March 17, 2020 4 min read

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When your dog needs surgery, it can be a very stressful time. From routine procedures like spays and neuters to more complex surgeries like splenectomies and orthopedic procedures, veterinarians and pet owners need to ensure that pets are comfortable while recovering. Medications, supplements, and exercise restrictions are all common recommendations, but what else can you do at home for your pet? Can your dog’s bedding make a difference in comfort and recovery time?

Helping dogs after they’ve had surgery

A dog laying on the bed getting his foot wrapped by a vet

Most surgeries can be divided into two categories: soft tissue surgeries and orthopedic surgeries. Soft tissue procedures involve the skin and internal organs whereas orthopedic procedures involve bones and sometimes ligaments. Common soft tissue surgeries include spays, neuters, mass removals, and bladder stone removals. Orthopedic surgeries include knee surgery (like when a dog tears one of his cruciate ligaments) and fracture repairs. No matter what the procedure might be, owners should expect their dog to experience some pain afterward.

Your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication which can also help with the pain. If your dog was spayed or neutered, then it may seem like they hardly feel any pain at all! Others may experience mild pain, and there are other pain medications available that can be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatories if your dog seems very uncomfortable. CBD oil may be another option due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Cold laser therapy and physical therapy can also be beneficial. Be sure to ask your vet for further pain medication options if you feel like your dog is still very painful.

All surgical sites need to be kept clean and dry, so avoid bathing him while he heals. If it is raining and your dog has a leg incision or a bandage, he will need to have the area covered before he walks outside. Check any incision daily to look for swelling, bleeding, discharge, and other signs of infection. Your dog may also need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking or chewing an incision. He should keep this collar on at all times!

Orthopedic surgeries tend to have longer recovery times than most soft tissue surgeries, so you will need to restrict your dog’s exercise and activity levels for a certain amount of time. For example, dogs who need surgery due to a torn cranial cruciate ligament can expect two weeks of strict rest and then will gradually increase activity until they can move normally again at the eight-week mark. Your veterinarian may also suggest a joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin due to the protective effects that these ingredients have.

Things to look for when buying a dog bed for after surgery

If your dog is going to need plenty of rest after his surgery, you will want to make sure that he has a comfortable bed while he recuperates. The bed should be low to the ground so that he can get on and off of it easily, and the skid-resistant variety is best for hard floors to prevent the bed from slipping as he steps on it. It should be big enough to support your dog’s entire body if he is stretched out. The bed should be easy to relocate so that your dog can rest wherever you are. Water-resistant beds are best in case of any accidents, and memory foam beds are comfortable as long as there is a gel-layer feature to keep the bed from getting too warm.

The best beds for dogs after surgery

Many of the beds available here at meet the criteria listed above. Here are a few examples of some great post-op beds to use:

  1. Affinity Pillow-Top Orthopedic Dog Bed – this particular bed has a pillow-top surface and is comprised of memory foam that is able to keep your dog from becoming too warm. The thickness of the bed is perfect for surgery patients because it offers firm support when dogs lie down, which can be difficult for large and giant breed dogs in general. The fabric is durable so that it is subject to very little wear-and-tear, yet the cover is washable in case of any accidents. It also repels odors very well, and the overall style fits with any décor.  
  2. Juliet Advanced Orthopedic Dog Bed – this memory foam bed is also quite durable and will not develop “dips” in the mattress over time. The grips on the bottom of the bed will prevent it from skidding across the floor when your dog steps into it, and the bolster (the raised pillowed edging around the bed) is perfect for your canine companion to rest his head upon. The suede fabric is water-resistant and not prone to collecting bacteria or allergens. The cover is also washable, ensuring that you'll have a dog bed that will last for years and years to come.
  3. Tough Buddy Titan Memory Foam Dog Bed– this memory foam bed has a simple design and is one of the most durable beds thanks to the use of ballistic nylon fabric and Kevlar threads. It is also gel-infused like the other beds in order to help with temperature control. This bed is ideal for those looking for an orthopedic bed, while still retaining chew-resistant qualities. The cover is machine-washable and also less likely to trap foul odors.


If your dog has had surgery, he will need plenty of care and rest to help facilitate healing. Make sure that your pup takes all of his medications and ask your veterinarian for any other tips or recommendations. Keeping your dog in one place can be difficult, especially if the surface is uncomfortable. A supportive dog bed can make a world of difference in your dog’s surgical recovery.


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Meet The Author

Dr. Erica Irish author of What is the  Best Dog Beds For Dogs After Surgery

Dr. Erica Irish

Erica has worked in the veterinary field since 2006, starting out as a veterinary technician before graduating from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. As a general practitioner in an animal hospital, she has many interests and is especially interested in dermatology, cardiology, internal and integrative medicine.