Preparing for a dog to return home post surgery

This document is to give you an idea of how to prepare your home for your Clumber Spaniel following surgery. Your vet will give you information on aftercare for your dog, including how to exercise, what medications they may require and what to be mindful of with regards to the wound etc. Things you may want to purchase in advance:

  • A crate if you do not have one (you may be able to borrow one or purchase one second hand cheaply)
  • Kitchen roll and big floor disinfectant wipes (to clean up any accidents in the crate)
  • Ice pack, wheat bag for heat
  • Harness
  • Cotton wool pads for cleaning around wound
  • Suitable food
  • A soft or airfilled Elizabethan collar (cone of shame)

Other things to collect together:

  • Small table or box for storage
  • Vets telephone number and emergency number
  • Lead
  • Water bowl

You will need to put up a crate where your dog will be staying for the forseeable future. If your dog has been neutered it may be for just a couple of days or it may be for a much longer period (your vet will advise how long). You should place it within the living area so that they can see you but away from draughts and not close to the television! It needs to be reasonably close to a door for toileting purposes - if they are wobbly on their feet they will struggle to walk across a big room to go outside for the toilet. If you have laminate flooring or tiles, it would be sensible to have non slip mats between their crate and the entrance outside. The crate should be disinfected before they arrive home and clean vetbed should be placed inside and a water bowl that is heavy enough not to tip over easily.

If there is room, a small table or box near the crate is an excellent idea as you can then keep everything you need for your dog together. If you have a table, you could also leave the radio on very low for them during the night. Something easy for them to listen to, such as Classic FM. Your Vets contact details and out of hours emergency number can be selotaped to something in this area or written on a box that everything is stored in. You could have a lead here to walk them to the garden. If you have children or other pets, this should be taken into consideration as obviously you do not want them to reach cleaning products!

If they are having an operation on their neck, you would be better to find a soft harness for them to wear in the crate - the chances are collars and rope leads will no longer be suitable for your dog.

Kitchen roll and disinfectant floor wipes are handy, just in case there is a puddle to greet you (or worse). It is also a good idea to have clean vet bed for emergencies! This will also enable you to swiftly change the bedding inside the crate when they go to the toilet. Bedding should be changed daily and the crate wiped with a floor cleaned and dried off with kithchen towel. You can use a spray cleaner but the large floor wipes are easier to use.

You could also have any wound cleaning accessories in this area, such as cotton wool and an empty plastic pot to use as a rubbish bin. It would be a good idea to store the leaflet from the vet on aftercare here too. If your dog has to take a lot of medications, it may be worth doing a diary for them where you write down what they have over the course of the day and tick them off when you adminster them, one by one. This will help you to remember to give medications and should prevent overdosage! Medications should be kept well away from children and other pets.

For the first 3 days an ice pack can be used around the incision site to reduce inflammation, two or three times a day. You should wrap a pillow case or small hand towel around the pack to prevent ice burn on their skin. You should try and keep it on there for at least 5 mins up to 20 mins maximum. On the forth day you could start using a cold pack and heat pack together - rotate them for 3 mins each, 2-3 times but always finish with the cold pack for three minutes.

If your dog has had surgery, they have probably had a general anaesthetic. They will have a tender tummy for a couple of days and may not want their usual food. Roasting a whole chicken and mixing with a small amount of white rice, natural yougurt and a spoon of honey may be more palatable that kibble. If you are not keen on using rice, roast a couple of sweet potatoes and scoop the contents from the skin - a couple of tablespoons of this could be used in its place.

Do remember your vet is the person responsible for your dogs care. If you are worried about anything, always call the practice and leave a message with the reception team, voicing your concerns.

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