C-Sections in Dogs: What to Expect and Postoperative Instructions

According to statistics, 70 to 90% of puppies survive a Cesarean section, while 99% of dog mothers fully recover. Cesarean sections are considered a fairly routine procedure but still surgery. That’s why your vet surgeon plays a vital role in ensuring your dog’s health and safety before, during, and after the surgery.

As the owner, you are also responsible for providing proper care for your dog during the recovery period. Read on to learn more about Cesarean sections in dogs, what to expect during the procedure, and how to properly care for your pet during recovery.

What Is a Cesarean Section in Dogs?

A cesarean section, commonly called a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to deliver puppies (or kittens in cats) when the mother cannot do so naturally. The surgery involves making an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to remove the puppies.

Cesarean sections are performed for various reasons, including:

  • Puppies are too large to pass through the birth canal.
  • The mother’s pelvis is too small or narrow for the puppies to pass through.
  • The position of the puppies makes natural delivery impossible or unsafe.
  • The mother is exhausted from pushing, and delivery is taking too long.
  • The mother’s health is in danger during delivery.
  • There are complications during delivery, such as bleeding or the umbilical cord being wrapped around a puppy’s neck.

In some cases, dogs need an emergency C-section because they go into labor before they are ready. This can happen if the dam is too small, there are problems with the placenta, or if the puppies are growing too quickly.

It’s always best to choose a vet clinic or hospital (such as KayAnimalHosp.com) that caters to patients after their regular office hours for emergency cases.

What to Expect During a Cesarean Section in Dogs

A cesarean section is typically performed under general anesthesia. This means your dog will be unconscious and pain-free during the surgery.

  • Before the surgery, your vet will give your dog an intravenous (IV) catheter to deliver fluids and medication during the procedure. The surgeon will then make two incisions: one in the abdomen and one in the uterus.
  • The puppies are carefully removed from the uterus and checked for health. The surgeon will count the number of puppies and ensure they are all breathing properly.
  • After all the puppies are safely out of the uterus, the incisions are closed with sutures. The entire surgery usually takes 45 to 60 minutes.

What to Expect After a Cesarean Section in Dogs

After the surgery, dogs will be taken to a recovery area to be closely monitored. You can expect them to stay in the hospital for two to three days. Your dog will likely be on IV fluids and pain medication during this time. They may also have a tube in their urinary tract (called a Foley catheter) to help in urination while recovering from the anesthesia.

It usually takes 2 to 4 hours for them to recover from the anesthesia and be able to urinate on their own.

The staff will give you post operative instructions for caring for your dog at home. These instructions will include information on checking the incision sites, giving your dog pain medication, and signs to watch out for that could indicate a problem. 

Most dogs are fully recovered within two weeks after a cesarean section.

Caring for Your Dog After a Cesarean Section

After a cesarean section, it is crucial to provide proper care for your dog during recovery. Here are some tips:

  • Give your dog plenty of rest and quiet time. Avoid strenuous activity and exercise for at least two weeks after the surgery.
  • Keep an eye on your dog’s incisions. Check them daily for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Give your dog the prescribed medications. This will usually include pain medication and antibiotics. Make sure to follow the vet’s instructions on dosage and frequency.
  • Monitor your dog’s food and water intake. Offer small amounts of food and water at first, gradually increasing as your dog’s appetite improves.
  • Take your dog to all follow-up appointments. This is important to ensure that the incisions are healing properly and that there are no surgical complications.

In Conclusion

A cesarean section is a common surgical procedure used to deliver puppies when the mother cannot do so naturally. While there are fewer risks for the mother and puppies, providing proper care during the recovery is essential.

Follow your vet’s instructions and watch for any signs of infection or complications. With proper care, your dog will make a full recovery and be able to enjoy life with her new puppies. When the puppies are old enough for vaccinations, protect them by vaccinating them at the recommended age, which you can learn more about on this website.