Adding a New Puppy to Your Family

Tips For Helping Your Dog Recover From Abdominal Surgery

by Arttu Kari

If your dog was hit by a car and had to have emergency abdominal surgery, then it is important that you know how to care for him when he gets home. You will likely be surprised how fast your dog can heal from major surgery, but proper care during their first few days at home is vital to prevent post-surgical complications. To keep your dog on the path to recovery, follow these time-tested tips:

Tip: Keep Your Dog Contained in a Crate or Dog Carrier

Though you may think of your dog being in prison when they are contained in a crate, this is not how your dog looks at the situation. Dogs in the wild dig dens to sleep in and domesticated dogs feel safe and secure when they are in a small space. In the days following your dog's accident and subsequent surgery, place them into a crate so they will be forced to rest and not run around in your home. 

Tip: Offer Your Dog Food and Water According to Your Veterinarian's Specific Guidelines

Since your dog had abdominal surgery, it is important that you offer them food and water according to the instructions your veterinarian gave you just prior to bringing your dog home. For some types of surgery, this will include only feeding soft foods or limiting the amount of food given for a couple of days.

Tip: Keep Your Dog's Surgical Site Clean

Twice each day, take a good look at your dog's surgical site. Check for bleeding and pus coming out of the incision. As long as the surgical site looks clean, then you should not need to do anything for it. However, if there is dried blood or dirt around the incision, then you should clean it with a soft, moist cloth. Keeping your dog's incision clean is the best way to prevent post-operative infections.

Tip: Watch for Danger Signs and Contact Your Veterinarian Immediately if there is a Post-Operative Complication

In the first couple of days home from the animal hospital, you need to watch your dog closely for any signs of post-operative complications or other health problems. Some of the things you need to watch out for include:

  • bleeding or pus at the surgical site
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy

Additionally, if your dog is not eating or drinking water, then this is one of the first signs of a problem.

Finally, if you notice any of these signs or your dog starts acting differently than usual, you should contact your animal hospital immediately.