Dogs can show certain unusual symptoms post-surgery. It is not uncommon if they stop drinking water after the surgery. Depending upon the degree of the procedure, sometimes dogs find it difficult to cope with the aftermath of a medical operation. However, you might wonder how being on medication should make someone thirsty. Still, sometimes, the body is so tired and consumed by the surgical procedures that it cannot accept water for a long time. Each dog reacts to surgery differently, but if you find it difficult to get your dog to drink water, don’t worry. We have some solutions that can help you encourage your pet to drink some water.
In general, even if your dog refuses to drink water after undergoing a medical procedure like an operation, there is nothing to be alarmed about. Just keep clean drinking water near them, and they will drink. But if you notice that your dog has not drunk any water in a long time, like for two days, then you should immediately consult your veterinarian and explain your pet’s condition. Apart from making your dog severely dehydrated, this can also signify some serious complications. This condition may indicate some unforeseen medical condition, which should be diagnosed soon.
Why is My Dog Not Drinking Water After Surgery?
Dogs, just like humans, are administered anesthesia during surgery. This is done to make them unconscious during the painful procedure of the operation and make them feel relaxed while the operation is being performed. Unfortunately, although there has been substantial improvement in the anesthesia that is being administered to dogs, there are still side effects of the same. Some of the most common side-effects of anesthesia include slower reflexes, sluggish movement, fluctuation in body temperature, nausea, vomiting, and loss of hunger or thirst. Besides, although most dogs can handle the effects of anesthesia well enough, some may react to anesthesia and have some of the problems mentioned above.
Let’s look at the major reasons your dog is probably not drinking water after surgery.
1. Lethargy and Nausea from the Anesthesia
With time and scientific development, the quality of anesthesia has improved a lot, which has benefited both humans and dogs. But the most common after-effect of administering anesthesia is the constant feeling of nausea and a sluggish feeling. This can make your dog lose its pangs of hunger and thirst, which is probably the most common reason your dog is not drinking water.
2. The Cone is Creating Obstructions
Most of the time, dogs are made to wear a cone that prevents them from scratching or licking their operated areas once they regain consciousness. But this also creates problems for them as it restricts their vision and movement to a great extent. This, in turn, also makes it difficult for them to intake any water or food contents. Therefore, always keep a clean bowl of fresh drinking water near your dog and adjust the height of the water bowl accordingly. Despite the cone or the collar, it should be able to drink the water easily.
3. Your Pet Dog is Bulky
Although dogs regain consciousness after a few hours of surgery, the fatigue and loss of appetite may linger for a substantial time period. This tendency is more visible in bigger or overweight dogs, as the fat in your digs body can hold on to the anesthesia for a longer period of time. So, if your dog is bulky or overweight, it may take more time to recover from the effect of anesthesia, and unless a dog has fully gained consciousness, it becomes difficult for it to eat or drink properly.
Also Read:- 18 Common Health Problems in Large Breed Dogs
Is It Normal for A Dog Not to Eat or Drink After Surgery?
Over the years, there has been substantial development in medical science, and even in the veterinary world, the quality of anesthesia has greatly improved. And as each dog is unique, they tend to recover from surgery in their own unique ways.
It goes without saying that, just like humans, dogs can feel pain and are uncomfortable as they recover after surgery. The anesthesia that is given to a dog during an operation may have a range of visible side effects. Some of the side effects include a propensity for nausea and vomiting, sluggishness and delayed reflexes, behavioral abnormalities, and appetite loss.
As a result, the aftereffects of the surgical procedure are most likely to be blamed if your dog refuses to eat its meal or drink water after surgery. In general, this is absolutely normal, and there is no need to panic. Your dog needs your support at this time, and you should try to encourage it to eat some food and have some fluid. But suppose you find that it is refusing to eat any food or drink water for a substantial amount of time. In that case, it is better to inform your veterinarian and let the professionals do their job.
Should I be Worried if my Dog is Not Drinking Water After Surgery?
As a pet parent, you are bound to endure stress following the surgery of your furry friend. The feeling is no better for your dog, and you must be aware that recovering from this surgery is taking a toll on your dog. You may find that your dog won’t drink water after surgery as you attend to him. But after surgical procedures, dogs must consume water to maintain proper hydration.
In general, dogs don’t like to drink any water due to the aftereffect of anesthesia. So, it is quite natural, and there is nothing to worry about, although as a dog parent, you need to support your dog, make it feel comfortable, and encourage it to drink water.
And after two days, if your dog is still refusing to drink water, it probably indicates some ingrained illness. So it is better to seek medical attention and inform your veterinarian, who will be better able to diagnose the problem and deal with the same.
How to Get My Dog to Drink Water After Surgery?
Your dog may suffer from a range of issues following surgery, affecting its daily food and water consumption. Despite these issues, your dog needs water for its daily bodily functions. As a dog parent, you must ensure that it gets enough water to function properly. Let’s see what you can do to make your dog drink water after surgery.
1. Water Fountain
Monitor your dog’s activity by giving them easy access to water and note how often they are drinking the water you provide. For this purpose, you can use a drinking water fountain that ensures an easy and free-flowing water source for them. Of course, they are bound to find it exciting and fun, but no worries if they still don’t drink from it. We have some more useful tips to help you.
