Preparing Your Dog for Surgery

Meet Poppy, my nine years young Parti-Poodle. She is bright, energetic, a poster child for the healthy dog. Imagine my dismay when a routine vet visit revealed a mammary mass. Even in the best of circumstances, surgery is not a simple decision. We prefer natural solutions, so an invasive procedure would not be our first choice. Yet, in many situations, surgery is the hero and the only choice for our dog’s long-term health and wellness.  After serious deliberation we scheduled Poppy’s procedure and the wheels began to turn.

Dr. Erin scheduled a blood panel and declared Poppy fit. We shared a list of Poppy’s supplements and medications and noted which to discontinue until after surgery. Poppy met the surgeon for a pre-op exam and with no signs of illness or infection, she was good to go. With surgery still a week away, we used the days to prime Poppy for the physical challenges ahead. We knew thoughtful preparation would ensure the best possible outcome for our furry- girl.


STOCK UP - You will need:

Read all material offered at your Vet Clinic. Learn what to expect pre-post-surgery. If you are unsure, chat with your veterinarian.


  1. Will they need to fast? When to remove access to food and water?
  2. Will they need to be monitored post surgery?
  3. Need a cone?
  4. Require a diet change?

Whether you are a DIY groomer, or your dog has a favorite pet pro, schedule grooming and a bath and trim up long shaggy fur. Without shaving too close to the skin, clip underbelly, inner legs and around will-be surgical area. Check for signs of infection, sores, fleas. Trim nails even if the technician clips nails during surgery, frequent trimming will help the nail quick recede.

After surgery, dogs are often required to wear Elizabethan Collars or “cones” to keep from scratching or biting their incision. If your dog has never worn a “cone” or fights wearing one, start practicing now. Fit the cone on your dog, then observe her reaction. If there is a lot of resistance, remove, wait a few minutes and try again. With each attempt, leave on for a few extra minutes. Practice several times a day. You will need to make adjustments to your home to accommodate “dog & cone”. Can food and water be reached? Is there furniture to move to allow for mobility? If, after a lot of practice your dog still resists, try a soft collar alternative. Practice enough so your dog adapts to wearing the cone or collar BEFORE it needs be worn, post-surgery.  

Your recovering fur-kid will need a place to rest, away from the commotion of normal household routines. Chose a quiet space; laundry, utility room, or a special corner in living or bedroom. Set up a well-padded crate or use an orthopedic dog bed. The crate must be large enough to comfortably accommodate a “cone-head” and water dish. Spray the crate inside and out with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray. Unless your dog is restricted from exercise, leave the crate door open.

If your dog has anxieties such as driving in a car, facing strangers or fear of the vet clinic, help calm her fears by routinely sharing those activities. Start with a spritz of with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray, then massage GreenDog Botanics Calm Balm into her paw-pads. Have plenty of treats on hand. Now drive to the vet’s office. Enjoy a short visit spattered with lots of treats. Drive to your neighborhood pet superstore, walk the aisles together greeting strangers. Practice daily.  Plan one on one doggie-centric time, visit the park, take walks, play fetch or just snuggle on the couch watching Dog TV. Tending to your dog’s emotional needs will elevate her endorphins, keeping hormones in balance, improving overall physical wellness.

Not only can your dog read your anxieties and emotions; she will make your crazies her own. Like mama, like dog, if you have nervous anxiety so will your dog. Spritz yourself with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray and breathe. Close your eyes and find your happy place before you take the lead.

Its surgery day! Share a brisk walk and short playtime (remember no food, drink or treats) then enjoy quiet time together. Spritz with Calm Spray and massage gently into her fur. Continue the massage for several minutes. Stroke her ears gently. Use TTouch techniques if familiar. Now you and your fur-kiddo are ready for the day!



CALM SPRAY: She received a double Spritz before leaving for surgery. She was relaxed on the ride and welcomed the masked technician greeting us for curbside pickup.  When Poppy disappeared into the Vet hospital, I gave myself a Calm spritz and turned-on Moody Blues (my 70s Zen), no worrying for me.  At home I sprayed Calm in and around the Zen-Den.  

CALM BALM: When Poppy returned home, I dabbed some Calm Balm on her nose, this helped her relax without disturbance, she was still loopy from the anesthesia.

PAIN SPRAY: Once Poppy settled into the Zen Den, I sprayed Pain Spray along her spine and gently massaged into her fur. I also gave her the full dose of pain meds prescribed by Dr. Erin. The Pain Spray was a good partner to her prescribed meds, providing almost instant relief from the pain and helping reduce swelling inside and out.

PAIN BALM: After she was home several hours, I gently massaged the Pain Balm into her paw-pads. Another source of gentle relief.

Apply product gently, avoid the surgical area. If your pet is uncomfortable with the mister, apply to a cotton ball and gently massage into fur. If your pet resists being touched wait until she feels more receptive, then try again. Calm Spray will be effective even if you just spray blankets and bedding, avoiding your sleepy pup altogether.  

Good News!
Poppy recovered from her surgery in record time. The mass was benign, and she is once again, racing around the farm, kicking up the snow and protecting her human family from invisible foes!

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