How to Prepare for Your Pet’s Surgery

You’ve just learned that your pet needs surgery. To ensure a successful operation and recovery, it’s important that you follow the vet’s instructions and recommendations.

As a furparent, you expect stressful days ahead. Some of us might squirm at the mere sight of a needle or even a needle holder. Counting the days leading to the time of the surgery could be too much. 

Here are a few tips to help you prepare before, on the day of, and after your pet’s surgery.

Days Before the Surgery

You’ll be having one or more appointments with your vet, where they’ll ask you questions and give recommendations to help prepare your pet for the surgery. To assess your dog’s or cat’s overall health and how they’ll handle anaesthesia, your vet would suggest pre-anaesthetic bloodwork. 

If they find any irregularities (diseases or underlying conditions), they can make changes to the treatment plan or postpone the surgery and deal with the problem first to ensure a safe operation and happy recovery. 

Note that the bloodwork can yield early signs of some diseases. That means your pet may already be suffering silently—you don’t know because it doesn’t show physically.

Night Before the Surgery

Your vet should have advised you not to give your pet any form of food and drink beginning at a specified time until the actual surgery—mainly to reduce the risk of vomiting. Be sure to abide by this. Not following could cause your dog or cat to aspirate, which could be life-threatening. If you live with other family members, make sure to remind them about this.

Morning of the Surgery

Drop off your pet at the vet’s specified time. Often, surgeries—especially spay and neuter—are scheduled in the morning and should be done by afternoon. A representative from the clinic would contact you when you can pick up your pet, so be sure to keep your lines open. 

Try to stay calm and relaxed the entire time. After all, your furbaby is under the care of an experienced professional.

After the Surgery

First-time pet owners may panic upon seeing their furbabies groggy after a surgery. Don’t worry, this is normal. Some pets may even skip on the treats the night you bring them home, and there’s no need to worry. You can offer them small amounts of food, which they may or may not eat. The following day, you can expect them to return to their normal eating habits.

To speed up their recovery, you’d have to monitor their activities. You don’t want your pet jumping around the first week after their surgery. Short walks should be okay, but they must be leashed and under your control.

You also want to check their surgery incision and make sure they don’t lick or chew on it. If you see them licking on it or suspect that they have been, you’d need to get an e-collar (yes, the ‘cone of shame’).


Generally, pets do great following a surgery. If you notice vomiting, swelling, loss of appetite and other issues, be sure to contact your vet immediately.

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