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Post-Operative Instructions for Dogs

  • Monitor your dog for any signs of abnormal recovery from anesthesia and surgery. Contact PetFix if you notice any of the following:  bleeding, lethargy, weakness, unsteady gait, pale gum color, labored breathing, vomiting more than 2 times in an hour, diarrhea and/or straining.

  • Food and water:  Start with a small amount (⅛ cup) of food and water once home from surgery today. If this stays down for an hour, you may offer another small amount if the dog seems to be hungry. Do not allow your dog to “guzzle” unlimited water and/or food - this often leads to stomach upset and possible vomiting. You may gradually increase your dog’s food amount over the next few days. If your dog shows no interest in food or water the first night home from surgery this is not cause for concern. If, however, he or she does not eat or drink anything the day following surgery, please contact us. (See reverse side for contact information)

  • Going outside after surgery:  Going outside to potty or for short leash walks is perfectly fine. However, keeping the dog inside at all other times allows you to closely monitor recovery. Also, anesthesia interferes with your dog’s ability to regulate body temperature, so keeping them indoors will help prevent complications due to exposure to outdoor temperatures and unpredictable weather.

  • Vaccination site:  If your dog received any vaccines, we ask that you monitor the area for any signs of a reaction. Rabies vaccines are given in the right rear leg, DHPP vaccines are given in the right shoulder muscle. Signs of a reaction can be any one of the following: facial swelling, hives, limping, drooling (which can also be due to nausea) pain or swelling at the injection site, vomiting and diarrhea (which can also be due to stomach upset from anesthesia). If you notice any of these signs or if your pet appears extremely uncomfortable, please contact us immediately. (See reverse side for contact information)

  • What to expect the first night:  Your dog may or may not be a little groggy after surgery due to the lingering effect from the anesthesia. Please allow your dog to rest quietly and in a warm area. Be careful with your dog around other animals or small children.

  • Monitor incision area:  It is important to monitor your dog’s incision closely - check it multiple times daily for the next 2 weeks. The outside of the incision is closed with surgical glue and may appear crusty or scabbed. The sutures are on the inside and begin to dissolve around 2 weeks after surgery. If your dog is active or allergic to the suture material, you may notice a lump(s) near the incision area. Monitor those for any signs of infection (yellow or green discharge). Keep in mind the outside of the incision is glued shut, so no liquids or medications of any kind should be applied to the area. Pictures of any concerns may be sent to or you may call us to schedule a free recheck for our veterinarian to check the area of concern. 

The first night after your dog's surgery:


Over the Next 14 Days:

  • Pain relief:  Dogs are given an injection of Meloxicam for pain relief before surgery and then are sent home with 3 days of pain medicine to be given by mouth starting the day after surgery. It is important to not give the pain medicine until your dog has eaten, as giving it on an empty stomach may cause stomach upset and/or vomiting. DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG NON-PRESCRIBED OR HUMAN MEDICATION. Doing so can cause harm and could be fatal. Some side effects of the pain medication we provide include vomiting and diarrhea. If you feel your dog is in pain or has any of the listed symptoms, please stop giving the medication and contact PetFix immediately. (See contact information below)

  • Restrict activity for the next 14 days:  No running, jumping, playing, swimming or other strenuous activity for the next 14 days. Keep your dog as calm and quiet as possible. They may climb stairs, however, try to minimize running and jumping up and down stairs. No baths for the next 14 days while your dog recovers. 

  • E-Collar:  Your dog should have been sent home with an E-Collar (cone) to wear for the next 14 days. It is important to put it on once you are home and leave it on any time your dog is not being monitored. Breaks may be given to eat or while someone is watching for any licking or chewing. A clasping collar is required and goes through the loops of the E-Collar to keep it around your dog’s neck. 

  • Tattoo:  All dogs receive a green superficial, permanent tattoo next to the incision. This is meant as an obvious visual indicator to veterinarians that the dog has been fixed and prevents unnecessary surgery later in life. 

  • For any concerns or questions that you have during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9AM - 3PM), please call the PetFix clinic at 216-732-7040.

  • For post-operative medical concerns or questions after hours or on weekends, please call the PetFix medical advice line at 216-618-7233. At this number, you will receive instructions in case of a possible post-operative emergency after hours. 

  • If your pet requires immediate emergency care or follow-up veterinary care, please contact a full-service veterinarian or emergency clinic. You will be responsible for paying the cost of that visit. 


Ongoing Care:

  • PetFix strongly recommends that you have a regular veterinarian that you see for your dog’s ongoing wellness and preventative care. Having a relationship with a full-service vet clinic is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and happy longer. 

  • The Rabies and DHPP vaccines we administer at PetFix are considered Core Vaccines that your dog should receive regardless of exposure to other dogs. 

  • Distemper Vaccines protect against Parvo and Adeno 2 viruses. This combination shot is given as a series of vaccinations every 2-6 weeks until older than 16 weeks, and then a booster at 1 yr. The current recommendation for adult dogs is a distemper booster every 3 years after the first adult booster. 

  • Rabies Vaccines should also be given to every dog. The first vaccine needs a booster in 1 year. Then, depending on the rabies vaccination used, the booster is given every 1 to 3 years. 

Thank you for trusting us to care for your pet. If you had a good experience, please tell your friends.

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