Dog not drinking water after surgery
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Water Woes: Solve Your Dog’s Post-Surgery Dehydration! 4 Steps!

Furthermore, electrolytes are vital for maintaining the body’s pH balance. Symptoms of dehydration can vary from mild, such as indigestion, to severe, including excessive panting and kidney failure. Prompt action is crucial to prevent these serious complications.

Dog not drinking water after surgery

In a similar vein, seeing your dog suddenly lethargic and flinching post-surgery is alarming. Alongside this, if your dog is eating but not drinking water, it indicates a disruption in their normal bodily functions.

This change can be due to the discomfort they are experiencing, impacting their hydration needs. As a pet owner, it’s vital to closely monitor these signs and consult a vet to prevent any severe complications.

How much your Dog should Drink

Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Drink Water

In the post-op phase, it’s common for dogs to exhibit changes in behavior, such as not drinking water, often due to the effects of anesthesia not fully wearing off, leading to noticeable side effects. This shift in normal behavior is a crucial aspect to monitor during your dog’s recovery from surgery.

Below are some of the reasons behind why your dog’s not drinking water:

Post-Surgery Anxiety

During recovery, it’s not unusual for pets to feel lethargic and show a lack of interest in activities like eating or drinking water, often a result of discomfort from anesthesia.

Vets may recommend anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pup stay calm and heal, addressing symptoms such as boredom and depression that could hinder their healing process.

Old Age

In older dogs, post-surgery recovery can be particularly challenging as age causes their hunger and thirst receptors to wear out, making them less inclined to rehydrate often.

This, coupled with reduced physical activity and the difficulty in traveling to different rooms in the home, often leaves them feeling sleepy and lethargic, lessening their need to drink water after surgery.

Fear and Negative Experiences

Post-surgery, dogs may associate the discomfort of wearing a cone collar with the act of drinking water, a result of classical conditioning. This association of negative feelings with specific events like surgery can lead to a puzzling behavior where a dog eats but avoids drinking water.

How long can my dog go without water after surgery

Even though pets can survive up to 72 hours (three days) without water, symptoms of dehydration typically start appearing within the first 24 hours.

How To Tell if My Dog is Dehydrated?

“Wondering if your dog is dehydrated after surgery?” Check for dehydration by gently pressing on your pet’s gums; if they turn white and then slowly return to pink, it’s a sign.

Another method is to lift the skin near the shoulder blades; if it doesn’t quickly snap back to position, your dog might be dehydrated. Observing your dog’s hydration is crucial, especially if they have conditions like parvo or are experiencing symptoms like pooping clear liquid.

Following these simple steps can help ensure your pup stays hydrated and healthy during recovery.

Signs of dehydration in Dogs

Enhancing Hydration Post-Surgery

“Ensuring your dog stays hydrated after surgery is paramount,” a truth every pet owner should embrace. If your dog isn’t drinking water on their own, consider giving water several times a day using a syringe or eyedropper.

Fill it with water, gently squeeze it into the corner of their mouth, and encourage them to swallow slowly. This method helps in providing the necessary hydration, especially if they’re reluctant to eat or drink.

In addition to water, offering canned food rich in fluids can be beneficial. Mixing dry food or kibble with broth can make meals more appealing and hydrating.

Remember, proper nourishment and hydration are critical for recovery post-surgery or illness. If you can’t manage at home, don’t hesitate to call your vet for advice or consider a visit to the hospital for professional assistance.

How to Keep a Dog Hydrated After Surgery?

“Is your dog drinking excessively post-surgery?” It’s typical for canines to alter their water intake after a surgical operation, with some drinking a lot more than usual.

Monitoring their hydration is crucial to prevent post-op complications, especially if there’s a sudden increase in water consumption. If your dog is hesitant to drink water after being spayed, avoid forcing them as it could induce vomiting.

Consulting a vet on how to encourage drinking gently is essential. Keep in mind that hydration is key to a smooth recovery, and each dog’s return to normal appetite can vary, extending from 24 hours to several days.

Here are some tips on how to get a dog to drink water:

Place Water Dish At Appropriate Height

To encourage your dog to drink water after surgery, it’s crucial to place their water bowl at an appropriate height. The ideal position is at their head-height, enabling easy access without the need to bend their neck or look upwards.

