What to Do When a Dog Won’t Drink Water After Surgery?

After a few days of surgery, it is common for dogs to avoid drinking water. This might be due to the anesthetic given to them before surgery. It makes dogs drowsy, nauseated, and unstable. To prevent dehydration, you must encourage your dogs to drink water. It can be achieved if they have easy access to water.

There are a few things you may want to do if your dog has recently undergone surgery, and refuses to drink water. First and foremost, be kind. Disciplining your dog for declining to drink will not address the problem and may make their situation worse.

Keep the water bowl near them because they won’t have the stamina to get up to walk to the bowl following surgery. You may also put a dispenser with a faucet near your dog to make it easier for him to drink.

This article will go through the most common causes for your dog refusing to drink water after surgery, and how to deal with it.

Reasons Why Your Dog is Not Drinking Water After Surgery

Reasons Why Your Dog is Not Drinking Water After Surgery

Anesthesia, which numbs the pain or renders your dog unconscious, is required during the surgery. Even if your dog appears to be handling the anesthetic well, you may detect a few undesirable side effects.

After surgery, there are a variety of side effects. Some of them are as highlighted below:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Water consumption is reduced.
  • Behavioral shifts
  • Inability to remain cool or stay warm
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sluggishness
  • Slow responsiveness.
  • Drowsiness

When your dog recovers from surgery, they are more likely to be in some discomfort. Experts say that dogs will be more weary than usual during the first 24 hours after surgery. It might take many days before a dog returns to normalcy. Also, most anesthetics are absorbed into body fat, and if you have a large dog, it will take longer to recover.

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It’s no surprise that your dog doesn’t want to eat or drink, given how uncomfortable it must be. When a dog is forced to eat shortly after surgery, it may vomit. Instead, keep a careful eye on it and allow a day or two to recuperate on its own.

Having said that, keeping a recuperating dog hydrated still is critical. Keeping it hydrated will assist in safeguarding its organs and prevent it from having any future health problems.

How Long Should You Wait Before Taking Your Dog to a Vet?

How Long Should You Wait Before Taking Your Dog to a Vet?

Even though avoiding water following surgery is not unusual, doing so for an extended period might have serious consequences for the body’s natural functions.

Staying 24 to 72 hours sans water post-surgery could be normal, but you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration in dogs. If the condition worsens and your dog still refuses to drink water after 3 days, you should seek emergency medical attention.

Furthermore, if your dog appears to be well thereafter; but refuses to drink enough water, you can use a home remedy to correct the problem. You may boil a beef or chicken bone and then give your dog the broth.

Are There Any Signs of Dehydration?

The first and most important thing you should do is determine whether or not your dog is dehydrated. And there are a few techniques you may use to determine your dog’s hydration status.

To begin, softly pinch your dog’s neck, and if you observe that your dog’s skin takes a long time to return to normal after you stop pinching, this might indicate that your dog is dehydrated. You can also check the gums; if they are dry, your dog has dehydration.

Ways to Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake After Surgery

Ways to Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake After Surgery

1. Make Fresh Water Easily Accessible

It’s crucial that you make drinking water as simple as possible for your dog. E-collars are commonly used to safeguard pets after surgery. This keeps them from scratching or licking their wounds, but it severely limits their mobility. Make sure the collar isn’t interfering with your dog’s ability to drink correctly. If it does, remove the collar when it wants to drink water.

Another practical technique to make it easy for your dog to drink is to put it somewhere it won’t have to struggle to get to. Keep an eye on the water bowls to make sure they’re clean, especially if they’re kept outside. Leaves, dust, or particles might have gotten into the water. Seeing unclean water will make your dog reluctant to drink, so keep it clean.

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Finally, if your dog is too tired to go looking for water right now, take the water bowl to them! Try softly dropping some drops across their mouth and lips to stimulate their natural urge to drink.

2. Give Wet Food Instead of Usual Dry Food

 Give Wet Food Instead of Usual Dry Food

Switch to canned wet food after surgery if you’ve been giving your dog dry food. It will be the best option. Because canned food has more moisture, your dog will intake more water simply by eating it. Add water to the dry food to boost hydration—your dog will not notice!

Another approach is to prepare a “soup” by combining warm water and dry food instead of just adding canned food. This unique dish will be devoured by your dogs.

3. Prepare Some Broth and Make their Water Delicious

Giving your dog a low-sodium or bone broth could also be a suitable option. Your dog may benefit from bone or chicken broth in the water.

This might urge him to eat as well as drink. Gelatin and collagen are two elements found in bone broth that might help your dog through this period. The stomach, joints, and liver all benefit from them.

It is a positive indication if your dog is drinking water mixed with bone or chicken broth. Remember that your dog is already dehydrated, so make sure it’s low in salt. It’s ideal for making your own broth since you can regulate the ingredients and quantity of salt added.

4. Give your Dog Some Crushed Ice or Ice Chips

Give your Dog Some Crushed Ice or Ice Chips

A tube is put down the dog’s throat to assist it in breathing during some procedures. This might cause a raw, scratchy throat which makes swallowing difficult.

Ice cubes or chips can also help relieve a sore throat while replenishing lost fluids. Because some dogs prefer the feel of ice, it’s a good idea to give it a shot.

You don’t have to offer your dog simply water; you can also give it frozen chicken broth or ice cubes with tuna or chicken flakes in them.

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Bonus Read: 7 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes For Big Dogs

5. Feed Them Fruits and Vegetables that are Filled With Water

Some fruits and vegetables are mostly watery, and they can hydrate your dog. You can try feeding watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, cantaloupe, and apples that are cut into small pieces. These may not only give them tasty fluids but also cool them on a hot day. You can even freeze the fruit pieces with water and serve them to your dog for a cool summer treat.

6. Use a Syringe to Give Them Water

Use a Syringe to Give Them Water

If you’ve tried everything else and your dog still refuses to drink any water, it’s time to take matters into your hands. You can use a syringe and give the water manually to your dog.

Try and be as gentle as you can while giving your dog water via the syringe. Fill the syringe halfway with water and tilt your dog’s head forward as much as possible. Empty the contents of the syringe into the corner of his mouth.

Because syringes normally only hold roughly 20cc of liquid, you might have to repeat the operation many times to adequately hydrate your dog.

Final Words

Pets, like people, require appropriate water intake on a regular basis. They must have water accessible at all times, not only when they are thirsty. Drinking enough water is essential for pets to be healthy and avoid medical issues.

Having said that, surgery can be a traumatic experience for your dog, and it might need some time to get back to normalcy. You shouldn’t be alarmed if your dog refuses to drink water for the first day or two following surgery. He could be driven to liquids on his own and drink when he feels like it.

This is because of the anesthetic’s side effects, which make it feel unstable, nauseated, and drowsy. However, to avoid dehydration, it is still necessary to urge it to drink whenever possible. This may be done by making the water as accessible as feasible.

You must keep an eye on him to ensure that he does not become dehydrated. Wait two days and if nothing changes, try some of the ways we’ve suggested and contact your veterinarian.