The Importance of Postoperative Pain Management for Dogs

Scientists have spent ample time understanding surgical site infections in humans. But when it comes to animal infections, their knowledge is slightly limited.

Dog surgeries mostly include spaying, neutering, operating benign skin growths, and dental extractions. Irrespective of the type of operative procedure your furry friend goes through, they’ll be in pain after surgery.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the concept of postoperative pain in dogs and discuss ways to alleviate it.

What Happens to a Dog’s Pain Post Surgery?

Unless your pet is getting CRI (Constant-Rate Infusions) medications, the majority of them receive a narcotic pain reliever injection right after surgery. They also‌ get a single dose of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to minimize inflammation and pain.

The veterinarian will decide on the medicines that need to be provided and prescribe the correct dose. It depends on the specific surgery your pet underwent and their physical condition.

A few postoperative canine patients might be administered physical therapies to bring down inflammation and pain. Such modalities can comprise cold therapy or massage.

Every dog is unique, and so is their respective pain management strategy. It gets fine-tuned to cater to the requirements of the dog. The objective is to ensure that the dog gains comfort after surgery.

Medicines Used to Reduce Post-operative Pain in Dogs

An expert veterinarian will work to come up with a customized plan based on the pain a dog is experiencing. It includes:

●        NSAIDs prescribed by the vet help to bring down the pain by bringing down the inflammation. Naproxen and ibuprofen come under NSAIDs, but you shouldn’t use them for your dogs.

Carprofen (brand name Rimadyl) is another NSAID for treating inflammation and pain in dogs. Usually, it is used to manage the pain associated with conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis. It also helps to bring down pain after an injury or surgery. Medicines like Rimadyl 75 mg can go a long way to comfort pets after surgery.

According to PetRx, an online pet health supplies store, pet owners should medicate their dogs only after a complete physical examination. They should be watchful of the probable signs of drug toxicity. The medicines at all times should be kept at the correct room temperature and away from children’s reach.

●        Opioids can help by training the brain to perceive lower pain levels. It is used when your pet is in extreme pain.

●        Supplements often get used when the pain ranges from mild to moderate. At times, the vet suggests dog owners use supplements in combination with carprofen tablets to reduce the pain.

Finally, pet owners can have a blend of acupuncture, physical therapy, environmental modifications, and chiropractic manipulation to help with the pain.

Creating a Comfortable Space for Your Dog at Home

After surgery, you have to ensure that the dog is resting in a quiet and comfortable place. They must not be around other pets and kids. Usually, dogs curl up when they sleep in a small bed. Hence, getting a bigger bed can be of help. It will not affect the incision site. When your dog can spread, relax and sleep, they recover faster.

Limiting Pet Movement Is Essential

For a while, you should ensure that your pet stays intact in one place and not move around aggressively. Excess movement, jumping, and stretching can delay the healing process and reopen the incision.

The majority of the surgeries don’t need any confinement, such as total “crate rest” for complete recovery. By staying indoors for a few days, pets heal up better. Keeping a vigilant eye on the dog’s movement is necessary. You need to stop the dog from jumping from one piece of furniture to the other. They shouldn’t be climbing stairs as well.

Assisting the Dog at the Time of Cage-Rest

Orthopedic surgeries will limit the pet's movement for faster recovery. At times, the vet will ask for crate rest that might appear to be confinement. However, you need to work through this and arrive at a useful solution.

Ensure that the dog crate is spacious enough to allow the dog to stand and turn around. At times, the dog might need an E-Collar or even a plastic cone to prevent licking. In such a situation, you have to get a bigger crate for the dog to recover. There should be ample space for water and food containers without any scope for spills. In case of any spillage, the dog’s bandages and bedding can get wet and soiled.


Generally, most skin stitches for dogs, known as sutures, get removed between 7 to 14 days after the surgery. The time can vary based on the surgery the dog has undergone. The correct choice of crates, medicines, and even supplements will determine how fast the dog heals and feels less pain.