Post-op Care Instructions

Recovery Time

After most surgery, pets will need to be confined for a period of time to ensure uncomplicated healing and complete recovery. This period of time can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, and in some cases even longer. Fortunately, with minimally invasive surgical techniques recovery times are typically shorter than they ever have been before with traditional procedures.



Your discharge instructions will contain additional information about your pet's specific confinement requirements, but we have listed some general guidelines below.

Confinement is 'house-arrest' or restriction to a limited area in an effort to prevent explosive or prolonged physical exertion:

  • Cats: A small crate, covered playpen, shower stall.
  • Toy breed dog: A medium crate, covered playpen.
  • Medium breed dog: A large crate (wire or plastic) or X-pen (exercise pen)
  • Large breed dog: Large to giant crate (wire or plastic) or X-pen.
  • Giant breed dog: A giant crate (wire or plastic) or preferably an X-pen.

Your pet should be confined away from other pets. Small children should be discouraged from playing around this area as it may incite your pet to jump and play. Use a clip on the cage so small children can not open it and allow the patient to escape.

Should you not be able to crate your pet without causing further injury, call our office and let us help you with suggestions for alternative arrangements.


Even a small fender bender accident can cause irreparable injury to a pet which has just been released from surgery! We do not want a recovering or injured animal standing or moving about in the car. Your pet should be transported in a crate or lying down on the seat or floor with someone holding on. If you have other pets, please leave them at home when picking up.

Once home

You will need to take your dog outside to relieve itself. This is NOT for a walk around the block or neighborhood! This is a short walk to a small area for eliminations only then directly back inside. Your pet should be discouraged from using the dog door until you receive clearance to do so (typically 6 week post-operatively). Perform these short leash walks three-four times daily. We suggest that the first person up takes the dog out, followed by the last to leave for work, the first person home, and last to go to bed. If you are also able to get home at lunch, great!


We may request that you take your pet’s rectal temperature. An elevated temperature is our first sign of infection. If requested, this will need to be done twice daily first thing in the morning and again in the evening. Normal values for a pet’s temperature are 100.5˚F to 102.5˚F. Evening temperatures can be higher than morning, but should still be within normal values.

Any temperature above this range should be reported to our staff immediately. You should also note how your pet is feeling. Lethargic and listless? Eating and drinking normally? Restless and panting? These and other observations will help our staff determine how we can get your pet feeling better.

Please purchase a digital thermometer and probe covers at your local pharmacy.

Fees for Recheck Examinations

  • There will not be a charge associated with suture removal, unless, of course, there are complications in the healing process. Nor will there be additional exam, consultation, or "office call" fees incurred for return visits associated with your original presenting condition as long as the recheck schedule is followed. Missed appointments or failing to meet the recheck schedule may result in a recheck examination fee.
  • Recheck examinations that include radiographs, bandage changes or sedations will have a fee associated with them. Please ask for an estimate of charges for rechecks anticipated for your pet’s particular condition.
  • In all circumstances we have the best care for your pet in mind. We will try our best to maintain your costs to within those estimated. Please mention any concerns that you may have regarding fees in advance of proceeding with any treatments.

Discharge Instructions

We offer this information as a complement to the specific verbal and written instructions that our staff may have discussed with you during consultation or your discharge appointment. It is intended to provide helpful guidelines for caring for your pet at home and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible post-surgical orders or potential complications. As always, we rely on you to call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s recovery and post-operative care.