No one likes thinking about their dogs having surgery. Fortunately, when your dog gets home from being spayed or neutered, the recovery time is usually quick! Here is some basic information about the recovery process and what to keep an eye out for to ensure your puppy is feeling like themself in no time.
What Is Spaying and Neutering?
These surgical procedures performed by skilled veterinarians that ensure dogs can’t breed by removing their reproductive organs. Spaying (also known as an ovariohysterectomy) is performed on a female dog and consists of the complete removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes and both ovaries. For male dogs, they undergo what’s called neutering (known as castration or orchidectomy), which includes the complete removal of the testicles.
Spaying your dog is a great way to give your dog a longer, healthier life. It is a routine surgery and most dogs go home the same day, recovering within a couple weeks. Most dogs have no complications and only experience minor swelling and tiredness.
*Before you leave the vet, schedule a post-operative check-up. They are usually available for free. Your vet surgeon may have also prescribed painkillers, so make sure to have your prescription filled and use only as directed. For additional and natural pain management, be sure your dog is getting a daily dose of vitamins.
What to expect the first few days
- One of the things you can expect is for you puppy to have an upset stomach, since they use anesthesia used during surgery. To help them, restrict their food intake as the vet recommends, usually for about 2-3 hours, giving them smaller amounts–about 1/4 of their usual meal. If they vomit, take away their food until morning.
- Dogs often want to lick or chew the incision site, and can easily re-open the wound. You may have heard of the notorious “cone of shame,” but now they have all sorts of comfortable alternatives. Buy an e-collar and have them wear it for a week to keep them from reaching the site. They probably won’t like it for the first day, but they will get used to it.
- During recovery, your dog should have a quiet place to themselves. Keep them away from other pets and children for a few days. Let them get lots of rest!
- For the first few weeks, expect a lower level of activity and ability. To help them recover, don’t let them jump up high onto beds, stairs, or sofas to keep her from pulling on the stitches.
- Expect to wait a while–about 10 days– before giving them a bath or letting the incision site get wet. If it gets dirty, clean it with a clean cloth and warm water. consult with your vet about how to clean the site.
- The first few days she will be sending most of her time inside. You can go on short walks with a leash but try not to let them run, jump, or play for about a week. If you have a girl, you’ll also need to keep her away from male dogs for a month after surgery, since she may still attract them and mating could hurt her.
- Lastly, expect to give your pup an extra dose of some TLC!
During recovery, you should expect your dog to be sleepy, and you may see some swelling or blood. Certain reactions and symptoms are normal:
- Groggy, sleepy, or agitated on the first day
- A small amount of blood around the surgery site for the first day and a small amount of swelling and redness for a week. If your dog was in heat, she may have discharge for a couple days
- A green tattoo marking her as spayed
- Mild coughing for the first day or two
- Eyes that look weepy—sometimes an ointment is used during surgery
What’s Not Normal?
Sometimes there are complications after surgery. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet or an animal hospital as soon as possible.
The First Day:
- Your dog is unable to stand or walk after 12 hours
After the First Day:
- Not eating or drinking
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Symptoms of discomfort or lethargy after 48 hours
- Difficulty breathing
- The incision re-opens
- Significant bleeding, swelling, drainage, or fever
*If you notice any of these abnormal symptoms, call your vet right away!