Undergoing TPLO surgery can take a lot of energy out of your dog. It could limit your pet’s movements and prevent it from enjoying daily life before the procedure. Constricted movements could lead to depression and affect your dog’s recovery.
Continue reading to learn more about surgery-induced depression, its common signs, and some cheering-up methods you can do.
Why Do Dogs Become Depressed After Surgery?
There are various reasons why your dog’s mental health could decline after surgery. It’s best for pet owners to learn more about the procedure so they’re prepared for the journey they’re about to go through.
Depression can be caused by any of the following conditions:
Reaction to Medication
Medications are often used during and after TPLO surgery. While they can alleviate pain and make your dog feel better, medications could make your dog feel depressed. For example, your dog may react to the anesthesia, but the effects typically wear off after a few hours or a day. Moreover, post-surgery medications could also lead to changes in mood.
Surgery can be a stressful experience for dogs. They most likely have no idea what’s going to happen when they’re brought to the vet or the operating room. Before the surgery, they’ll be prepared by the staff and are surrounded by unfamiliar faces.
To top that off, simply going to the vet and being operated on can be traumatizing. Being left in a kennel after the actual procedure could also trigger your dog’s depression.
The Cone of Shame
The Elizabethan collar or e-collar is commonly used to help with post-surgery dog recovery. Even though the device prevents dogs from licking their wounds, it causes unnatural movement. Being forced to wear one could also cause your pooch to feel mildly depressed. Try looking for alternative products for a more comfortable recovery.
Pain can follow after a TPLO surgery, and the discomfort could be enough to trigger a depressive episode. Before leaving the clinic, make sure to ask your vet for medications to aid in your dog’s recovery.
Signs of Depression in Dogs
Dogs can’t speak and tell us if they’re depressed. However, it’s easy to determine if they’re unhappy because depression in dogs is similar to humans. Apart from showing signs of stress, here are some things to look out for:
- Sleeping pattern irregularities
- Social withdrawal
- Reduced activity
- Lack of energy and enthusiasm
- Changes in appetite
How to Cheer Up Your Dog After Surgery
Dog depression is rarely dangerous and will often resolve itself with time. However, as pet owners, you need to ensure that it doesn’t severely affect your furry friend’s overall quality of life. Check out six tips on how you can cheer up your dog after TPLO surgery.
Ask for Medication
As stated before, medication can be a reason why your dog is depressed. You may consult with your veterinarian when this happens to reduce the dosage or switch the prescription. Similarly, you can get canine-friendly antidepressants and antianxiety agents that can help alleviate dog depression. Give your dog a few weeks before you start observing results.
Pamper Your Pooch
Dogs have different ways of showing how much they love you. Why not give your pooch some TLC through physical stimulation? Try brushing their coat, skin, and muscles in a slow and relaxing manner. By giving them a comfortable, gentle massage, you’re helping your dog stay calm while enjoying your company.
Bond Over Fun Activities
It’s simple — doing something your dog enjoys is a great way to treat their depression. You know your pet more than anyone else, so ask yourself, “what do they enjoy doing?” Whether it’s riding in your car, playing catch, or lounging in your backyard, doing an activity they love will surely make them happy.
However, we advise you consult with your veterinarian first before engaging in any physical or strenuous activities post-surgery as it may cause more harm than good. As a general rule, vets will restrict activities such as jumping, running, and swimming to help heal incisions and wounds.
Find a Dog Buddy
Most dogs are social creatures that enjoy the presence of other dogs. Spending time with another furry friend is an excellent way to get out of a depressive episode. But keep in mind that even though most dogs are naturally playful, some don’t like spending time with other dogs. If you find a buddy for your dog, however, make sure to prevent them from playing too wildly to avoid the risk of injury.
Ditch the Cone of Shame
The cone of shame is a common protective device that helps dogs recover from their surgery but it could pose disadvantages that could lead to depression. For example, it limits their line of sight and your dog’s movements. So if you can, ditch the collar and look for other alternatives like a collar or e-collar for a more comfortable recovery.
Get Them Different Toys to Play With
TPLO surgery can leave dogs unable to move around. So make sure to keep your pet entertained by leaving them different toys to play with every now and then. Change it up so they’ll never feel bored and have something to sink their teeth into or chase around if they ever feel restless or uncomfortable.
Keep Your Dog Happy After Surgery
Dog depression is a serious condition that should never be overlooked. After all, you’ll need to stay on top of both your dog’s physical recovery and mental health. Keep a close eye on the symptoms of depression and take our suggestions to heart so your dog can continue to enjoy their day-to-day activities post-surg