This is a partnered post.
When your beloved dog has to go through surgery, it’s a testing time for both them – and you! The feeling of being powerless to help is bad enough, but when it’s combined with the fact you can’t explain to them what’s happening… it’s definitely a rough maelstrom of emotions to deal with.
Given that you can’t calmly tell your pooch why this is the best route for them and that it’ll all be over soon, there are a few things you can do to make the aftercare process easier on them. Dogs are incredibly resilient and will likely bounce back from surgery relatively quickly, but offering a helping hand to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible – well, what dog owner is going to turn that down?
#1 – Adapt The Cone Of Shame
There’s no doubt that the so-called “cone of shame” is one of the toughest parts of recovery for your dog. If they have had stitches, it’s an essential part of the healing process – but they look so miserable with it on!
Perhaps they have a reason to be. The standard cone that is issued by vets is not exactly the most comfortable of things. For one thing, they tend to be made of very hard plastic. Some resistance is needed of course; they’re there to prevent your pooch worrying at their stitches, after all. However, the standard cones are so hard that they can cause discomfort, especially around the neck.
You’d be far better switching to a soft, inflatable cone instead. These have exactly the same amount of resistance, but without the feel of hard plastic scraping against sensitive neck skin. Your dog will thank you for it.
#2 – Make Medication A Breeze
It’s often stated that dogs will take medication easily if you just wrap it in bacon. However, that’s not always the case – especially for fussier dogs, or those with long-term conditions who have long learned to be suspicious of any bacon treats offered to them.
Rather than having to play a game of trying to sneak the medication into their food, grab yourself some dog snacks that allow you to hide the pill inside of the treat. Then offer a few snacks in a row that don’t have the treat, so your furry friend has no reason to have hackles raised in suspicion. After two or three “normal” treats, offer the treat with the pill hidden inside of it, and it should be devoured in seconds.
#3 – Keep Them Calm
Recovering from surgery is rough enough on humans, and we tend to know why it’s happened to us. Imagine how much more confusing it is for your dog. This is why you should focus on ensuring not just your dog’s physical well-being, but also their emotional struggles.
If at all possible, try and take the day off work when your dog first returns home from the vet. This should help them settle back in as well as you would hope. You should also consider using pheromone products, which can help soothe any lingering anxiety your dog is feeling.