Post-surgical care is important when it comes to proper healing and health. Healing can be a long process, and providing proper pain relief and nutrition can help tremendously.

While your pet patient is likely to have activity restrictions post procedure, Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital knows that post-op exercise has value. Encouraging safe pet activity after surgery can aid in recovery in a big way.

Knowing the Limits

Of course every pet and every surgical procedure are different. It is important to understand any post-surgical restrictions your pet has,  so that you can be sure exercise and activity is performed safely. 

Our team will communicate with you about your pet’s aftercare on discharge. Be sure to pay attention to things like instructions for leash walking, incision or bandage care, recovery collar use, and pain medication administration. We are always happy to answer any specific question you might have, even if you need to call us after you have left the building. 

In the first 24 hours after general anesthesia, your pet may be groggy and not themselves. Allow your pet to rest and recover in a quiet, comfortable area away from other people and pets. Use caution when letting them outside or around obstacles, such as steps and stairs. 

Ideas for Safe Pet Activity After Surgery

Once your pet is well rested and feeling more like themselves, you can begin to encourage gentle movement. Safe pet activity after surgery centers on paying attention to your pet’s signals. 

Signs of pain, indications of stress, or other abnormal behavior may mean that you need to pick another activity. 

Examples of (typically) safe choices in the recovery period include:

  • Puzzle toys that hide special treats
  • Learning a new, low-impact trick
  • Playing hide and seek with a toy or treat
  • Going for a short ride in the car for a change of scenery
  • Interactive-type toys to stimulate mental activity
  • A pet massage
  • Short walks on a leash (not a flexi-lead) as appropriate
  • Choosing a recovery area with a nice view of the home or outside
  • Nose games (finding which hand a treat is in, etc.)
  • Teaching them the names of a few common household objects, or even how to count

There are a lot of things you can do to safely stimulate your pet’s body and mind. Slowly working back up to normal is an important part of the healing process. Be sure to pay attention to your pet’s body language and reactions. If they are not up for an activity, there is nothing wrong with a Netflix (or should we say Petflix?) date on the couch.