651-224-3038   •   1140 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

The Creature Comforts for our Hospitalized Patients

August 23, 2017

You are leaving your dog or cat with us to be hospitalized for a procedure or to receive on-going medical care. You might be wondering what this experience is like for them and what we provide for them to keep them as comfortable as possible. Let’s face it, nothing compares to home but we sure strive to provide that same feel for our patients.

Preparation for their hospitalization:
If you know if advance that your pets will be staying with us for the day, there are certain items from home that you can bring such as their bed or favorite blanket, toys, food and treats. Some cats may even appreciate their own litter. We certainly have these items here as well but often times dogs and cats will feel more at ease with these comforts from home.

The majority of the time we house hospitalized dogs and cats in our treatment area in the back of our clinic. There are various sized kennels to accommodate most cats and dogs.

For larger dogs or for dogs who do not kennel well, we have room in our lab or upstairs in our call center to be right beside our staff for monitoring. We make a conscious effort to keep dogs and cats from seeing each other as this can heighten their excitement or stress.

We also use products such as Feliway and Adaptil to provide some additional calming pheromones into the environment.

We are even experimenting with the use of classical music playing softly in the background to set a relaxing atmosphere for our patients.

Basic Needs:
A creature of any kind is going to feel more at ease when its basic needs are met. This entails offering food and water, providing warmth, having the opportunity to urinate and defecate when needed, and providing a comfortable place to rest. In some cases, such as prior to anesthesia, we may be withholding food and water. However, once an animal is in recovery, we will provide them with a tasty meal to restore their energy.


Before and after a procedure, every animal is housed with a warming disk and some blankets to provide a warm space to rest.

Throughout an anesthetic procedure, we use a heated surgery table, a Bair Hugger unit, a warming pad called a Hot Dog, as well as blankets and booties to keep our patients warm.

All cats are housed with a litterbox. All dogs are taken outside periodically to eliminate.

Gentle Handling:
We strive to handle our patients gently and safely. We will utilize methods such as food distraction, the use of towels, gentle holding in place, and even medications to lessen stress and/or reduce anticipated pain. Here is an example of a lick stick, essentially a frozen broth popsicle that can be used as a distraction for patients as they are being prepped for anesthesia.

Procedure Rooms:
Here are some pictures of our procedure rooms. We have one room designated for surgery and one room designated for dental procedures.

When your pet is recovering from their procedure, they are either nestled in a layered, warm basket or wrapped in blankets and placed on top of a heating pad. The surgery technician is by their side the entire time, monitoring them closely and comforting them as they awake from anesthesia.

For cats, once they are completely awake, they are placed back in their warm cage to continue resting. They will have access to clean litterbox, food, and water. For dogs, they will be walked outside to be given the opportunity to eliminate. They are fed a small meal and offered water. They are placed back into their warm kennel to continue resting until they are ready to go home.

If you have any additional questions about hospitalization for your pet, please contact us.

Contributed by:
Dr. Jen Seidl
Grand Avenue Veterinary Center

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