Many dogs will not have a bowel movement for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery, so if your dog falls into this category, do not worry. There are a number of reasons why a dog will not have regular bowel movements after surgery including – fasting prior to surgery, not eating well during an overnight or extended hospital stay (dogs frequently do not eat well when they go home because they are fed highly digestible food that produces little stool while hospitalized), and pain medications that contain narcotics (such as tylenol with codeine, tylenol 3, tylenol 4, morphine, fentanyl, tramadol) can have a constipating effect.
If your dog does not have a bowel movement on the 5th day of being home, a stool softener such as metamucil can be fed with the ok from your veterinarian. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any over the counter constipation products, as they may interact with medications they are currently taking for pain or to fight infection. The typical dose of metamucil is 1 tsp per 25 kg mixed in with each meal (this will need to be canned dog food or a “wet” meal); feed immediately after mixing, as the metamucil will gel the food and may make it less palatable.
If you have any concerns with the regularity of your dog following cranial cruciate repair surgery contact your veterinarian before any self remedy.