A Comprehensive Guide to Caring for Dog After Spaying

caring for dog after spaying

There are a lot of decisions when it comes to your pet dog, from the moment you adopt them until the time they cross over the Rainbow Bridge. One of these is caring for a dog after spaying.

Spaying is a surgical procedure that removes the dog’s reproductive organs, and there are some things you need to know in order to care for them properly after surgery. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the healing process for your furry family members after they have been spayed.

What Is Spaying Surgery?

Spaying, or getting your dog “fixed,” is a surgical sterilization technique for female dogs. Your female dog can no longer become pregnant after being spayed. Before your dog may come home with you, most shelters will spay it as routine procedure.

quiet spot

Spaying your dog has various advantages. Spaying can help prevent uterine infection, lower the risk of breast cancer, avoid undesired pregnancy, and decrease heat cycling habits.

While it is feasible to spay a dog when they are in heat, the spay becomes a considerably riskier surgery. The tissue is more vulnerable to tearing and bleeding. Most veterinarians would rather not do this if at all feasible.

Multiple factors influence the ideal age to spay your female dog; this decision should be made in consultation with your veterinarian. These considerations include your surroundings, hereditary predisposition to specific disorders, and physical concerns. The size of your dog also matters (large vs small breed).

What Is The Difference Between Neuter Surgery And Spay Procedure?

To begin, spay procedure is also known as “fixing” a female dog, whereas neutering is the act of castrating or requiring removal of a male dog’s testicles. Spaying is extremely dangerous surgery since it requires cutting through the abdominal wall. Whereas neutered males recover fast since they only cut through the skin of the testicles.

Spay Procedure

Ovariohysterectomy: Require Removal Of The Uterus And Ovaries Of Spayed Females

Your vet will cut into your dog’s belly on the underside, right around or below where the belly button is. The cut could be small or big. The ovaries and uterus are taken out, and internal stitches are put in.

Large blood vessels need to be stitched shut during this procedure. On the belly, stitches may dissolve on their own or be buried under the skin, so they don’t need to be taken out. The skin may also be stitched together to close the belly, and these will need to be taken out. If your vet needs to take out skin stitches, they will do so 10 to 14 days after surgery.

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Ovariectomy: When The Ovaries Are Taken Out Only

Like an ovariohysterectomy, an ovariectomy can be done through surgery in a dog’s belly. Vets who have had special training can also use a laparoscope to do this procedure.

For laparoscopic surgery, a few small cuts are made in the incision area. The procedure involves taking out the ovaries and only the uterine tissue that is close to them.

Even though this procedure is not as common as an ovariohysterectomy, it will still result in surgical sterilization and can lower the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. But since your dog will still have a uterus, uterine cancer is still a possibility.

Preoperative Instructions: What You Need to Know Before your Spayed Females Get Home

When your spayed females come home from the vet, you should have the following things ready. This will help your dog achieve a comfortable recovery period and prevent postoperative complications:

  • E collar or Elizabethan collar (traditional “cone” or inflatable e-collar)
  • Dog bed
  • Pet carrier
  • Plates for food and water
  • Puppy pads or a trash bag sealed with tape
  • Towel or blanket
  • A room that is quiet and away from kids and other pets
  • Dog kennel
  • Address and phone number of the nearest vet clinic that is open 24 hours a day

How to Set Up a Room For A Safe And Comfortable Recovery

After surgery, dogs will need a lot of time to rest. A lot of people also get angry because the anesthesia makes them feel pain and strange physical sensations. Dogs tend to be irritable because of the pain. So, we’ll have to keep the dog away from kids and other pets.

Find a room that is quiet and can be shut off from children, other dogs, or other animals such as cats. It shouldn’t have couches, beds, or stairs because the dog might be unsteady and fall over. A fall can be very dangerous for a dog that has just been spayed because she could rip the stitches or start bleeding inside.

dog bed incision difficulty male dogs heal

Post Operative Instructions: What To Do 24 Hours After Surgery

Step 1:

When you bring your dog home from the spay surgery, put her in a warm, quiet and confined area. Keep her inside, away from the cold and wet, except when you take her out on a leash to use the bathroom.

Apart from pain medications such as pain killers make sure to apply a small amount of antibiotic cream over the external sutures to prevent the surgery site from getting infections or other problems.

Limit your pet’s activity for the first few days, do not let your dog run or have any rough play or any strenuous activity. Your dog could get stressed or excited by too much noise or other disturbances.

Keep animals, children, and other things that could be a distraction away from her quiet area while she recovers from the anesthesia. Some dogs may throw up after surgery, so be ready to clean it up with a damp washcloth and paper towels.

Step 2:

During the recovery period, provide your dog a clean place to rest. Dogs heal fast if you provide them a comfortable place to rest like a dog bed or a blanket. This will help keep dirt and other things away from the surgical site.

There shouldn’t be much, if any, extra blood or drainage from the cut, but if there is, you can cover your dog’s bed and blankets with clean towels to keep it from getting on them. This will keep your dog’s wound clean and speed the recovery period.

