What To Do When Your Dog Is Afraid Of You After Surgery [7 Reasons]

Dog Is Afraid Of me After Surgery

Are you feeling anxious because your furry friend seems afraid of you after surgery? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore seven common reasons why your dog may be feeling uneasy and five actionable tips to rebuild your relationship with your pup.

Your dog may be feeling fearful due to post-anesthetic circumstances, anxiety, the recovery period, discomfort, depression, or just a coincidence. But fear not, positive reinforcement, a visit to the veterinarian or behaviorist, arranging a fun family date, and mental stimulation can all help ease your pup’s worries.

It’s important to identify the root cause of your dog’s fear and take the necessary steps to improve your bond. But remember, choosing the right approach is crucial to regain your dog’s trust in you. So take a deep breath, follow these tips, and watch as your furry friend starts to feel more comfortable and content around you once again.

Why is your dog afraid of you after surgery?

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's instructions.

There are times when your dog may have to undergo surgery due to some kind of health problem or any other purpose.

It really hurts when your loving pooch suddenly ignores or is afraid of you. Actually, what can be the reason?

Well, here they are!

1. Post-Anesthetic circumstances.

Usually, a dog can get affected by the anesthetic medicines for few days after the usual anesthesia.

Therefore, a dog may be afraid of its owner and other people and inclined to exhibit unusual behavioral changes after common anesthesia.

2. A state of anxiety.

A surgery certainly can increase the anxiety level of your loving canine friend. So, this afraidness of you seems like a state of anxiety.

Doing something that can reduce anxiety levels really helps. That being said, you shouldn’t attempt to get him to play in the backyard. He should rest as recommended by your veterinarian.

However, certain things can help your dog lower its anxiety level without being active, which we gonna discuss under solutions.

3. The dog is passing a recovery time.

You may feel the dog is suddenly afraid of you and other householders because he is passing a recovery time after the surgery.

You have to be positive, strong, and steady under these circumstances. I suggest giving it another couple of days. Being patience is extraordinarily important in a situation like this.

4. Due to discomfort.

If your loving pooch exhibits this afraidness and it has only been several days after the surgery, perhaps, the dog is in pain and discomfort.

You gotta look at this from the dog’s perspective.

Maybe he hadn’t been home in a day or two, isolated in a place with the people he has never seen in a strong-smelling room, then he went to sleep, and so on…

The problem here is, though, there isn’t verbal communication between you and the dog. Therefore, he cannot tell you whether it’s only pain or really afraid of you.

However, canines tend to isolate themselves when in pain, probably under the beds, furniture, laundry room, or another dark place.

5. Due to depression.

If your dog is afraid of you after surgery, one of the significant reasons could be depression as a result of things that happened in the past few days.

Because of the medications used to control its pain or if the dog is still metabolizing opioids, your dog is more likely to be lethargic, afraid of certain things during this period.

Here is why some dogs are afraid of shadows and light reflections | 7 causes and solutions.

6. If it’s been more than few days.

If the dog is still acting wired even after a week or so, there might be something wrong going on with the surgical site.

So, consider taking him to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure whether everything is correct.

7. Can be a coincidence.

Puppies often go through a fear period, and it’s likely to show up again before the dog is 2 years old.

So, this afraidness that happened after surgery can be just a coincidence.

Here are some circumstances where your dog may be afraid of you.

What should you do if the dog is afraid of you after surgery?

It doesn’t really matter what the reason is. It’s necessary to help your dog to get rid of this afraid toward you and other people.

Don’t worry. I have a handful of approaches for you to build its confidence.

1. Use positve rainforcement.

Positive reinforcement is really effective for shaping abnormal behaviors of dogs. If it has been two-three days after the surgery, slowly approach the dog while showing ultimate affection, calling it with nice and loveable words.

Then offer a yummy treat (If the vet allows) while touching, scratching its head, and reward whenever the dog stares at you and wags the tail.

Do the same thing again and reward every time it looks at your face and wags the tail. Rinse and repeat.

Sit next to the dog for a while, scratching its head, and help him build his confidence to be around you.

2. Releave its anxiety, stress.

One of the easiest ways to relieve boredom, stress, anxiety in dogs is puzzle toys. You gotta be a little bit creative.

Try filling your dog’s kong toy with peanut butter and freeze it. Freezing makes the treats in the kong last longer more than usual while helping to relieve psychological issues.

In the meantime, play doggy stress-relieving music in the background until the dog gets rid of its afraid of you after the surgery.

3. Meet the vet.

If it has been more than several days and he still exhibits unusual behaviors, consider taking him to meet the vet to ensure whether everything is correct.

4. Hire a dog behaviorist.

If the situation seems beyond your control and if your veterinarian claims that everything is fine, consider getting the help of a doggy behaviorist. These people are excellent at observing doggy behaviors of pretty much every condition and nailing things required to address the issue.

5. Resocialize with the family.

If your dog is afraid of you and other householders after surgery, consider resocializing your dog with the family. This isn’t kind of a complete socialization program, but more like a date.

Arrange a small date with the family members. The backyard will be perfect. Keep the dog in a place where it can see everything clearly. Hope this helps your dog to be comfortable around people without fear.

Suggested Reading: Why does your dog not drink water after dental surgery?

Things to be aware of.

It now seems clear to you why your dog is afraid of you after surgery and the possible solutions. However, there are a handful of things you need to be aware of.

Restrict its activity level: As every dog parent knows, playing games or having a nice walk can increase the bond between the dog and the owner. However, you cannot do that after surgery. In fact, don’t allow your dog to be active for the number of days recommended by your veterinarian. Because most veterinarians do a great job managing your dog’s pain. So, the dog might feel completely fine, attempting to be active as it used to do.

Make the crate comfortable: Most dogs don’t like to be confined in a crate the whole day. Provide cozy beddings. Water, food, favorite toys to its crate.

Don’t yell: Having some kind of an afraid of you after surgery isn’t your dog’s fault. So, Don’t try to yell at him if he doesn’t care about the positive reinforcement techniques that we’ve discussed earlier. Perhaps, that isn’t the appropriate time for that. Let him get some rest, try again after several hours. Maybe it will be okay. Your patience is what is needed here.

Provide good attention: Paying more attention and affection than ever before will allow your dog to recover faster; hopefully, it will be comfortable around you soon.

Stimulate your dog: Obviously, playing outdoors is one of the easiest ways to mentally stimulate a dog. However, under the current circumstances, the dog cannot engage in outdoor activities. Therefore, stimulating its coat, skin is a great alternative. Brushing the dog coat gently and relaxingly while giving a warm scratching will definitely stimulate him. Make sure to leave the painful area. However, check the body language to ensure whether the dog likes that.

The dog should have a view: Since your dog isn’t supposed to go outside the outside unsupervised, he is more likely to be prone to psychological issues. Providing a good view to let him see what’s happening is a nice visual stimulation.


Most dog owners are curious to know why their dogs are afraid of them and other people after surgery. We’ve discussed 7 possible reasons for this matter with 5 approaches to gain its trust toward you. Moreover, We have discussed a few things you need to be aware of. Hope you found this helpful.


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