Hot and Cold Compresses for Post-Op Dogs

hot and cold compresses

Swelling, discomfort, and bruising is normal following CCL repair surgery. Hot and cold compresses are some of the best at-home remedies to help your dog heal and stay comfortable during the recovery process. Not sure whether to be using hot or cold? See our tips below for general uses, but be sure to talk to your vet regarding specifics of your dog’s particular surgery.


What it does:
Cold compresses restrict blood flow to an injury, helping to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain.

How to use it:
-Use for the first few days following the surgery
-Can use commercial ice packs, frozen bags of vegetables, or anything similar
-Wrap ice packs in a towel so it isn’t too cold on your dog’s skin
-Apply for about 10-15 minutes at a time, and wait 10 minutes before reapplying
-Use especially after a physical therapy session


What it does:
Hot compresses open up blood vessels, which increases blood flow to joints and relaxes sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Also can help reduce bruising and discomfort.

How to use it:
-Start using about 3 or 4 days after surgery
-Apply for 10-15 minutes at a time, and wait 10 minutes before reapplying
-Wrap heating pad in a towel to avoiding burning your dog’s skin
-Don’t use on an open wound or stitches
-Use immediately before a physical therapy session
-Can be used if your dog seems uncomfortable or sore
-For swelling in the ankle, you want to use moist heat (like a microwaved wet washcloth…but careful not to scald him). The puffiness of his ankle is fluid that migrates downward with the resolution of the bruising–not actual swelling from inflammation. The heat in this case will help the body reabsorb the serum (the squishy fluid) that is produced as the body heals the bruising. Ice will not help in the ankle.

2 thoughts on “Hot and Cold Compresses for Post-Op Dogs

  1. […] refusing to put any weight on her operated leg, the swelling has gone down and we have been putting ice packs on her as recommended 3-4 times per day for 5 to 10 minutes to the leg. I am very concerned with […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *