Most pet owners experience a certain level of nervousness when their beloved furry friend undergoes an operation, but for people with existing anxiety, spay and neuter surgeries can be particularly overwhelming. Nonetheless, since you need to have your pet "fixed", this is something you'll have to get through together. Putting aside your own tendency to submit to anxiety and rush for brown-bag breathing, you need to lead the way in helping the patient on the road to full recovery.
1. Let Your Cat Or Dog Stay Overnight At The Vet's After The Surgery
While you'd probably rather your pet be home with you following this procedure, along with eliminating the cost associated with an overnight stay, it's best for the patient to remain hospitalized, for a number of reasons:
- Observing the effects of anesthesia and being prepared for any complications.
- Keeping the pet as calm as possible and limiting movement, which can be accomplished more easily in a veterinarian cage, as opposed to your open home.
- Checking vital signs and giving meds, as needed (for pain).
- Making sure the animal doesn't aggravate the incision site or pull out the stitches.
Once your cat or dog is given the "okay" to return home, you should arrange a quiet area for them to rest in, making sure there's room for you to sit, too. Talking to and gently petting your four-legged friend is the best way for both of you to get through the healing period.
2. Keep Your Pet Away From Other Animals During Recovery
Even if your pet has a best friend or two in the home, separating other animals from the patient is desirable. As your cat or dog recovers from the surgery, they don't need another animal sniffing and poking at them or rousing their temperament.
3. Examine Your Pet's Incision Area At Least Two Times A Day
Unless your vet advises otherwise, the incision site should be inspected a few times a day. You'll be looking for swelling, discoloration and discharge and any such observations should be immediately reported to the vet.
4. Use The Vet-Provided Cone
Unfortunately, to prevent your pet from licking the stitches, they're going to have to wear a cone around their heads. Keeping the animal in a calm environment can help them adjust to the cone, but if your pet is particularly vehement about getting the cone off, talk to your vet about possible alternatives, such as a soft paper cone or an inflatable collar. Paper cones may be more comfortable, which would discourage protest and the inflatable option allows for broader vision and that could be comforting enough to calm them. Either way, you're going to have to put in extra effort to create serenity around the animal, so as not to add to their angst.
5. Call The Vet With Questions
Because this may be a difficult time for you, too, it's important that you don't have lingering questions and fears. Call the vet's office if you become worried over anything, even if it seems trivial. The more you know, the less likely you are to be anxious.
6. Try To Stay Cool, Calm And Collected
For your sake and your pet's, you should be as relaxed as possible. Although it's challenging to project calm when you're feeling chaotic, your pet absorbs your moods and may be adversely affected if you're upset. Try meditating alongside the recovering patient to regain your composure and avoid nerve-racking distractions, like allowing your phone to constantly buzz you with messages.
If both you and your pet are comfortable and you are equipped with the basic knowledge of the situation you need to understand and act appropriately, recovery shouldn't be too much of a struggle. While watching the animal you love go through the ordeal can be emotionally taxing, it's up to you to keep the situation under control and navigate toward unimpeded healing.