9 Easy Tips for Preparing a Dog for Surgery

October 22, 2015

Preparing a dog for surgery is a big deal, no matter if it's orthopedic, pulling a tooth, or removing a kidney stone. If your dog is scheduled for a surgical procedure, don't let the recovery process overwhelm you. In our previous blog "Surgery Recovery - How to Care for a Dog After Surgery" we discussed tips and tricks on how to help your dog post-surgery. This week we have the top 9 tips on preparing a dog for surgery. With these tips and a little pre-planning you can be less stressed and more focused on your dog's road to recovery. 

Tips on Preparing a Dog For Surgery

  1. Set Up a Cozy Place to Rest After Surgery: The night before surgery create a comfortable and warm spot for your dog to lie down during recovery, preferably a room where family gathers so your dog is not alone. 
  2. Wash Doggie Bedding the Day Before Surgery: A clean bed is pleasant to come home to and is more hygienic, especially for incisions. 
  3. Bath Time!: The night before surgery consider bathing your dog because you won’t be able to bathe her for several weeks after surgery. This should not be done if there a possible fracture or orthopedic issue, but you can get doggy wipes to clean their coat. 
  4. Arrange For Time off Work: About a week before the surgery arrange for time off work. If you can't, hire someone or ask a friend or family member to check up on your dog while you're away at work. 
  5. Buy Required Food in Advance: Talk to your veterinarian to find out if your dog will be on a special diet after surgery. 
  6. Remove Any Fragile Items: Any fragile items on low shelves or tables may be knocked over by an e-collar. 
  7. Get Discharge Instructions: Get printed discharge instructions (including emergency instructions) before you take your dog home.
  8. Ask Questions!: Don't be afraid to ask your veterinarian any questions at discharge. 
  9. Make Sure Your Dog is Vaccinated:  Vaccinations help lower the risk of infectious diseases. If your dog isn’t vaccinated, make sure you do it at least 5 days before surgery, this helps to allow time for the vaccinations to stimulate the immune system and provide protection. 


Do not allow your dog to eat 12 hours prior to surgery. This is especially important if your dog will be under an anesthetic. Your dog's stomach needs to be empty before she has any anesthesia. That’s because anesthetic drugs can cause vomiting, and that can lead to choking or pneumonia (this happens when vomit is inhaled into the lungs). If your dog gets ahold of some food the day of surgery, be sure to let your veterinarian know.

How long can a dog go without eating? Having your dog fast for 12 hours may have you concerned, but dogs can go a couple days without eating. So try not to worry! If your dog isn't eating at least 24 hours after she comes home from surgery talk to your veterinarian. 


Whether or not your dog can drink water before surgery depends on your veterinarian's preference. So talk to your veterinarian about your dog specifically.


When you're preparing a dog for surgery, supplements are a great idea to think of ahead of time. And there are many to choose from to help with your dog's surgery recovery. One in particular, if your dog will be recovering from bone surgery, is Boneo Canine Clinical Formula.

Lactoferrin for Dog Bone Health

Boneo Canine Clinical uses Lactoferrin (an all-natural lactose-free milk protein) that 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. 

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.

You can also read more about medication and supplements for dogs after surgery on our blog here. For more information about dog surgery and recovery visit our other helpful blog posts: 

Surgery Recovery - How to Care for a Dog After Surgery

7 Ways to Help A Dog Not Eating After Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery for Dogs 

How to Prepare for an Emergency Vet Visit 

Natural Bone and Joint Supplement for Dogs (How it Works) | Boneo Canine® from Bio-Rep Network on Vimeo.

About the Author

Bevi Edlund, Blog Editor

Hi, I'm Bevi Edlund. I'm a graduate of communications and journalism from Cal State University, Fullerton. I am also an animal rights activist and a huge dog lover! I think there is nothing more comforting than coming home after a long day than to your furry best friend. Here at Bio-Rep Animal Health, I'll be in charge of writing posts about lifestyle, nutrition and connecting with all of our readers.