Itchy Skin on a Dog After Surgery

By G.D. Palmer

If your dog has just undergone surgery, you probably want to do everything you can to make him feel comfortable and heal quickly. After all, surgical procedures can be stressful and difficult to recover from. Itching is a common side effect as the surgical wound heals, and it can be worrisome. Take some time to learn about caring for your dog's injuries after surgery to help it recover fully.


As the wound heals, your dog may feel discomfort. The incision may feel sore, itchy or unusual. Dry skin around the area is also likely to promote itching. Most post-surgical itching is not a concern, but if the problem seems to be severe, contact your vet. Your pet may be having an allergic reaction to medication or adhesive used after the operation.


Itching can lead to other problems if your dog can reach her incision. Too much licking, scratching and chewing at the incision can cause trauma to the wound and make it take longer to heal. Dogs that are allowed to damage their incisions may also develop swelling or infections at the wound site. If you notice that your dog is licking her incision, contact your vet for an E-collar or a bitter anti-licking spray.


Keep the incision site dry and clean to promote healing and reduce itching and other discomfort. Avoid applying anything to the site of the surgery unless directed to do so by your vet. If the surgical site becomes soiled, you can carefully use mild antiseptic cleanser and warm water to wipe the area. Rinse it carefully with clean water and try not to get water or soap into the incision itself.


If itching from healing skin is causing serious problems, you can do a few things. Topical moisturizers, such as vitamin E, fish oil, and calendula extract can help reduce dryness. Oatmeal baths may help soothe the skin. Talk to your vet before you use any home remedy to alleviate your dog's itching, though. Some may cause problems around the incision site.


Monitor the incision on a daily basis. What starts as itching can turn into something worse. According to Purina, you should contact your vet if you see swelling increase, if the wound begins to leak greater amounts of blood or discharge, or if the area becomes red. Veterinary help is also required if you believe your dog may have lost some stitches.