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With all their canine energy ready to go, getting post-operation instructions to keep a dog calm after surgery can feel impossible to follow, but these tips will help!
Your pup just had surgery and your vet recommends you keep them calm over the next few days. But how?!
As playful and carefree as dogs typically are, keeping them calm and relaxed is a difficult feat! Your dog wants to play and run around, and it’s so hard to say no…
While we do what we can to make our best friends happy, this is the one time we must disappoint. If you can—just for the few days or weeks necessary—keep your dog calm after surgery, you’ll have them on their way to healing properly.
- Stay calm—Your dog picks up on your mood. When you’re excited, they are even more so! So it’s important to keep calm and mellow around your pup to encourage the same behavior. When greeting your dog or giving commands, say it in a calm and soothing tone. Encourage the family to maintain that ambience.
- Keep them on the leash outside—If your dog’s able to get out to do his/her business, being leashed will help prevent unexpected “squirrel!” surges, and possible re-injury.
- Help them up and down the stairs—Dogs often leap up, and gallop down, stairs. To prevent issues like slips or falls, carry them (if they are small enough and it won’t risk you getting hurt). If they are a larger dog that’s still mobile, grab the leash and guide them. If stairs are a big “no,” block them to keep them on one level.
- No Jumping—If you allow your pal on the furniture, make an effort to break the habit while they’re recovering. Lay their favorite blanket on the floor, or grab a comfy dog bed and encourage them to lay on that instead.
- No physical playtime—Whether their favorite game involves tug, fetch, or similar fun involving quick movements, your dog should skip it until he or she is in the clear. This does not mean you need to take away the chew toys! Just discourage the rougher games. And/or give them some variety by offering them a new chew toy.
- If you have more than one furry friend—It’s often best to keep them separated, so there are fewer temptations to play—especially if you’re not home to supervise.
- Brain Games—Try out some lower-key, mental-challenge games like puzzle feeders or even a simple stuffed Kong. It keeps them occupied while staying stationary, or with minimal movement.
- Kennel—If your dog keeps trying to play, it might be time to bring out the kennel. Make the space comfy and cozy. Adding a few toy—like a bone, Kong, or stuffed critter—is a safe bet since they won’t be moving around much. If they’re not used to a kennel you may want to get them acclimated before surgery (if you have advance notice), since putting them in an unfamiliar space when they’re already confused and possibly sore could stress them out.
- Talk to your vet—Your vet wants to see your dog get better. If you and your dog are still struggling after trying these tips, the vet may have some tricks up their sleeves that could help. They may even prescribe a sedative. (Be sure to follow the directions!)
- Cuddles, cuddles, and more cuddles—surgeries are no fun for us, and it is no different for our furry friend. They may have some discomfort and confusion about what’s happening. This is a perfect excuse to get all those snuggles in! So, turn on your favorite show or grab your favorite book and spend some extra time snuggling your fur baby.
Keeping your dog calm after surgery is an important step in the healing process. While we want our pups to have the time of their lives, we have to do what is best for them. Each dog will respond differently, so don’t be upset if you have to try a few different things to keep your dog relaxed.