Enriching lives through happy healthy pets


Frequently Asked Questions After Surgery


 When should my dog have his or her first bowel movement (defecate) after surgery? 


It may take 24-48 hours after surgery until your dog defecates! Though this may seem curious, there are a few reasons why one might not see any number twos!

  • Your dog has been fasted prior to surgery – for 12 + hours – therefore there may be no faeces to be disposed of! Give it time.
  • We use several anaesthetic drugs for our surgeries, which can cause mild signs of
  • Nausea – your dog may not want to eat for 12 hours after the surgery, and therefore wont produce faeces!
  • Constipation – our drugs can reduce the speed of food passing from mouth to rectum as faeces. As your dog recovers from the anaesthetic, this will speed up rapidly!
  • Your dog may have defecated in the clinic!

If it has been longer than 48 hours and your dog hasn’t defecated, especially if he/she is straining to defecate, please give your local Peninsula Vet Care Clinic a call, and chat to one of our veterinarians.

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When should my dog or cat's sutures be removed?

We recommend removing surgical sutures 10-14 days after the procedure, this allows time for the wound to heal. If you notice any redness, swelling, pus or blood, call your local Peninsula Vet Care clinic and arrange an appointment to see a veterinarian. As this could be a sign of wound infection.


What if my dog or cat will not eat after surgery?


As mentioned above, the drugs we use for our anaesthesia can cause mild signs of nausea and also drowsiness after the procedure, often after a procedure, dogs and cats will not feel hungry that evening, returning to eat normally the next day.

 Depending on the procedure performed, there may be special feeding instructions that your vet may discuss with you (for example – dental procedures, or an exploratory laparotomy for that missing corn cob).

Following surgery we recommend feeding 1/3 of the normal evening meal, and letting your dog/cat rest. The appetite will return in 12-24 hours.            

If not, then we can try a few simple actions at home to increase the appeal of the food.

  • Feeding wet/canned food or for cats, tuna
  • Warming the food

 Warming food and using tinned food or meat is more smelly, and therefore more appealing for your pet!

Depending on the procedure, syringe feeding or appetite stimulants may be necessary. Give your Peninsula Vet Care Clinic a call to discuss thisfurther if you are concerned.

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How do I know if my dog or cat is in pain following surgery?

  • Signs of pain include:
  • Vocalising – barking/meowing
  • Aggression / biting when you touch near the surgical site
  • Panting/open mouth breathing
  • Restlessness


Cats can show few signs, as they can be subtle with how they show pain. You may see your cat;

  • Trying to bite you when you touch the surgery site
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Growling or vocalising more frequently
  • Hiding and avoiding human and animal contact


What can I do to control my dog's or cat's pain?

 If your dog or cat is experiencing pain after surgery or a dental procedure, you should keep them in a warm, comfortable, clean environment – ideally inside, and then call your local Peninsula Vet Care Clinic. We can provide additional pain relief for your pet if required.


Is it okay for my pet to lick the incision?

No. Licking at the incision can cause complications with wound healing, which will mean your dog or cat will take longer to heal and go back to their normal selves!

Licking will cause inflammation, infection and in the worst-case scenario, re open the wound, which will need to be re-sutured under a general anaesthetic.

 We try to prevent licking of surgery sites with:

1.Elizabethan collars – “E collars”

2.Bandages and dressings

 If your pet is getting around these barriers and licking the surgery site, call us.

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If you have any questions, or would like more details, feel free to call us any time and we will do our best to answer them for you!

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If you are contacting our clinics after hours, please call our Emergency and Referral hospital on (03) 5979 9600