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My Dog Doesn't Want to Eat After Surgery: What Do I Do?

by Geoff Works |

It takes time for your dog to recover after a surgical procedure fully. As such, it's normal if your dog doesn’t want to eat after surgery and it may even feel dizzy and nauseous.

Most dogs experience discomfort after surgery, causing them to lose their appetite. This can be due to different reasons. Some feel weak because of anesthesia or ongoing medications. Other reasons for a dog not eating after surgery are acid reflux or stomach pain. In this post we will cover:

Your pets can go a few hours without food, but eventually, they need to eat to avoid malnutrition. You might be wondering, what can I give my dog to eat after surgery? Simply put, it’s best to give your pet protein-rich soft dog food after surgery.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Malnutrition?

If your pet still isn't eating normally a few days after surgery, it could start suffering from malnutrition. Below are the potential side effects if your dog won’t eat after surgery. 

Excessive Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Your pet will excessively shed weight on an improper diet, resulting in lethargy and a weak immune system. Similarly, your they will gain too much weight if it consumes improperly balanced food, like those that are too high in fat and carbs or low in protein.

Stunted Growth

Dogs that lack nutrients during their formative years may develop abnormal bone growth. Your pup can be stunted due to underfeeding or not receiving enough calcium. If your dog does not get the protein they need, this could be why they are not reaching their potential height.

Kidney Disease, Pancreatitis, and Congestive Heart Failure

Another side effect of malnutrition is a weakened immune system. Your pet will be prone to diseases and infections such as chronic renal disease, pancreatitis, and congestive heart failure. Canines are especially susceptible to these diseases if their diet is high in fat, sodium, potassium, or phosphorus.

What Should I Feed my Dog After Surgery?

Always follow your veterinarians advice for recovery, but you can wait up to 24 hours for the anesthesia entirely wears off. There's no reason to panic if your canine goes without eating a full day after surgery. Standard painkillers can cause nausea, upset stomach, and a lack of interest in food. But every dog recovers differently, so don’t feel like you have to force it on them.

If you're wondering, "What can I give my dog to eat after surgery, and how can I give them the best option?" Below are some tips that address those questions.

Add a Bit of Warm Water to Soften Food

Vets will likely recommend soft food for dogs after surgery. And one way to make food more palpable and easy to consume is by warming it up. You can add warm water to dry kibble or put it in a microwave for a few seconds. Heating also enhances the food's smell and taste, making it more enticing to eat.

Create an Omega 3-Rich and High-Protein Diet Plan

Dog food rich in protein and omega-3 helps boost recovery after surgery. Protein can strengthen the immune system and build back body mass, even fight off infections. Omega-3 is essential after surgery since it helps reduce inflammation and possible complications. One of our favorites food brands is Primal.

If your pup refuses to eat canned food or kibble, you can add some flavorful protein to spice up your pet's diet. Among the best snacks to feed your pup includes hard-boiled eggs, shredded chicken breast, or tiny bits of boiled turkey.

Prepare Home-Cooked Meals for Your Pup

If your feeding tricks aren't working, try preparing home-cooked meals high in protein and carbohydrates, such as turkey, chicken, eggs, or fish. But remember that your dog's stomach is still sensitive after surgery, so don't go overboard with too much fatty food.

Shred or Cut Lean Meat to Avoid Risk of Choking

Dogs enjoy chewing tough meat, especially chicken and turkey, and they also love chewing large bones, which may be difficult after surgery. Make it easier for them by shredding or cutting everything into small pieces. 

Consider Feeding Your Canine with Baby Food

Baby food is easy to consume and highly nutritious. When blended with meat or vegetables, baby food can provide the much-needed nutrients for your dog to recover faster. Just be sure to check the label and ingredients before feeding it to your dog.

Restore Your Pet’s Appetite with Care and Affection

Don't forget that making your pup feel safe and cared for is crucial during post-surgical recovery. Remember to provide a comfortable and quiet place away for your dog to rest and recover.

If your dog won’t eat after surgery at 48 hours, contact your vet immediately to avoid malnutrition. For more information on how to take care of your injured or recovering dog, visit the Lick Sleeve blog today.



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