· Take your time lifting and moving the pet, especially if he required abdominal or orthopedic surgery.
· Provide a clean litter box with low sides for cats. Take dogs outside to go to the bathroom because they will most likely have full bladders due to receiving intravenous fluids.
· Offer a cozy, confined area for the pet, especially during the first 24 hours after surgery. Depending on the size and temperament, confine the pet to a carrier or quiet bedroom, away from noise, distractions and interaction by other pets in the household. Provide a thick towel or pet bed to take stress off joints.
· Play soothing music to calm the pet. Spend quiet time together without a lot of handling.
· Consider using veterinarian-approved heating pads or placing hot water bottles inside a towel or sock for a pet having trouble maintaining their normal body temperature. Consult your veterinarian first.
· Offer bottled water in a bowl when the pet returns home; after a few hours, offer a small amount of food.
· Pet-proof your home to remove potential hazards or obstacles that may injure the pet in the days following the operation. Install gates to keep a pet from accessing stairs.
· Prevent pets from licking wounds by fitting them with new-generation of surgical recovery collars like Trimline that enable them to eat, drink and sleep in comfort. Licking wounds can increase the risk of infecton.
· Ease re-introduction of the recovering pet to other household pets who may be overly excited by their return or confused by their strange smells due to their veterinary stay. Some pets may hiss or growl at first. Counter that by taking a slightly damp towel and rubbing it on both pets to exchange scents.
Signs to Call the Vet
· Persistent redness
· Increased swelling
· Discharge, bleeding or an odor from the incision
· Refusal to eat after 24 hours
· Persistent licking or chewing at sutures
· Missing sutures or visible gap near the edges of the incision
By Sarah Zumhofe