This simple adjustment can make a significant difference in preventing strain and promoting hydration during their recovery phase.

Place Water Dish Near Your Dog

Post-surgery fatigue in dogs often prevents them from venturing to their normal eating and drinking areas. Placing their water dish closer, perhaps next to where they rest, can trigger their innate drinking response.

Sometimes, gently splashing water on their face or dipping your fingers in the bowl can encourage them to drink, easing their recovery process.

Clean Their Water Dish

Ensuring your dog’s water bowl is clean can make a significant difference in their post-surgery hydration. Just as you wouldn’t drink from a dirty cup, dogs may be reluctant to drink from a water bowl with residue.

Regular cleaning and wiping away any formed residue will provide them with the fresh water they need for recovery, and it certainly can’t hurt!

Make Sure Your Pup Has Easy Water Access

Post-surgery, ensure your dog’s water bowl is easily accessible, especially if they’re wearing an E-collar, as it can hinder their ability to drink. Temporarily removing the cone for hydration can help your pup drink without strain, aiding in a smoother recovery.

Placing the water bowl in a location where your recovering pet can easily reach it, even with mobility constraints, is crucial for their hydration and overall healing process.

Switch to Wet Food to Allow Some Water Intake

To ensure hydration post-surgery, switch your dog from dry food to wet or canned food, which serves as an additional source of moisture.

If you run out of wet food, mixing kibble with liquid to achieve a soup-like consistency can help maintain water intake, especially when your dog is avoiding drinking water.

Give Your Pet Ice to Snack On

For a dog recovering from surgery, especially if they have a sore throat from tubes inserted during the procedure, drinking water can be uncomfortable. Offering ice chips or flavored ice cubes made with chicken broth, tuna, or turkey can be a soothing alternative.

This not only helps alleviate their pain but also encourages them to intake fluids in a more comfortable way, ensuring they stay hydrated.

Offer Soup Broth or Juice From Canned Chicken or Tuna

Entice your dog to hydrate post-surgery by offering homemade, low-sodium broth from chicken or tuna. This not only encourages them to drink but also provides essential nutrients, collagen, and gelatin, which are beneficial for their stomach, joints, and liver.

As your pup shows signs of recovery and an increased appetite, you can gradually control and increase the amount of water in the mixture, ensuring they get both nourishment and hydration.

This gentle approach to reintroducing water post-surgery helps in a balanced recovery. The broth’s appealing taste can stimulate your dog’s interest in drinking, while the added health benefits support their overall well-being during this critical healing phase.

Use a Syringe or Turkey Baster

When your pet stubbornly refuses to drink water after surgery, a vet may recommend manually hydrating them using a syringe or turkey baster. This method, tailored to your dog’s breed and needs, requires a gentle approach without forcing them, ensuring they receive the crucial hydration they need during recovery.

Ensure Your Pup Stays Hydrated for Faster Recovery

“Hydration is key in your dog’s post-surgery recovery,” is a mantra every pet owner should remember. Ensuring your dog gets enough water is crucial for a faster healing process.

For more helpful insights on taking care of your pet after surgery, exploring resources like the Lick Sleeve blog can be immensely beneficial.


What to do if your dog won’t drink water after surgery?

In the event your pet continues to refuse water post-surgery, entice them with a small amount of low-sodium beef or chicken broth added to their water bowl. If this persists beyond 24 hours, a prudent course of action is to visit veterinary clinics for a thorough assessment of their condition, ensuring holistic care encompassing both hydration and dietary concerns.

How do you hydrate your dog if they won’t drink water?

Implement strategic measures to entice your dog to drink water post-surgery. Experiment with different water sources, bowls, and running water preferences. Enhance appeal by adding flavored options like chicken broth or apple juice, or offer a refreshing alternative with ice cubes.

How long can a dog go without eating after surgery?

Alarmed by your pup’s post-surgery reluctance to eat? Consider offering a half-size portion of a light chicken and rice meal, making it easier to digest than regular store-bought food. Don’t be discouraged if your dog abstains initially; often, their appetite returns within 24 hours, ensuring a smoother recovery process.

When should I worry about my dog not drinking water?

If your dog won’t drink water and won’t eat, it is much more likely to be a medical issue, and a veterinarian should see your dog.

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