Surgery aftercare at home

General instructions

The patient has been anesthetized for surgery. When the animal wakes up a after surgery, its body temperature is low. This can cause shivering. If the animal is asleep when it leaves the clinic, it should rest in a warm, dry place with no draft. The animal is placed on its side, for example on a mattress on the floor, and it should be covered. The head must be stretched and the tongue should be out to make sure the airways are open and the animal can breathe.

“Accidents” may occur, because after narcosis the sphincters of the bowels and bladder may not be fully functional and the animal may be unable to control itself. Therefore, the animal should be placed somewhere where these accidents do not cause problems. You should watch that the patient starts to urinate, and later defecate, normally.

Inhalation anaesthesia

Sometimes the procedures are performed under inhalation anaesthesia, which means that Your pet was breathing an oxygen and gas mixture through a tube in its trachea. The tube may irritate the airways and the pet may exhibit couching and similar symptoms. The symptoms will pass during a day or two.


Food and water should be offered only after the dog is fully awake after the surgery. After the post-surgery confusion, the pet might swallow food or water “down the wrong pipe”. Because the gastrointestinal tract is empty, food should be given in small amounts many times during the day. Do not exceed the recommended amount of food per day. If the animal has been in surgery in the morning, a few small meals can be served in the evening. Otherwise, start feeding the following day. The dry food the pet is used to should be soaked.

In the mornings You can give Levolac-mixture to ease defecation. You can buy the mixture from the pharmacy without a prescription. For dogs, the dosage is 2,5-5,0 ml/10 kg once in the morning and also in the evening is necessary. The next day the amount of food can be increased and served in four smaller meals. After a few days You can go back to the normal feeding rhythm.

If You want, You can give light home-cooked food or easily digestible commercial food. Your vet can give You instructions for feeding the patient.

Aftercare of the wound

The animal must not lick or damage the surgery wound. This can be prevented by an e-collar that Your vet will give You. The collar should be worn at least up until the stitches have been removed. The wound should be rinsed with warm water for 5-10 minutes at a time at least twice a day up until the stitches are removed. The wound should be rinsed also after the area has gotten dirty, e.g. after going outside. After rinsing, the area should be dried carefully and antibiotic cream should be applied onto the irritated area (for example, Terra-Poly cream). If Your dog has long fur, the tail can be covered with gauze to protect the wound and help keep it clean.

Going outside and exercise

Rough and quick movements should be avoided 10-14 days after surgery. All exercise should be limited to walking on a leash. After going outside, rinse and dry the wound and apply cream.

Removal of stitches and control

The stitches may come undone during a few day, e.g. when the dog is defecating. Therefore, it is important to make sure the wound stays clean and to rinse it regularly. The stitches will be removed in approximately 10 days. Although the wound is stitched with absorbable sutures, they should be removed to avoid skin irritation. Also, the wound and healing can be examined at the same time. You can make the appointment for stitch removal when picking up the animal, or by calling the clinic phone number. Removal of stitches is included in the price of the surgery.


When the patient is healing well and seems healthy, it may be tempting to stop the medication, especially if the animal is reluctant to take the medication. However, stopping the antibiotics can lead to the birth of resistant bacterial strains, which may be difficult to treat in the future. Therefore, it is important that the prescribed medicine is regularly given to the animal and the course of antibiotics is finished.

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