Once your dog has recovered from its surgery, your vet will let you take your pet home from hospital. While you may expect your dog to feel a little sorry for itself or to be sore in places, you don't anticipate any other problems, especially once your dog starts eating and drinking again.
However, you may notice after a day or so that your dog appears to be constipated. It hasn't had a bowel movement since before its surgery.
Why is your dog not passing faeces after surgery, and what should you do about it?
How Surgery Can Affect Your Dog's Bowels
Some dogs do get constipated or have a change in bowel movements after surgery. This isn't generally anything to worry about and can be caused by a few different things:
- Medications. Some of the medications your vet gave your dog before, during and after its surgery may affect your pet's bowel movements. For example, general anaesthetics can make a dog constipated for a while after surgery. Some anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers have the same effect.
- Different food patterns. If your dog had to fast before surgery, then it'll have an empty stomach. If it doesn't have much of an appetite after it gets home, then its stomach will stay relatively empty. It won't have a bowel movement until it has enough food in its stomach to pass through its system.
- Lack of exercise. Dogs tend to empty their bowels most when they are out on a walk. If your dog can't get out at the moment and isn't getting any exercise, then this may be preventing its bowels from moving normally.
Generally, changes in bowel movements like constipation will sort themselves out, especially if they are medication related. In other cases, you may be able to help things along.
How to Get Your Dog's Bowels Working Again
Your dog's appetite may not come back on the day of surgery, but it may be more willing to eat after that. If your dog is still a bit funny about food, try to tempt it with its favourite foods. Wet foods may help get the bowels moving more quickly.
It's also important to encourage your dog to drink. Water also speeds things up. If you can take your dog for short walks, do so. Walking will stimulate your dog's bowels and help it go.
If your dog's bowels haven't started working after a couple of days, contact your vet. Your vet may have other ways to get your dog's bowels moving again or may want to see your dog again to check it over.
For more information about your pet's surgery or aftercare, contact an animal hospital.