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Your Pet’s Recovery After a Surgery

While it is standard for a pet to feel sleepy and act more lethargic within a day post-surgery, it can seem strange at first. Keep in mind that your pet may be subdued during this time and could exhibit a lack of appetite...

Nicole McCray · November 09, 2021

Your Pet’s Recovery After a Surgery

When your pet undergoes surgery, it can be a stressful time for us as pet parents. Unfortunately, we cannot always detect when our pets are in pain, and it’s alarming to discover that they need to have surgery for their ailments. 

Often, you may not always think about what comes after your pet has surgery, and that’s the recovery care, which includes adequate recovery time and ensuring your pet’s wellbeing. As pet parents, it’s our job to make sure to take care of and help our pets during their recovery. 

Being prepared ahead of time will help you feel less anxious or concerned about your pet’s care once they have had surgery. Pets need rest and relaxation in order to heal and avoid unnecessary complications. 

Post-operative care can vary depending on many factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Breed
  • Type of Surgery

While it is standard for a pet to feel sleepy and act more lethargic within a day post-surgery, it can seem strange at first. Keep in mind that your pet may be subdued during this time and could exhibit a lack of appetite, but it is not something to worry about right away. Typically pets don’t eat within a day or two. However, if you notice that your pet still isn’t eating after a couple of days, you should consult your veterinarian.
That goes for any questions you might have during and after your pet’s surgery - don’t fret about asking your veterinarian about any concerns you have. And while you should follow your vet’s post-op instructions, there are some simple things that you can do to help care for your pet post-surgery that will speed up recovery and healing.

Medications and Home Remedies

Many prescribed medications after surgery tend to be antibiotics so that your pet doesn’t get an infection. There may also be pain medication to help relieve discomfort. Bond Vet in NYC advises pet parents to be sure to consult with your veterinarian and understand with clarity how often and how many times your pet needs to take medication. There may be other things that you have to do besides provide your pet with its medication, such as applying warm compresses or ice packs to the surgery site. But, again, like with drugs, you should find out how often and how long to keep compresses on the site.If you would rather your pet not utilize pain medication or want to know if there are alternate homemade remedies you can provide your pet, make sure to discuss this with your vet. Some ingredients found in household remedies that humans may use are not always as safe for our pets, so it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to ensure your pet’s safety. There may also be a restricted food diet that is put into place after surgery, so be sure to adhere to it. You may be tempted to feed your pet table scraps or treats to help it feel better, but this could prolong recovery time or cause other damage.


Your veterinarian most likely will recommend that you confine your pet to a room or even a crate during their recovery time. Restriction of movement is necessary not to pull on any stitches or healing sites. Keeping your pet in one area in this fashion will also help speed up healing time. If you can, keep the crate or have your pet in an area where you or a member of the family/household will be most of the time. Being there for your pet will help to keep him calm and comforted. When you take your pet outside, be sure to have a leash and keep bathroom breaks to a minimum. You don’t want your pet to do a lot of movement or jumping that could irritate any surgery sites.

Pay Attention to Incision Sites

While pet owners often aren’t required to clean an incision, you may have to redress one or just leave it alone during recovery. Make sure you follow your veterinarian’s post-op instructions when it comes to bandaging or leaving the incision unbandaged for healing. Watch the incision as well. If you notice that it is getting dirty, you can gently wipe or pat it with warm water. However, if you notice that it looks irritated, your pet is scratching at it, it becomes red, or is oozing - consult your doctor because this could be a sign of infection. Your pet may be prone to licking at  their incision to heal it; if you can, please refrain your pet from doing so, as it can cause sores or infection. In addition, you might have to bandage or invest in a cone for your pet’s head so that it doesn’t try to lick the surgery site.


Pets often need to return for a follow-up visit with a veterinarian. Usually, staples or sutures will be removed during this visit, and your pet will be examined to ensure that healing is going well. In some cases, X-rays or other tests may be necessary. If physical therapy is required, it is a necessary process to help improve your pet’s mobility. Treatment may include regular massage and movement but could also involve hydrotherapy or electric stimulation of the muscles. Our pets do not always understand when they are going through recovery, and sometimes they can seem frustrated at their decreased level of activity. Be sure to provide your pet with stimulation, as well as a lot of love and care during this time. Help prevent boredom by giving it toys or treats that won’t require a lot of movement. Stroking them and cuddling with them is the best way to let them know that they are loved and cared for by you. 


Nicole McCray

Nicole McCray

Sometimes, your regular creative content just isn’t cutting. And when this happens, you realize it might be time to enlist the help of someone who secretly (to her kids) is a word ninja! Yes, that’s me. I’m the word ninja and I’m your covert agent behind the scenes that can captivate your audience. -Guest Author-


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