Recovering from Surgery | PAWS Chicago

Recovering from Surgery

Helping ensure your pet makes a speedy recovery.

Taking Care of Your Pet After Surgery

Be aware that after surgery, your pet may experience some discomfort or soreness for the first 24 to 36 hours. This is normal. He will continually improve. A full recovery will take approximately 10 days.

When you pick up your animal after the surgery, a veterinary technician will review post-operative instructions. You will also view our post-operative care video.

These tips will also help speed recovery:

  • Keep your pet calm and quiet. Do not allow running, jumping or rough play. After 10 days, gradually resume normal activity.
  • Keep your pet away from other animals and children for at least 48 hours (longer if necessary).
  • After 7 p.m. on the night of the surgery, offer your pet a small amount of food and water—about 1/3 of the amount you would normally feed them. You can offer ice cubes/chips if your pet enjoys them. Resume normal feeding the day after surgery.
  • Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision. A dog should wear the Elizabethan collar (e-collar) we have provided him for 10 days.
  • Do not wash or clean the incision. The incision must be kept dry for seven days. Your pet will not need to return to have stitches removed. The sutures used are all under the skin and absorbable (will go away on their own).
  • For the week after surgery, verify that your pet is urinating. Watch cats who share a litter box closely. During the recuperation period, it is recommended that you use shredded newspaper in place of your regular litter, which can be irritating to the incision.

Signs to Watch For 

  • Swelling, bleeding, discharge, redness or wound gaping at the incision site could indicate a problem, though it is not always an emergency. If it seems excessive, call (773) 521-7729 or come in for a recheck on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Sundays between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. You do not need an appointment, but please call first if possible.
  • Check your pet’s gum color daily. Gums should be firm and pink. When pressed with your finger (above the canine tooth) the gum will turn white and within seconds become pink again. If the gums appear pale, blueish or purpleish, call the Clinic and/or seek emergency assistance.
  • A lack of appetite, vomiting or depression is normal following surgery, but after 24 hours, could indicate a problem. Call (773) 521-7729 or come in for a recheck.