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Preparing Your Home for a Post Operative Dog


Before bringing your dog home from CCL repair surgery, you will want to make sure everything is set before their arrival. If you have already been practicing CM (conservative management) prior to surgery, odds are your home is already adequately prepared for the return of your canine patient, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Below is a list I have compiled of ways to consider dog-proofing your home while your pet is recovering from cranial cruciate ligament repair (CCL) surgery.

  1. Get your dog used to his new place well before the surgery date. If you are crating a dog that is not used to being crated or confining a dog that is used to having run of the home, it is important to get them used to this change prior to bringing them home from surgery. I recommend starting this transition as soon as you are aware of the upcoming surgery.
  2. Cover your floors with non-skid carpeting; this is especially important if you do not already have carpeted floors. You will want to do everything possible to ensure your dog has no chance of slipping or sliding on an uncovered floor.
  3. Disconnect the doorbell and place a sign on your door advising people not to knock; the more quiet you can keep your home, the better for your dog.
  4. Have leashes hanging on the doorknobs everywhere in the home where your dog may go outside for bathroom breaks; there is nothing worse than searching for a leash to let your dog out when they are in pain, or getting them all riled up because you can not find their leash.
  5. Have chicken stock, rice, boiled meat, and pumpkin on hand in case your dog is refusing his regular food after surgery.
  6. Prepare the area your dog will sleep the first night home by covering the bottom layer with plastic. If your dog is not staying overnight at your veterinary clinic the day of surgery, there is a good chance that he may wet himself during the night due to the high volume of IV fluids they are giving during surgery.
  7. Have ice or ice packs to help reduce swelling for the first few days after surgery. You may also want to have hot compresses available for the 3rd day on – it is best to follow your veterinarian’s advice with regard to the use of hot and cold compresses.
  8. Cover the windows to prevent your dog from getting overly excited by outdoor creatures and excitement. Again, do everything possible to keep your dog’s recovery area safe and quiet.
  9. Make sure you understand the dosing instructions and have the proper medications for your dog upon leaving the clinic. Everyone has their own way of managing medication administration, some make charts, others record the times given, and some people will tailor medications around meal time. We found that the easiest way for us was to set up a web-based calendar (we use Google Calendar) to send us an SMS text message whenever a dose was due.
  10. Tips for Dog Proofing House

  11. If you have steps, make sure your dog does not have access to them; use a gate or barricade to prevent any premature stair climbing.
  12. Boredom usually sets in pretty quickly for dogs during the post operative period, and having indestructible toys on hand can help to alleviate some of this stress. Frozen Kongs and bones can provide hours of distraction, which is a must for an owner that is unable to be with their pet at all times.
  13. Make arrangements to take time off from work or have someone check in with your dog throughout the day for at least the first few weeks post op.

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6 Responses to Preparing Your Home for a Post Operative Dog

  1. Jan December 30, 2010 at 6:01 am #

    I hated the idea of putting our Golden Retriever in a crate after his surgery, so I bought a playpen on eBay for him. He has taken to it well and can see what is going on around him even though he is confined. I move it around so that he can have a little time outside on the grass, with us in the evenings watching TV, and sometimes on the back porch – all his usual favourite places. Much better than a crate!!

  2. Leslie July 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I’m happy to hear of all your dogs successes. My dog chewed the end of his drainage tube off & Dr. is unable to find other half. He said to wait a week, see if drain hole closes then take an x-ray. Won’t continue antibiotics,or anything.Dog is running in 5ft. distances and stops,licks furiously at upper part of back leg which had a 6inch tumor removed. If additional operation is required he expects me to pay him $1000.00 more.Dog sits up 80% of the time as we stare at each other in wonder of when he’ll get relief. None of it seems right and it’s my first exp. w/this situation but it feels wrong. Anyone w/similar exp. i’d appreciate any comments,will keep you posted. Thank you. Leslie

  3. Alli January 10, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Thank you so much! The surgeon has not given me any of this information so this is super helpful

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […]   First, here’s how to prepare your home for a post-operative dog. […]

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    […] ortho surgeon to discuss options and decided on TTA due to Cooper’s size and energy level. I prepared the house, borrowed an x-pen for my office, got a ramp for the stairs, a large soft-sided crate for the […]

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