Post-Operative Care

For a speedy recovery

We aim for your pet’s recovery from their operation to go as smoothly and as pain free as possible. When you collected your pet from the surgery you will have seen either the vet or the nurse who would have discussed with you how the day went and any post-operative care information. This will have included any exercise restrictions and administration of any medications.

We understand that leaving your pet with us was a big decision and that you will have been worrying about how he/she is all day. When you finally get reunited, it may seem like a lot to take in when the vet or nurse is giving you all the necessary information. You should receive a ‘discharge form’ which explains most of what you need to know, but if you feel that you did not fully understand or if you think you may have missed something please either ask at the time or call back to get clarification.

The following information is a general guide on post-operation/procedure care (unless you have been specifically instructed otherwise).


Your pet does not understand that they have just had either an anaesthetic or sedation, but they will feel a bit disorientated. Symptoms you may see could include:

  • Being quiet and subdued
  • A lack of interest in food
  • Not wanting to go outside
  • Some shivering or shaking
  • Whining or other form of vocalisation
  • Wanting to be alone or being clingy
  • Being a bit temperamental

These are all normal and will gradually reduce as the evening/night goes on.  If they still seem really out of character, the next day please contact the surgery and one of our qualified nurses will be happy to talk to you.


You may feed your pet their normal food when they get home, but only a small amount. If they seem hungry later on the same day, further small amounts may be offered. Routine feeding regimes can usually be introduced the following day, unless they still seem a bit sleepy, in which case continue with the small regular meals.

If your pet has had any teeth extracted, we recommend you feed them soft food for 5-14 days (depending on how many extractions they had). Some pets may benefit from being fed a bland diet for 1-3 days following the procedure, such as chicken and rice.


Fresh water should be offered as soon as they get home and should be made available at all times.


Cats will need to be kept indoors for at least one night. If they have been spayed or had any surgical procedures (other than castration) we recommend they are kept in until after they have had their 3-5-day post operation-check. The vet/nurse will advise you then on letting them out again.

Dogs will need to be allowed out on a lead for toileting purposes only on the day they come home. After this we recommend short lead exercise for 5-7 days, or until the post-operative check when the vet/nurse can advise you on an exercise regime.

If your dog has been spayed or had any major abdominal surgery they must be restricted to short lead exercise for 14 days, or until the vet/nurse advises otherwise.


Following the operation, your pet will need to rest, even if they seem quite awake and active. Please allow for somewhere warm and quiet where they can retreat to, with minimal disturbance and a cosy bed.


If you have been given some medication(s) for your pet, please read the instructions to make sure you understand how and when to give them. You will have been advised when to start them and how often they should be administered. Please DO NOT be tempted to increase the dose/frequency of the medication without consulting the vet first. If you think your pet seems to be in pain, please let us know as soon as possible and the vet may be able to prescribe him/her some additional pain relief.

Buster Collars

If your pet has been sent home with a Buster collar (also known as a lampshade), please keep it on him/her for as long as the vet/nurse has advised. It will have been issued to prevent your pet from being able to get at his/her wound. It may take them a short while to adjust to the collar, and you may need to elevate their food and water bowls so that they can reach them. If you remove the collar prior to when you were advised to, it may result in your pet being able to get to the wound, potentially damaging it, and risking introducing infection. All of this will delay the recovery time and extend the duration of having to wear the Buster collar.


Your pet may have had a cannula placed in one or both of their forelegs. There will also be a shaved patch at this site, sometimes extensively. The cannula is used to allow the vet direct access to your pet’s vein to administer anaesthetics, antibiotics and analgesics (pain relief). Shortly before you collect your pet the intravenous cannula will be removed and a small pressure dressing applied. This dressing can be removed about an hour after you get home. Please do not allow your pet to lick excessively at this site.

If your pet has had any other dressings, they will need to be kept on until the next post-operative check-up. Please ensure the dressing is kept clean and dry. If it is on a foot, please make sure it is covered with a waterproof covering prior to exercise, to prevent it getting wet or damaged.

Depending on the nature of the dressing, your pet may require them to be checked and changed regularly, until the site is healed.

Post-Operative Check-Ups

We would like to see all our patients who have had any sort of procedures to have check-ups. This enables us to check any wounds to make sure they are healing well, change any bandages, make sure they have been okay with any medications, check their weight and ensure they are generally recovering well.

Most post-operative checks are carried out 5-7 days following the procedure. If they have any sutures (stitches) that need to be removed, they will need to be seen again 10-14 days after the operation.

We hope you find this information helpful, but if you have any questions regarding your pet’s procedure or recovery, please do not hesitate to get in touch. All of our contact information can be found here.

If you have any concerns during the night when we are closed, please contact the emergency clinic, the details for which can also be found on the contact us page.

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