Spaying and Neutering Recovery: How to Care for Your Dog After Surgery
Whether spaying and neutering are right for your pet is an important personal decision every dog owner must make. Reasons for neutering/spaying your pet include a likely reduction in aggression, roaming, and mounting, as well as a decreased risk of certain diseases. Dog neutering also limits the number of unwanted pets landing in animal shelters.
Though sterilization is a common practice at veterinary clinics, it's important to remember it's a major surgery performed under general anesthesia, which carries a risk of complications. Proper dog neuter aftercare will make a crucial difference in your pet's recovery. Read our blog to learn more about post-spay and post-neuter dog care.
What is the Difference Between Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are both terms for sterilizing an animal to prevent it from breeding.
Spaying refers to sterilizing a female dog by surgically removing its ovaries and uterus.
Neutering is the term for surgically sterilizing a male dog by removing its testicles.
The terms "spaying" and "neutering" are often used interchangeably when discussing aftercare instructions.
How Long Will My Dog Be in Pain After Spaying?
After your pet's surgery, the veterinarian will typically administer a pain medication injection that should last approximately 24 hours. Some veterinarians will also provide prescription dog pain medication after neutering. You can give this to your pet as directed following surgery.
It is not normal for your dog to continue to experience pain after the first day or two following the surgery. If your dog continues to be in pain after spay surgery, contact your veterinary clinic immediately.
It's important not to give human pain medication to your pet. Dogs are unable to metabolize over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin, and these can poison your dog.
What to Expect After Neutering a Dog
Dog neutering recovery takes seven to 10 days. A female dog will come home with one incision along its abdomen, while a male dog will have an incision along its scrotum. Either incision will be secured by internal sutures covered by surgical glue. The incision will usually be marked by a green tattoo, denoting that the dog has been sterilized.
You'll likely notice some grogginess or disorientation in your dog after spay surgery. This reaction to the anesthesia should dissipate in a day. If your pet remains lethargic, immediately contact your veterinarian for additional instructions.
Your dog's appetite will return to normal within a day after dog neuter surgery. Vomiting after sterilization should also be reported to your veterinary clinic.
A minimal amount of discharge or drainage around the incision is normal in a male dog, while female dogs should experience no drainage or discharge. A small amount of swelling or redness may be present, but there should be no odor. Any unusual circumstances should be communicated to your veterinarian immediately.
As part of its neuter recovery process, your dog should be able to relieve itself normally within 72 hours after surgery. There should be no diarrhea. If there are problems with urination or defecation after a couple of days, be sure to contact your veterinarian, as this is not normal.
Carefully monitor your puppy after spay surgery for any of the danger signals listed above.
How to Care for a Neutered Dog
Once your pet returns home after dog neuter surgery, you'll want to limit its activity during the entire recovery period. Playing, jumping, and roughhousing increase the chances of damaging or opening the incision. Separating your dog from other pets while it's healing will help reduce the chances of over-exertion.
Containing your dog to a crate or smaller area, like a bathroom or kitchen, can help reduce activity. Dim lighting and comfortable bedding will help minimize your pet's initial discomfort upon returning home.
Help your dog rehydrate after general anesthesia by providing plenty of water. A half-serving of food should be provided the first day. Restrict your pet's diet to its regular dog food. Feeding your pet rich food or table scraps can upset your dog's stomach, causing unnecessary symptoms.
To avoid infection, do not allow your dog to lick or chew the incision. You may need to invest in a cone to curb this behavior.
Do not bathe your dog or allow the incision to become wet. Moisture can cause the surgical glue to disintegrate before the area has fully healed.
Check the incision site daily to ensure proper healing.
After neutering/spaying, it's important to keep male and female dogs separated. Males can impregnate females up to three weeks to four weeks after neutering, and trying to breed after surgery can put a female's life at risk.
Dog spay recovery doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require some vigilance on the part of the pet owner. Following the instructions above can help ensure a successful dog neutering recovery for your pet.
Trust Your Spaying and Neutering Post-Surgical Wounds to Clireon
We care about your dog's spaying and neutering recovery process. Using Clireon on the post-surgical site may help with the healing, preventing infection and soothing any discomfort.