Before and After Care for Spay or Neuter Surgery

Dog's First Veterinary Visit

Hopefully, your puppy only needs to have one surgery in their whole life. That would be either a spay or neuter surgery. In this article, I’m going to share some before and after surgery care tips that can help recovery time go a lot smoother and less stressful for you and your dog. These same tips can be applied to most post-surgery recovery.

Dog lying down and getting a surgery

You’re going to need to have a few things on hand post-surgery and if you’ve done your homework you’ll likely have these things ahead of time and It’s always good to introduce them to your dog so it won’t be an issue after surgery. Always pre-train ahead of time so when you need to pull from your training bank you can use what you’ve already practiced.

Must-haves for a Typical Spay or Neuter Surgery Recovery Plan.

1️⃣ A leash 

The vet is definitely going to tell you no running, jumping, swimming, grooming, tug of war, and fetch like games for your dog for about 10-14 days.

Since your pup will not be allowed to run around on their own, your pup needs to be taken outside to potty on leash and you’ll be making short walks around the inside of your home as well as outside.

Short walks are the key!! we don’t want to overdo it or we can cause injury to our recovering dogs.

2️⃣ Cone or Donut

You’re going to need a cone or donut so your dog can’t lick at their incisions. Dogs lick at pain sites on their body, they don’t know to leave the incisions alone. Licking can cause infection from bacteria from their mouth and we don’t want to keep the incision damp.

We've all seen many dogs wearing plastic cones bumping into walls or furnitures, struggling to eat, and fighting to remove plastic barriers. The Elizabethan collar (or the plastic cone) makes your dog even more upset and the plastic material can rub against the skin, causing painful rashes. 

So you should consider getting a healing cone alternative. Our Anxiety Free Healing Cone and Donut Healing tube are the best alternative to the "Cone of Shame" for puppies or dogs. It can prevent many dogs from being able to reach around and lick incisions and wounds without any stress. Little puppies deserve a comfortable cone or donut when they are going through a painful time.

Compared to those normal plastic cones, our healing cone and tubes are much lighter, softer and more comfortable so that your dog won't get anxious.

But Some dogs with longer necks can still access an incision. So be sure to measure your dog and read our sizing chart :) If you can't find the right size, we offer custom sizing service! So don't hesitate to ask!

3️⃣ Puppy pen

Since your dog needs to have downtime and not be allowed to run all over the house, you may want to consider a puppy pen so they can still play and stretch but not overdo it in the exercise department.

4️⃣ Crate

You will definitely need a crate. Everyone always thinks they can just put their dog on a dog bed at night and the dog will stay there all night long. Dogs love to explore and they definitely will get up and move when you’re sleeping. Crate training is a life skill you should have already been working on.

5️⃣ Training

All the training I mentioned above needs to be started before you need it, not at the time that you need it. Think of crate training, leash skills, and other training as skills that need to be practiced before the big show or the time you really need to use those skills. 

You may have to desensitize your dog to the cone or donut before they go in for the surgery. The goal is to be able to get the cone or collar on your dog that's what the finished product is going to look like.

Want to know how to desensitize your dog to recovery cone or tube? Check this blog.

Keep in mind that when your puppy comes home they will be groggy for at least 24 to 48hours. This means they may not eat much they might not have regular bathroom habits and it's likely that you'll have to go back a step with potty training. Accidents are pretty common after a pup returns home after surgery.

The most common reasons are they have had IV fluids running through them throughout surgery which means they're going to have to go to the bathroom a little more frequently upon returning home even after a day or so they still may have accidents as their hormone levels are changing.

They are recovering from surgery so there is some pain or discomfort. Sometimes the pain medications they are given may cause them to be more thirsty which leads to the need to go potty outside more frequently. If you don't catch that in time they will have an accident inside.

You’re not going to scold them for this!

Dog is in recovery

Things You Shouldn't Do For Your Neutered or Spayed Dog

Now you're going to want to avoid a few things when it comes to post-surgery. Avoid things that will irritate the incision site this means things like diapers onesies and sometimes even the recovery suits.

Some of these products are made with good intentions however they do lead to irritation along the incision.

You want to check the incision site regularly an infected incision will be pussy or oozy with goopy-like substance. And It could be inflamed and then maybe bleeding

If any of these things occur, consult with your vet immediately.

It's also important to make sure that your dog stays hydrated as we don't want to dehydration to occur. Don't assume that your dog will know to remain calm and relaxed after surgery.

Typically past the 48-hour Mark are dogs energy level resumes back to normal this is a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s a good thing because it shows that your dog is healing and recovering from surgery and it's a bad thing because often dogs but don't have restricted access rip open their suture site and require restitching. So minimize your dog's activities for a week at least.

Vet visiting

Having your dog neutered can bring many benefits to you and your dog's life but it is more important to provide the most proper care for your dog especially during the first 2 weeks after the surgery. Your dog needs your unlimited love and unconditional support in its life. Hope these tips make you feel more empowered than before to care for your pets after the surgery. 



Jisuk Kim / Creator of Million Dogs


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