Post-Operative Instructions for Dogs


Your dog has had major surgery. His complete recovery depends on you following these instructions.

Your dog has had general anesthesia. He may feel sleepy and unsteady on his feet for the next 12-24 hours. You can offer food when you get home, but sometimes they aren’t interested. His appetite should return to normal within 24 hours. Please do not change your dog’s diet; do not give junk food, table scraps, milk or other people food during the recovery period since doing so could mask post-surgical complications.

You will need to restrict your dog’s activity for the next 10 days. He should be kept primarily indoors where he can stay clean, dry and warm. It is important that he be kept quiet; no running, jumping or other strenuous activity. Your dog must be walked on a leash when outside. No running loose. No baths for two weeks. For the first day following surgery, keep your dog separate from other animals and small children, and do not allow him on a bed or other high places.

Please look at his incision site daily. There are no external stitches to be removed. There should not be any drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. As the wound heals, there may be a firm lump under the skin from the internal absorbable sutures as they break down. There is surgical glue on the skin which will also dissolve. Do not allow your dog to lick or chew at the incision site. If this occurs, an Elizabethan collar or a taste deterrent product such as “Bitter Apple” must be used.

Your dog has been sent home with post-op pain medication. Do not give medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, tylenol or other pain relievers.

All vaccinations, except rabies, need to be boostered in 3-4 weeks. Vaccinations are not a guarantee that your pet will not contract diseases.

Please contact our clinic, your regular Veterinarian, or an Emergency clinic if any of the following occur:

  • lethargy lasting more than 24 hours
  • loss of appetite for more than 24 hours
  • labored breathing
  • discharge or bleeding
  • difficulty urinating or defecating
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • severe pain, depression or weakness

If there are any questions or concerns related to surgery, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic (540-868-0000). For emergencies after-hours, please contact your regular Veterinarian or one of the following emergency facilities:

  • Valley Veterinary Emergency & Referral Center Winchester, VA 540-662-7811
  • The Life Center Leesburg, VA 703-777-5755