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Dog Surgery Recovery: An Easy Guide to Medication and Supplements for Dogs

October 05, 2015

If your dog is scheduled for surgery (or has recently undergone surgery), you may be overwhelmed with the recovery process. In our recent blog post How to Care for Your Dog After Surgery, we lined up some tips and tricks to make the healing period go smoothly. But when it comes to dog medication and dog supplement options, we felt this topic needed a blog post of its own! Read on for our guide to giving medication and making the right supplement choices for dogs post surgery.

How to Get Your Dog to Take Medicine

As much as you want your dog to get better, sometimes they can't help but get into their own way. Getting your dog to take his medicine can be the hardest part of their recovery. This video show's some easy ways to get your dog to take any tablet or pill. 

Common Medications for Dogs Prescribed After Surgery 

After surgery, chances are that your vet will send your dog home with a medication regimen to follow over the next few weeks. Here are some of the common dog medications prescribed after surgery:

  • Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) - NSAIDs are commonly prescribed pain relievers. Some dogs even take them long-term for arthritis and joint related conditions. Give your dog all pain medications as instructed. Note, however, that NSAIDs are not ideal for long term use and do come with their own set of side effects
  • Sedatives - Pain and confusion can cause already hyperactive dogs to become agitated. In some severe cases, where the pain is unbearable or the dog is uncontrollable, a mild sedative may be prescribed by the veterinarian. 
  • Antibiotics - Anytime there are open wounds or stitches, dogs are susceptible to infection. Bone infections, after a fracture or orthopedic surgery, can be especially detrimental to the healing process. Antibiotics help to counteract any kind of infection and keep your dog safe. It is important to make sure that your dog takes the full dose of antibiotics prescribed and at the times recommended. 

What Can I Give My Dog for Pain?

As far as pain medication for dogs options go, there are several options ranging from NSAIDS (such as Tramadol or Metacam) to OTC pain relievers. The most important consideration here is safety- which is why you should never attempt to treat pain without a veterinarian consultation. The FDA has also issued several guidelines on what is and isn't safe to administer to a dog for pain. Check out this guide called Get the Facts About Pain Relievers for Pets for a thorough discussion from the FDA on this topic.

There are also non-medication alternatives for managing pain in dogs but should be done with the advice of a veterinarian if they are prior or immediately after surgery. These include chiropractic therapy, using support harnesses when walking, making sure that e-collars stay on so that dogs don't chew painfully on their incisions, and physical rehab to prevent stiffness and increase range of motion.

What are Some Supplements That Can be Given to Dogs After Surgery? 

Supplementation after any kind of procedure can enhance or reinforce recovery, as your dog generally needs extra bone and joint support, as well as immune boosting, during this time. Talk with your veterinarian about supplements that can help with recovery after an orthopedic surgery and do your research on the types of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients that can support bone and joint health.

Before giving your dog any supplements after surgery, be sure to check with your veterinarian about what's best for your dog. The following are just some of the options you have available:

Lactoferrin Supplements for Dogs

Lactoferrin for Dogs

Lactoferrin is an all natural lactose-free milk protein that is known to be an immune modulator and play a well-documented role in bone turnover and cartilage production. This nutrient can help support healthy bone remodeling and joint function for dogs, especially after anything to do with orthopedic surgery.

If you are interested in exploring a lactoferrin-based supplement, make sure to discuss Boneo Canine Clinical Formula with your veterinarian. This vet-exclusive formula contains a patented lactoferrin-based complex that has a range of benefits for the bones and joints. 

To learn more about about lactoferrin read our blog post here.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin Supplements for Dogs

Glucosamine for DogsGlucosamine and chondroitin supplements assist with lubrication and are primarily beneficial to the joints. Glucosamine is often recommended to senior dogs to assist with joint comfort and flexibility.

If you choose to provide a joint supplement containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin (which are commonly combined) to your dog, discuss with your veterinarian whether you should discontinue use prior to surgery or wait until well after surgery. Studies in people have shown that supplements containing chondroitin may increase bleeding, according to the Mayo Clinic.This may or may not be applicable to dogs, but is definitely something you should consider discussing with your veterinarian if your dog is scheduled for surgery.

To learn more about glucosamine check out our blog post here

Calcium Supplements for Dogs

Calcium for Dogs

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the skeletal system. Some dogs, particularly those with a calcium deficiency or in need of excess calcium may benefit from a calcium supplement. However, you should never automatically put your dog on a calcium supplement without discussing with your veterinarian as calcium from non-natural food sources can cause imbalances and severe side effects in dogs.

Check with your veterinarian about ways you can incorporate calcium into your dog's diet in a safe way (preferably whole food sources or controlled highly absorbent dosing).

Fish Oil Supplements for Dogs

Fish Oil for Dogs

Fish oil is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and are often given to dogs with bone and joint problems, it is usually not recommended for dogs immediately prior to or post surgery. Data has shown that this supplement, while it provides benefits to dogs that are healthy, can negatively affect wound healing. Furthermore, anti-inflammation is not always a good thing post-surgery, as inflammation is part of a healthy immune response and required for healing. 

Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics are "beneficial bacteria" that are said to assist in gastrointestinal health and help support immune function. Adding a probiotic after surgery can be helpful, as dogs can often experience an upset stomach from the cocktail of medications they have to take. 

Got Any More Tips on How to Help my Dog Recover After Surgery?

Absolutely. We've done a lot of research on this area and have several other blog posts with a wealth of useful information.

Check out our guide on How to Care for a Dog After Surgery for the best ways to keep your dog comfortable and avoid any blunders. 

Dog Surgery Recovery

Did your dog have an orthopedic surgery or surgery for a fracture? Many orthopedic surgeries (such as TPLO and TTA) are actually bone-cutting procedures, which means bone remodeling will need to take place. Read up on our blog post for Tips to Help Your Dog's Bones Heal Properly.

Are you having trouble getting your dog to eat after surgery? Check out this video for tips on how to get your dog to eat after surgery 

I'm Interested in Lactoferrin Supplementation for my Dog. What is Boneo Canine?

Boneo Canine Benefits

Boneo Canine is an all natural supplement for dogs that is based on Lactoferrin (an all-natural lactose-free milk protein). Lactoferrin is known to be an immune modulator and plays a well-documented role in bone turnover and cartilage production. This nutrient can help support healthy bone remodeling and joint function for dogs.

Watch out the video below to learn how this all natural lactoferrin-based supplement works!