Undergoing surgery is a significant event for our furry friends. Whether it’s a minor procedure or a more invasive one, the effects of anesthesia and the discomfort from the surgery can leave our dogs feeling off-kilter and not quite themselves. It’s common for dogs to experience a loss of appetite after surgery, but what should we do if our canine companions refuse to eat? Let’s explore some possible reasons and discover ways to encourage them to eat.
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It’s Normal, But Keep an Eye on Them
It’s important to understand that a dog’s loss of appetite after surgery is normal. In fact, they can go up to 24 hours without eating without any adverse effects. Anesthesia can leave them feeling groggy and nauseous, so it’s best to wait a few hours before offering them food. However, if your dog continues to refuse food after 24 hours, it’s time to seek advice from your veterinarian.
Tips to Encourage Eating
Warm Up Their Food
If your dog typically eats dry kibble, try adding a bit of warm water to soften it up. This can make it easier for them to eat, especially if they’re feeling low-energy. You can also microwave their food with water for a few seconds to enhance the smell and make it more enticing for your pup.
Add Some Tasty Protein
If your dog turns their nose up at their usual food, try enhancing it with some flavorful protein. Not only will this increase their appetite, but it will also aid in their recovery. Cooked eggs, shredded chicken (bones removed), or boiled ground turkey are great options. Just ensure the protein isn’t too rich, as anesthesia can cause nausea.
Prepare a Home Cooked Meal
If adding protein doesn’t do the trick, spoil your pup with a homemade meal consisting of a 1:1 ratio of cooked protein and a carb. Boiled ground turkey with rice, chicken with pasta, or fish with potatoes are all good choices. Remember to keep the meal light to avoid upsetting their delicate digestive system.
Try Baby Food
Yes, you read that right. Baby food can be a savior for a sore and tired post-surgery pet. Its soft consistency is easy to ingest, requiring no chewing. You can buy pre-made baby food jars or make your own in a blender using your dog’s favorite carbs or veggies. Always check the label to ensure the ingredients are safe for your pup.
Hand-Feed Your Pup
When it comes to a recovering pet, a little tender love and care can go a long way. Get down to their level and gently hand-feed them small bites of kibble, cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or anything they enjoy. Go slowly, speak softly, and offer plenty of pets and words of encouragement. Remember not to rush or force them to eat, as it may have the opposite effect.
Be Patient and Stay Positive
Each dog is unique, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try different methods to entice them to eat. If your dog vomits after a meal, the food may have been too rich, so adjust the portion size next time. While a loss of appetite is normal after surgery, always consult your veterinarian if your dog hasn’t eaten anything after 24 hours.
Above all, be patient with your pup and try not to worry too much. Your mood plays a significant role in their well-being, so remaining calm and relaxed will reassure them that everything is going to be okay. Your dog looks to you for comfort and guidance, so show them that you’re there to help them through this challenging time.
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