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.