2. Ice Cubes
Often, a tube is inserted in the dog’s throat during an operation, which may lead to a raw and sore throat when taken out. This creates problems for your dogs, as they find it difficult to eat or drink anything. But even if they are not able to drink water, you can always try to give them ice cubes, which can do the trick. Certain dog breeds like golden retrievers are particularly fond of ice cubes. They love to lick ice cubes, even in general. Ice cubes help your dogs soothe their throat, save them from dehydration, and provide them with the much-needed water content they need to recuperate from the operation.
3. Other Forms of Liquid
Perhaps your dog doesn’t feel like drinking water and stays away from eating anything. In such a scenario, they find it difficult to recover from the medical situation they are caught in. Therefore, providing them with nutritious supplements for a speedy recovery is essential. For example, you can give them chicken broth or other healthy vegetarian alternatives to keep their energy levels high. When you provide food in liquid form, they automatically intake enough water contents to stay hydrated.
Adding their favorite chicken or beef meat to their water might encourage them to drink it. You can also offer them milk and soups instead of plain water for a change.
4. Add Flavor to Your Dog’s Water
If your dog has not been drinking water lately, you can try to induce their water with some kind of a flavor. This flavor does not necessarily have to be artificial. You can add some fruit flavor in the summertime, like lemon or orange zest to give them a refreshing drink. Of course, a few mint leaves would help too. You can add honey to the water to enhance the taste. Besides, you will know if your dog prefers some specific kind of drink. For instance, some dogs like cold or icy water more than regular water. You can also make them drink more by replacing their regular water with what they prefer.
5. Using a Syringe
Operations can be hard on anyone, and even your dog can reek from the process of recuperating. The process can be stressful, and they may become too weak to shrink water on their own. Since there is no other option available, you may have to take the help of a syringe. You can buy a big syringe from any pharmacist in the market and carefully dispose off the needle of the syringe before using it to feed water to your dog. Otherwise, if you own a turkey baster that you occasionally take out to fill out turkeys, you can use that as well. You need to clean and sterilize the baster, fill it with clean drinking water, and gently push the water down your dog’s throat.
Please try to keep your dog’s head in your lap, so that water doesn’t gush down its windpipe, which can make your dog gag and cough and add to their troubles. Little pups might get scared of it at first, but if you make them feel comfortable or allow them to take their own time, they will understand that it was for their good.
How to Get a Dog Drinking Water After Surgery-(FAQs)
Dogs are highly individualistic animals, and they tend to deal with the aftermath of surgeries in their own ways. Needless to say that they may experience discomfort while recuperating after surgery. The anesthesia that is administered to a dog during its surgery can have noticeable side effects like nausea and vomiting tendencies, sluggishness and slow reflexes, changes in behavior, and loss of appetite. So, if your dog refuses to drink water after surgery, it is most likely due to the after-effect of the surgery.
The lingering aftermath of surgery will definitely tamper with the water intake of your furry friend. And it won’t be shocking if your dog refuses to drink any fluid during the first day or the second day after the surgery. In most cases, your vet will decide when it is safe for your dog to have water after surgery. Besides, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that, as a thumb rule, you should wait for around two hours after surgery before you give water to your dog.
Dogs’ bodies are impacted by general anesthesia. It can induce weakness and lethargy in different ways, including affecting their thirst and appetite. Please remember that even if your dog is feeling nauseous after anesthesia, it needs to be well-hydrated to live a healthy life.
Unless advised otherwise by your vet, your dog should always have continuous access to fresh and clean drinking water. Besides, you should also try to encourage your dog to drink water after gaining consciousness from anesthesia.
Well, cones or E-collars are not the most comfortable experience for your dog. However, depending on the requirement, you will agree that it is recommended for your dog’s benefit. Although it may be uncomfortable or irritable for your dog, a cone will help it to recover faster.
In fact, experts recommend that you should not take the cone off from your dog’s neck, even when it is going to sleep at night. Besides, after a few days, your dog will surely get used to cones, and they are designed and built, keeping in mind the comfort of your dog. So, yes, your dog can easily drink and eat while wearing a cone.
Forcing your dog to drink water is never the ideal solution, but it might be necessary at some point, like when your dog is recuperating after surgery. It is recommended that instead of simply forcing it, you can always try some simple tricks, like adding ice cubes to the water bowl of your dog, and as the ice melts, your dog will probably be enticed towards drinking more water.
Just like human beings, dogs also can’t survive without water for long. On average, dogs can survive without drinking water for about 3 days or 72 hours. But avoiding water or other forms of fluids leads to acute dehydration, and your furry canine friend will begin showing signs of the same within the first 24 hours, and gradually, it will grow weaker. If not helped by medical professionals, this condition can ultimately turn fatal for your dog.
You might get scared or feel helpless after finding your doggo in a state where they do not respond to drinking water. But hey, we do that too sometimes. We all need our own time and space to get accustomed to the changes around us. Similarly, we cannot expect our pets to quickly find their way back to normalcy. They need time to recover physically and emotionally. Don’t panic; give them their own time, and they will thrive once again.[wpdatatable id=68]
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.