Home care is an important part of patient health. Read the information below to find out how you can help keep your pet happy and healthy both before and after a surgery.
Caring for a Pre-Operative Patient
At home, you can help prepare your pet for their procedure by doing the following:
- Introduce your pet to the cone collar. If your pet is familiar with the cone collar, this will decrease their stress and disorientation after their surgery.
- Introduce your pet to their carrier. This will help them to feel safer when it’s time to go home, and decrease post-op stress.
- Fast your pet. Ensure your pet has no food or water after midnight the night before their surgery.
- Send your pet with a care package consisting of their carrier, a towel or blanket that smells like home, a favorite toy, and a collar or harness (pets should never leave home without their collar/harness and ID tag).
Caring for a Post-Operative Patient
At home, you can help your pet recover from their procedure by doing the following:
- Ensure the cone collar stays on. This is one of the most important things after your pet’s spay or neuter procedure. If a pet licks their incision, they can irritate, re-open, or infect it, which can lead to antibiotics, a second procedure, and potentially hospitalization. The cone needs to stay on until the external stitches are removed or 14 days, whichever happens last.
- Feed less in the first few days. Anesthesia can make your pet nauseous, so they may vomit if given too much food after a procedure. Feed ¼ to ½ of the normal amount of food in the first night and work up to more over the next 2 days.
- Watch your pet closely for 24-48 hours. The anesthesia will wear off after two days, but until then your pet could be disoriented and needs to be kept warm. Also ensure the incision site is clean and dry.
- Restrict activity. Pain medication will make your pet feel fine, but they should not jump, run, or play immediately after their surgery. Treat your pet like they should be on bed rest for the first few days, then slowly increase activity for the recovery period (14 days for most routine procedures).