After your dog gets spayed, try to keep her as quiet as possible. When going to the comfort room make your pet move slowly and discourage running. If she barks too much, like running or jumping on furniture, the surgical site could re open and could trigger infection to the surgical site.

Your dog might still be feeling the effects of the anesthetic for the first day or two, so she might not be as steady and coordinated as she thinks she is.

Step 3:

For pain medication, give your dog medicine only when your vet tells you to. Your dog might need an antibiotic to prevent infection. Your vet may also give you pain medications such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with pain and swelling of the surgical site in the first few days after surgery.

Feed your dog exactly what your vet tells you to do after her surgery. Depending on the type of anesthesia and how quickly your dog gets over it, it’s completely normal that your vet may tell you to give her a small amount of food and water when you bring her home and less for a short time after that.

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Keep Them To A Regular Diet

After surgery, your pet should slowly start to eat again over the next 24 hours. Give your pet a half-size meal when you bring it home, and then feed it its regular evening meal. Puppies and kittens can eat more than one meal a day. There should always be water to drink.

Don’t change your pet’s diet after the surgery, and don’t give them junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other “people food.” Changes in their diet after the surgery could hide problems that have arisen after surgery.

Patients’ reactions to surgery can be different, but lethargy that lasts more than 24 hours, diarrhea, or vomiting are NOT normal, and you should call the veterinary clinic away if any of these things happen. Then we can decide if your pet needs to be checked out by a doctor.

If your pet has an Elizabethan collar or a buster collar, you shouldn’t take it off to feed them unless you can watch them. If you do take it out to feed your pet, put it back as soon as he or she is done.

Step 4:

Keep the wound clean and dry

Internal sutures in dogs and female cats give the tissue strength as it heals. These sutures will dissolve after about four months. Surgical glue has also been put on the skin to stop bacteria from getting into the cut.

Male cats don’t have any sutures, and your pet doesn’t either, unless you’re told otherwise. If your pet has sutures or skin staples, you will need to bring them back in 10 days to have them taken out.

Do not give your pet a bath or put ointment on the incision site during the 10-day recovery period. The surgical glue on the incision will dissolve too quickly if it gets wet. Pets must stay inside, where they are clean, dry, and warm. Dogs can go outside on a leash to go to the bathroom.

Do not allow your pet to lick the wound, which could lead to an infection, by giving it treats or using an Elizabethan collar.

Step 5:

Prevent your dog from licking or biting her wound

Make sure your dog doesn’t lick or bite the wound. Many dogs don’t pay any attention to the cut, but some dogs may get annoyed by the sutures and want to lick and chew at them at some point.

These things can cause problems ranging from minor swelling and leakage around the incision site, a suture to an open wound, which is a medical emergency.

When you take your dog home after surgery, ask your vet for an Elizabethan collar so you will have something to protect her if she wants to lick and chew the spay site. The cone-shaped Elizabethan collar keeps your dog from getting to the incision site.

As a general rule in case of medical emergency, like when your pet’s wound re open make sure to bring her to veterinarian immediately. Do not be afraid ask your vet if you have any questions or concerns.

dog harness for car seat belt

Step 6:

For follow-up care, you will be told to do follow up visits to your vet several times after the surgery. Your vet may set up one or two follow-up appointments to check on the incision area if there is infection and your dog’s progress as well. Furthermore, your vet will require follow up visits to remove sutures, if necessary.

Some sutures now dissolve on their own and don’t need to be taken out from your dog’s skin. If you have any worries with your pets at any point during the healing process and recovery time, don’t be afraid to call your vet. Call your vet right away if your dog has signs of an infection or other problems, like a fever, a lot of pain, being tired, or oozing or swelling at the incision site.

Step 7:

Do not allow pet dog males from getting near females that have not been spayed. Males who have been neutered can still get a female who has not been spayed pregnant for up to 30 days after spay/neuter surgery. Keep spayed females away from males who haven’t been neutered for a week.

When an animal comes home from the vet, it may smell different to other animals in the house. This could make the animals fight, so be ready to keep them in different rooms for a few days after surgery.

What to Expect After The Operation

These are some of the most common signs that your dog might have after surgery. If you know what causes these signs and how to treat them, you can help your dog feel better.

Poor Balance

Dogs often have trouble keeping their balance right after surgery. This is probably something you’ll notice right away. It is a normal side effect of the anesthesia, though not all dogs have this problem.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Walk behind your dog as she climbs stairs so you can catch her if she trips and falls.
  • Walk slowly
  • When your dog is outside, keep it on a leash.
  • Be ready to help her get in the car. Don’t let her jump in.
  • Don’t let her near kids or other animals. They might bump into her, which could make her fall or act violently because of pain.
  • Don’t let her jump up on the bed or couch. She might miss, and the sudden movement could cause the stitches to come out.

