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7 Best Ways To Reduce Your Dog Aggression After Surgery

dog aggression after surgery

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Introduction

Post-surgical concerns over your dog as a dog parent is as natural as it would be for a human member of your family. Almost all dogs have to undergo surgery, from minor surgical procedures to major life-saving emergencies, during their lifetime to ensure their physical wellbeing and other ancillary needs.

Dogs are no exception as a human takes time to return to normal life after surgery. During this healing time, some conspicuous changes in dog’s behavior can be noticed. In this case dog’s aggression may concern you. To relieve you from this anxiety, I will discuss various aspects of “Dog aggression after surgery”.

What are the post-surgery effects on dogs?

After having surgery, is your dog acting weird? This weirdness is the post-surgery effect. Below is a description regarding some common effects on dog behavior after surgery.

  • Depression: The pain medication used on dog both at hospital and home can often cause depression. There could be more reason than that is while recovery you are restricting your dog from performing the usual activities, it used to do for enjoyment. Your dog doesn’t understand why these activities are being restricted and they may have feelings of boredom or a frustrated day.
  • Panting: During surgery, your dog had a long, hard day and it may take some time for them to relax. Panting or opened-mouth breathing can be caused by anxiety. It can also be showing you that they are in pain.
  • Whining: Dogs mostly whine when they are seeking attention or anxious or stressed. After surgery due to abnormalities and discomfort and sometimes for pain dogs seem to whine more than usual.
  • Inappetence: Don’t worry if your dog skips meals or drinking less water after surgery for few days. The reason can be that for the first 12 hours following surgery, dogs can feel nauseous and from nauseousness, they may not be willing to eat. You need to give them a little bit of time to develop their appetite. A tiny meal is usually suggested anyway.
  • Less Defecation: For having nauseousness, inappetence, your dog has been fasting for some time after surgery. After fasting, it will take it slow for his or her digestive tube to catch up and turn out a movement.
  • Aggression: Pain is an especially common cause of aggression in dogs. Discomfort and stress occurred by surgery can be a possible reason for aggression. You may experience your dog’s aggression, sensitivity and crankiness due to anesthesia.

Is dog aggression after surgery normal?

Yes, it is normal. Hormonal imbalances, genetic and metabolic disorders due to surgery can predispose a dog to aggression. It is quite normal for dogs to be aggressive after desexing surgeries. You can see an increase of aggression in your male dog after neutering. Temporary imbalance in hormones that causes by neutering can spike aggressive behaviors in male dog.

On the other hand, in female dogs’ estrogen and oxytocin both of the hormones which have calming and antianxiety effects are decreased after spaying. It leads a female dog to become more aggressive. After surgeries, minor behavior changes like crankiness, sensitivity and aggression are common because of anesthesia. But it should not last more than 24 hours after surgery. Otherwise, consult with veterinarians.

What are the signs of dog’s aggression after surgery?

Most veterinarians prefer to send dogs home for direct observation by the owner. After surgery you may encounter the following signs of aggression:

  • Becomes very still and rigid
  • Barks gravelly
  • Punches with nose
  • Growls
  • Shakes
  • Shows teeth
  • Wags rapidly
  • Snaps
  • Gazes avertedly
  • Sometime bites too

How to handle the aggression of your dog after surgery?

Aggression is the most common challenge that dog owners can face. On top of that, it becomes even more challenging when your dog is recovering from surgery. So, in this case, you need to handle the aggressive dog with more caution and care to speed its healing time. Here are some guidelines that will help you in this regard.

Stick to medication:

Pain is the common cause of aggression. Pain medications are prescribed to minimize discomfort after surgery. Your dog may also be prescribed an antianxiety medication, so their body can focus on healing. You have to stay on time for the full course of the prescribed medications.

Use an E-Collar:

Your dog may gonna hate this but using an E-Collar will discourage your dog from jumping and running away. It will save energy for healing.

Manage emotional state:

Spend more time with your dog, pamper them, talk to them when you are at home. Keep them in a quiet room, away from the crowd and other pets, perhaps with television or quiet music.

Stay relaxed:

I can feel your pressure as a dog parent in a crisis like this. But it is just a matter of time, patience and proper medication to become everything normal. Take a deep breath and calm down because you don’t want to be stressed out and you don’t want to stress your dog out. You should have known that dogs feed off our energy. So, stay calm and relaxed.

Stay overnight with your dog:

You should stay with your dog overnight. This is not a proper night to go out for dinner or plan to attend a party.

Restricted activity:

Keep away from situations that trigger your dog’s aggression. Consider a muzzle or keep it confined until your dog calms down.

Pay close attention:

Make sure you observe and take notes of your dog’s mental and physical ups and downs over the time. So, at the time of any emergency, you can explain the situation to veterinarians that might be helpful.

What are the prohibitions for avoiding dog aggression after surgery?

Things you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t become furious, don’t yell at your dog. This will make the situation worse.
  • Don’t keep your dog around children and other pets.
  • Don’t force your dog so much to do certain deeds. It will make them aggressive.
  • Don’t be anxious or frightened around your dog. Dog will become more aggressive to protect you.
  • Don’t leave your dog at other responsibility. Try to handle yourself.

Conclusion

We usually like to think of dogs as cute, fun, cuddly creatures. Since they also have life, they can have health regarding issues. Any physical abnormalities also cause a mental reaction. That might lead your dog to become aggressive. Extra care and pampering is all that they need after any surgery to recover soon. From my experience I have tried to helping you with some guidelines so far. At the end hoping haleness and happiness for your dog. Happy dog parenting!

Written by Beatrix Nanai

Beatrix Nanai was born in Budapest, Hungary. She graduated from the University of Veterinary Sciences, Hungary in 1998. There she completed a surgical internship. After 2001 she relocated to the USA and after passing ECFVG for foreign graduates, She completed a surgical externship at South Carolina Surgical Referral Services. In 2014 she obtained her second specialty board certification and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Has several peer-reviewed publications and written articles for The Pet Grooming.

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