Caring for Your Dog After a Tooth Extraction

Last Updated: August 21, 2020

While we'd all like to think that our dogs will have their pearly whites forever, the reality is that many dogs will undergo tooth extractions at some point in their life. During an extraction, your dog's tooth is carefully removed from the socket.

There are several reasons why extractions are necessary. Maybe your dog suffered from advanced periodontal disease. Or maybe an injury caused the tooth to become cracked and infected.

Whatever the case may be, damaged teeth become a liability for your dog.

Dog laying in bed after a tooth extraction

They can cause immense pain and lead to a host of other complications. Extractions eliminate those risks and give your dog the relief they so desperately need.

Extractions are a surgical procedure that involves anesthetics. It can take a toll on your dog's body, so you must be vigilant about providing the best care possible during the recovery phase. Here are some things you can do to care for your dog after a tooth extraction procedure.


7 Things You Can Do to Care for Your Dog After a Tooth Extraction

#1. Let Your Pooch Rest

When you first bring Fido back home, they'll likely be a groggy mess. Bring them to their bed or kennel and let them relax for as long as they need.

Anesthesia has a big impact on dogs regardless of their age, size, or breed. Most dogs will perk back up within a day or so. However, others may continue to be lethargic for up to 48 hours.

Monitor your dog's condition closely in the days following surgery. If they're not moving around after a full 24 hours, consider contacting your vet for some guidance.

#2. Provide Prescribed Medications

Unfortunately, the pain doesn't subside after waking up. Your pup will be in pain for up to five days after the surgery. This is completely normal. It can be tough watching your dog suffer in silence, but all you can do is be there to provide some comfort.

Your dog may whimper in pain, spend more time sleeping, or even avoid meals. Just be patient.

Most vets will prescribe some medications to alleviate pain. Follow the written instructions your vet gave you to administer any pain medications.

Don't assume that you can give a higher dose. Follow the prescription to a tee! Those medications are powerful.

The same goes for antibiotics. Antibiotics are going to help reduce the chances of infection at the surgical site. Make sure that you're providing those medications.

#3. Soften Their Meals

It's common for dogs to avoid water or food for a bit after surgery. After all, their pain is originating in their mouth. You must do what you can to get your dog to eat.

Avoid hard kibble for a bit. If you can, provide a soft mushy food. But, only do this if your dog is used to eating it. You don't want to cause gastrointestinal problems by introducing something brand new.

To make things more palatable, soften their kibble with warm water or gravy. Pash it up with a fork until it's soft enough for your dog to swallow without chewing.

Ideally, your pup should eat a small meal a couple of hours after coming back home. If they don't, give your pooch some time. If 24 hours pass without them eating, consult your doctor.

#4. Minimize Physical Activity

Once your canine companion gets over the grogginess, their energy levels should return to normal. This usually happens a couple of days after surgery.

While it's fantastic to see your pup acting like their energetic selves again, try to keep physical exercise to a minimum. Light exercises and gentle play are fine. But don't let your dog do any physically demanding activities until after the checkup.

#5. Monitor the Wound

It's not a good idea to go poking and prying in your dog's mouth after surgery. However, you can monitor the would by checking on your dog's mouth.

Vets will use sutures to close the surgical site. They take several weeks to dissolve. You may see blood in your dog's mouth or around their food. This is normal.

If you notice any major swelling or excessive drooling contact your vet. It could be a sign that's something is wrong with the wound.

#6. Keep an Eye Out for Complications

Throughout your dog's recovery, pay close attention to their behavior. It will take a few days for your furry friend to get back to normal. However, you need to watch out for signs of potential issues.

Your dog isn't completely in the clear just yet. There's still a risk of infection and complication. If your dog looks like it's in immense pain, contact your vet. They could be pawing at their mouth, refusing to eat, or showing signs of aggression when you touch them.

Physical symptoms, such as swelling and drooling should be a cause for concern as well. If anything seems out of the ordinary, give your vet a call. It's better to be safe than sorry.

#7. Complete Your Postoperative Checkup

Finally, don't forget to go to your pup's postoperative checkup! Your vet will take a look at the wound and see how your pooch is healing. If everything is looking good, they'll give you the all-clear to return to life as normal.

Conclusion

Watching your dog recover from surgery is never fun. But, tooth extractions can be beneficial moving forward. Your dog can finally live comfortably again!

Take some time off in the days following your dog's procedure so that you can provide the best care possible. With a little patience and comfort, your pal will be back to normal in no time

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