Dog Not Eating After Surgery [ What can you do]

Dog Not Eating After Surgery [ What can you do]

Dog Not Eating After Surgery [ What can you do]

After undergoing surgery, is your dog still unable to eat? After undergoing an operation, dogs frequently experience feelings of sickness and loss of appetite. 

The time following surgery is a stressful one, and it may be difficult enough for both you and your dog even if this problem were not present. 

Today, we’ll go over some specific feeding rules, as well as some of the greatest advice we have for getting your dog to eat. Even though we’ve arranged these suggestions for after surgery, keep in mind that you can use them any time your dog is having trouble eating, even if it wasn’t after surgery.

The healing process after surgery relies heavily on proper nutrition as one of its primary pillars. 

After all, nutrients are what provide sustenance to the body and lend support to the processes of reconstruction, immunity, and recuperation that are currently underway. If your dog has recently undergone surgery, make sure to give it the right kind of food so that it can recuperate correctly.

What Could Be Causing My Dog to Lose His Appetite After Surgery?

It’s possible that the anaesthetic, drugs, or pain your dog is experiencing after surgery is preventing him from eating.

Anesthesia is making your pooch not eat

It’s conceivable that after undergoing surgery under anaesthesia, your dog won’t want to eat for a while. Some dogs experience nausea as a side effect of anaesthesia, and when this happens, they lose their appetite.
Anesthesia can produce nausea in animals, much like it can in people, and certain things, such as human delicacies or treats, can make the stomach even more uneasy (we know you love your dog, but put that bacon cheeseburger away for another time). 

If your dog doesn’t appear to have much of an appetite, try providing some rice that has been cooked in chicken or beef broth, or a little amount of chicken that has been boiled. They have just the right amount of flavour to keep him interested despite their lack of intensity, which means they shouldn’t upset his tummy.

Medications & Painkillers:

Some of the post-operative drugs can make dogs sick to their stomachs, just like anaesthesia does.
The medications that are administered to the dog after surgery are a potential additional reason of the dog’s loss of appetite. 

It is possible for certain medicines and antibiotics to make your dog sick to his stomach, which may cause him to refuse his meals. 

This behaviour is similar to what happens when humans take certain medications. If a medicine causes your dog severe distress, most veterinarians will gladly switch the prescription to one another medication that does not have the same risks associated with it.

When they aren’t feeling well, dogs, like people, typically don’t want to eat very much at all.

It is possible for your dog to experience a temporary loss of appetite if he is given certain painkillers or antibiotics. Some dogs may experience unwanted consequences as a result of taking particular drugs.

Pain is the cause

Do not underestimate the ability of pain to affect your dog’s behaviour, especially if your dog is not eating because of it. 

Your dog will likely experience discomfort at the surgical site, particularly during the first night after surgery; as a result, he may lose interest in food merely due to the fact that he is in pain. 

This pain should start to subside within a day or two, and using a device such as the Assisi Loop can be of tremendous assistance with post-surgical pain and swelling, in addition to promoting speedier healing.

Acid Influx:

One of the main reasons why your dog is. not eating is Acid Influx. The following are some of the factors that should be considered as possible causes of acid reflux in your dog:

Anesthesia during the surgery can produce acid reflux because the medications used in anaesthesia relax the sphincter, which is the muscle that prevents intestinal fluids from flowing back up into the stomach. If a dog’s head was lower than its stomach while the treatment was being performed, this may make the problem even worse.

Maintaining a regular feeding schedule for your dog is essential if you want to prevent changes in the amount of food that is currently being stored in the stomach. Maintaining a regular and frequent feeding schedule for your dog will assist relieve strain on their digestive tract, hence lowering the likelihood that they will experience acid reflux.


 Be sure that nothing critical or potentially complicated is overlooked in your investigation.

First Day of your pooch’s surgery: If your dog underwent an operation that required general anaesthesia on the same day that he was going home, you should wait to start feeding him until the aftereffects of the anaesthetic have worn off and your dog has regained his coordination. When you see that your dog is getting hungry, give him a bite to eat. 

Start him off with a tiny piece, and then spread the remainder of the meal out over the course of the rest of the day.
On the second day, you should feel free to continue giving your dog his usual amount of food and water.
From 0 to 2 months: If your dog had bone surgery, the amount of exercise that he or she may perform will be severely restricted so that the bones can heal properly. 

Because weight gain is likely to occur when activity is restricted, the amount of food that is consumed will need to be lowered. 

After your pet has had orthopaedic surgery, you should discuss the appropriate amount of food to feed them with your veterinarian.

Is It Typical After Having Surgery For A Dog To Not to Want To Eat after?

