Warmth is important. Pets are often a bit cold when they come home after surgery, so ensure their safe space is located near a radiator, fireplace, or in a generally warm part of the house. Just ensure they do not overheat at the same time!
Plan Their Next Meals In Advance
Our vet always recommends a meal of chicken and rice after surgery. Chicken is one of the most gentle protein sources you can offer your pet, and rice can help settle the stomach after the use of anaesthetic. If your pet has a rice allergy, you can just feed them plain cooked or raw chicken (depending on what they are already used to), and if your pet cannot eat chicken, tripe or whitefish are excellent alternatives.
If you are unable to or don’t wish to prepare a home-made meal yourself, there are plenty of suitable alternatives. It is best to feed wet food (or raw food if they are on a raw diet already) at least for the first one to two meals after surgery. After that, you can judge whether your pet is ready to return to a normal diet based on their bowel movements.
Personally, we use Scrumbles’ wet food as it comes in three gentle flavours and has added slippery elm to aid in digestion and help calm upset stomachs.
Other great alternatives to consider include:
- Barking Heads Bowl Lickin’ Chicken Wet Food
- Barking Heads Pooched Salmon Wet Food
- Fish4Dogs Wet Complete Mackerel
- Ziwi Peak Dog Moist Free-Range Chicken
- Applaws Pouch Chicken Breast With Wild Rice
- Lily’s Kitchen Cat Whisker Lickin’ Chicken
- Thrive Complete 100% Chicken Breast
- Ziwi Peak Cat Moist Free-Range Chicken
These foods all have minimal ingredients and contain gentle proteins such as chicken or fish
Provide Lots of TLC
One of the most important things your pet may need is some care and attention. They won’t necessarily understand what has happened to them or why they are feeling the way they do.
Especially with more needy or affectionate pets, some extra attention may help comfort them after their surgery and make them feel a bit more at ease once they have returned home. If your pet isn’t one for cuddles or strokes, simply being near them so they know you are there can still make a massive difference.
If you have provided your pet with a safe place as mentioned above, this will allow them to choose whether they want companionship or peace and quiet. This can make it easier for us to provide them with whichever comfort they need.
These are just some of our preferred ways to help our pets after surgery, but here are some other ideas you can try:
- Install a calming pet diffuser at least a week before the surgery.
- Non-strenuous puzzle feeders to help keep your pet occupied after surgery.