If your dog will be having an operation performed on them in the near future, it's important to make sure that you know how to look after them during the postoperative recovery period. Here are two tips which should help you do to this.
Keep their activity levels low
It is vital to keep your dog's activity levels to a minimum during the first week or so after their surgery. This will ensure that the tissues around the incision site have time to heal properly. If they go for a vigorous walk or are allowed to run around your home just a day or two after their operation, there is a chance that their stitches may open and their wound will take longer to close up. This, in turn, may increase the risk of infection and blood loss.
As such, it's important to confine your pet to one area of the home and to avoid taking them out for walks during the first few days after their procedure. The exact length of time they should remain inactive will depend on the type of surgery they have undergone. If you're unsure how long you should keep them confined to the house, ask an animal surgeon in your local veterinary clinic; they should be able to give you a more precise timeframe.
Monitor the incision site
It is a good idea to keep a close eye on the incision site for the first week or two after the surgery. Some minor swelling, bruising and tenderness is perfectly normal. However, if the incision site is bleeding profusely, producing pus or feels very warm to the touch, then you should contact your vet immediately, as these symptoms could indicate that the wound has become infected. If this happens, your dog may need to be given a course of antibiotics.
Additionally, if you notice that your dog is gnawing, licking or scratching the incision site, it might be worth getting a special collar for them, which will prevent them from being able to access the wound. This should help to stop them from accidentally opening up the stitches or transferring bacteria from their mouth to the incision.
Lastly, if the incision area is being protected by a bandage, do your best to keep the gauze clean at all times. If you need to bring them out into the garden for their toilet activities, wrap a waterproof plastic bag around the bandage and use tape to keep it in place for the duration of their time outdoors.