Because he will most likely not be feeling his best after surgery, it is perfectly normal for a dog to not eat for some time after the procedure. 

It is typical for a dog that is overweight to take longer to recover from an illness or injury. It’s normal for your dog to lose interest in eating if he needs to be fed through a tube or a syringe. This is one of the side effects of these feeding methods.

If you have undergone surgery before, you are aware that there are times when you do not feel like eating right away after the procedure.

  • It is possible that your dog is experiencing nausea because of the medication he is receiving (refer to the previous sentence).
  • When we experience nausea, the vast majority of us do not feel like eating, and as a result, we tend to abstain from food in order to give our bodies time to heal without having to deal with the added stress of digesting.

After all, digestion is one of the bodily processes that require the greatest energy, and this is true for both humans and other animals.

It’s likely going to take longer for your dog to get back to normal after surgery if he’s obese. This is due to the fact that

Because the majority of general anaesthetics are fat-soluble, it follows that the more anaesthetic that is administered to your dog for a longer period of time while they are under anaesthesia, the more of the anaesthetic will be absorbed into your dog’s body fat.
Anesthesia that is absorbed by body fat may continue to seep into your dog’s bloodstream for a period of time that extends beyond the initial surgical procedure.

It is very normal for your dog to fight against being fed through a syringe or a tube if he needs to be fed in this manner. It is not natural for him to consume food through tubes and syringes.

How Long Is the Optimal Length of Time for a Dog to Go Without Eating After Surgery?

After surgery, your dog can go up to twenty-four hours without eating without experiencing any adverse consequences. After that, you need to make sure there aren’t any other issues going on and get him to eat something (see below). Call your veterinarian if it’s been more than 48 hours since your dog last ate.

The majority of dogs are able to survive a whole day without eating and without suffering any long-term health consequences. After a day or so, your dog will likely begin eating normally again in a progressive fashion.

However, you should get in touch with your veterinarian in the event that your dog’s appetite does not return within the next 48 hours.

Infection is one of the potential causes of a loss of appetite that lasts for an extended period of time.

  • a discharge at the location of the incision
  • inflammation or redness at the location of the incision
  • Licking or chewing at the incision is the leading source of infection in dogs, which is why they are typically sent home with a collar on after having surgery.
  • It is possible that your dog has an infection if you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to the fact that he is not eating:

Contact your local veterinarian if you have any reason to believe there is an infection.

If your veterinarian gives you a prescription for antibiotics, the most typical adverse reaction is an unsettled stomach.

It is likely that your veterinarian will recommend that you administer your dog’s medications with his food.

What Kind Of Food Should I Give My Dog After His Operation If He Is Refusing To Eat??

Recovery diets have more calories, protein, and fat, so even if your dog eats less, he will still receive the necessary nutrients. 

These foods are intended for consumption during illness and recuperation. However, if your dog is gravely ill or there is a “end-of-life” scenario, you can continue to feed it a recovery diet.

Following surgery, your dog will require food that is high in protein in order to make a full recovery. 

Consider the possibility that he will experience complications as a result of the surgery, such as difficulties chewing or a decrease in his overall level of energy. In the first several hours after surgery, you should not give your pet any food at all, including dry kibble.
Even if the piece of meat is rough, most dogs love the opportunity to gnaw on it.

Dogs also enjoy chewing on bones, but only if the bones aren’t too tough for them to break apart.

  • Make eating simpler for your dog if he has problems chewing his food or is simply more lethargic than usual.
  • If your canine companion consumes dry kibble for food, you should hold off on feeding him for the first several hours following surgery.

It is possible that he will choke due to nausea caused by the anaesthesia. He can only eat anything that is either very smooth or very finely chopped into very small pieces.

You might want to try chopping or shredding his meal into tiny bits to make it easier for him to swallow.

If he is unable to chew food as effectively as he normally would, you are concerned that he may suffocate.

Dogs can benefit from eating baby food, especially if it is mixed with additional meat or veggies before being fed to them.

The beautiful thing about baby food is that it has the ideal consistency for a dog that has recently undergone surgery and is in a lot of pain to consume.
However, you should check the labels to ensure that the baby food does not include any components that could be harmful to your dog.

There are many meals that are healthy and appropriate for people but can be harmful or even fatal for dogs.

You might try adding some canned pumpkin to your dog’s food if he seems to be suffering from gastrointestinal issues, the most frequent of which is constipation.

About Content Reviewer & Vet Expert OnBoard:  Dr. Sara J at Hampton Vet Clinic. Dr. Sarah is passionate about pets and loves sharing her knowledge and research with you. At Pet Paws Hub, we strive to be the ultimate resource for learning everything about Owning & caring for your pet!

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