It’s best not to carry a dog right after it has been spayed. During the procedure, the veterinary surgeon has to cut through the muscles of the dog’s abdominal wall. This makes the dog’s whole torso very sensitive and tender. When you pick her up, you might stretch her skin and muscles in her stomach. This can hurt the stitches and cause pain, so don’t carry your girl.

After getting her back from surgery at the vet’s office, go straight home. She will be hurting and tired.

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Sleepy/Groggy

Because anesthesia makes people feel groggy and makes them sleep for a long time, you can expect that your dog will be tired. Some dogs are affected more than others, though. Only a small number of dogs aren’t sleepy at all by the time they leave the vet clinic.

It’s totally fine for your dog to be tired. They tend to sleep very deeply, which, as I said before, can lead to a dog that pees while she sleeps. So, put a puppy pad or a piece of plastic over the dog’s bed. Check on her every few hours to make sure her bed is dry and take her out often so she can go to the bathroom.

If your dog doesn’t fall asleep after surgery, you’ll have the unpleasant job of keeping her quiet and still. If your dog is trying to jump and play, you may need to crate him.

After the surgery, your dog’s energy level will return to normal over the next few days. Her body might need a little bit more sleep to help it heal, but she shouldn’t be groggy or slow. If it’s been more than 36 hours since your dog’s surgery and he or she still seems tired, call the vet. This could mean that you have an infection.

Not Being Able To Eat or Drink And Throwing Up

Does your dog throw up after getting spayed? This is a normal thing to do. Some dogs will throw up because anesthesia makes them feel sick.

Other dogs won’t eat after surgery because they are sick. Some people won’t even drink water. This is also perfectly normal. It’s a side effect of the anesthesia, and it can also be a response to the pain.

To reduce the chance of throwing up, don’t eat or drink anything until 8 or 9 at night. Your dog may only eat and drink a small amount, or she may refuse.

Within 24 hours of surgery, the dog should no longer feel sick or refuse to eat or drink. If your dog is throwing up and still won’t eat or drink after 24 hours, you should take him to the vet.

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12,787 Reviews
Vet’s Best Aspirin Free Aches + Pains Dog Supplement | Vet Formulated for Dog Pain Support and Joint Relief | 150 Chewable Tablets
  • QUICK RELIEF - Vet’s Best Aspirin Free Aches & Pains Dog Supplements helps quickly relieve temporary discomfort caused by regular exercise and...
  • VETERINARIAN FORMULATED – Contains plant-based and other premium quality ingredients such as glucosamine HCL, pineapple bromelain, MSM, and...
  • TASTY DOG JOINT SUPPLEMENT- Dogs love our chewable formula and each bottle contains 150 tablets.

Things To Observed After 24 Hours of Recovering

Use this list to take care of your dog after she has been spayed. If you notice any of the following, you should call the veterinary clinic right away. The following are not normal behavior or occurrences after a surgery. Hence it is normal to conclude that the following could be a sign of a problem with the surgery:

  • turning down food
  • leakage, bleeding, or swelling at the surgery site
  • slowness or falling down
  • changes in how fast your pet breathe
  • pale gums
  • throwing up or having diarrhea
  • trying too hard to pee or poop
  • not able to go
  • blood on your pet’s urine

dog car seat belt

How To Take Care Of The Cut

Check the cut twice a day. After surgery, it might be a little bit red and have a little bit of swelling. During the first few days, it’s normal for there to be a small amount of bloody discharge.

With a warm, washcloth, you can get rid of dried discharge. Hold the washcloth against the cut for a few seconds, and then wipe the discharge away gently.

During the first few days after a spay, a small amount of antibiotic can be put on the cut. Betadine on a cotton ball or pad can be used to clean the cut. Put some of the Betadine on the dog’s wound.

This is only needed after the discharge is gone or if your dog licks the wound and makes it dirty, etc. (This is another reason why the dog’s e-collar must stay on until it is fully healed!)

Dos and Don’ts Here are some important “dos” and “don’ts” that will help your pet recover from spaying quickly and easily.

Do:

  • Find the phone number and address of the closest clinic that is open 24/7.
  • After surgery, let your dog sleep.
  • Walk your dog on a leash until she recovers
  • Take her to the vet if she is in pain, has signs of an infection, gums that are pale, or other problems.
  • If your dog wants to run, jump, or play, put her in a crate. She can’t do anything for 10–14 days.
  • Expect some minor panting and other signs of pain in the first few hours after surgery.

Don’t:

  • Give aspirin to your dog. It will make her blood thinner and cause her to bleed out of control.
  • Give Tylenol or another painkiller to your dog! These things are bad for dogs.
  • Let your dog run and jump around after the vet remove the stitches  .
  • Let your dog lick where the cut was made.
  • Let her run free until she’s better (10 to 14 days). If she gets lost, she will die!
  • Don’t be surprised if your dog acts mean right after surgery. This is a normal way to react when hurt.
  • Get rid of that e-collar! Your dog only needs a second to pull out her stitches too soon. This can lead to a serious health problem!
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