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Neutering & Spaying: Top 8 Tips for a Fast Recovery

By Aviram K.
September 21, 2022
5 min read
Neutering & Spaying: Top 8 Tips for a Fast Recovery
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.
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After a neuter or a spay, as a dog owner, you want to help your pup recover as quickly as possible.

When you bring your four-legged best friend home, you can do a few things to ensure they are as comfortable as possible and heal up flawlessly.

Generally, it takes around 14 days to fully recover from neutering or spaying. Offer mental stimulation instead of exercise. Check the incision twice daily. Do not walk, jump, or bathe your dog too soon. Keep the same diet and routine. Hide medication in treats and food. Relax your own routine to keep Fido calm, and use calming aids if they are needed.

In this article, I’ll give you all kinds of tips for taking care of your pup after they’ve been fixed, from mitigating pain to understanding your pup’s temporary limitations.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents
01
General Recovery Timeline
02
Tip 1: Offer Mental Stimulation
03
Tip 2: Care for the Incision Properly
04
Tip 3: Don’t Go On Hikes or Big Walks
05
Tip 4: No Jumping!
06
Tip 5: Keep the Same Diet
07
Tip 6: Wait Before Bathing Your Dog
08
Tip 7: Chill Out Your Own Routine
09
Tip 8: Listen to Your Vet

General Recovery Timeline

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Although the recovery time depends upon your dog’s gender (spays can take longer to heal than neuters), your dog’s age, and your individual dog’s immune system, there is a general timeline that can apply. Understanding what your dog can and cannot do and when helps you with their care post-surgery.

  • First 24-48 Hours: The first and second day after surgery is the most critical time to monitor your dog and ensure all is well. You have to make sure your pup is not moving around too much or doing anything to upset the fresh incision. The first 24 hours after surgery are the ripest for infection and complications. The stitches may not have done their magic yet, the anesthetic can still be in the body, and your dog is likely in a cone and not feeling tip top yet.
  • Days 3-5: From the third day onward, your post-op appointment should have been scheduled. This is to check to ensure the incision, stitches, and surgical site is healing up nicely! During this time, you can take your dog out on very gentle short walks inside the home and do some light playing. If you do insist on taking the dog outside, keep the walks to only about 15 steps and away from anything strenuous (like other dogs). Be mindful, as infections are still very much possible.
  • Day 5-10: Day five through ten allows more activity to occur.** **The walks can be longer, playtime can happen (but no jumping), and you can be more relaxed.
  • Day 10-14: Assuming healing continues well, and your veterinarian gives the okay, by day ten, you should be able to go back to much of your normal routine. This includes walks, playtime, training, and more. It is still advised to avoid roughhousing until the wound has fully healed, but the schedule can start to feel normal again!
  • Day 14+: This is when the surgical recovery period ends, assuming your pup is healthy and has healed up nicely. Normal activity resumes!

Remember, the above is a general outline; It is best to follow the treatment plan set forth by your veterinarian! Don’t try to rush your dog; keep focused on what works best for them.

Tip 1: Offer Mental Stimulation

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During recovery, your dog will probably be kept in a kennel to facilitate proper healing. But having nothing to do while being confined to a crate is boring!

Investing in some puzzle toys for mental stimulation is a terrific way to pass the time if your dog doesn’t enjoy lounging around all day. It’s a good idea to tire out a recovering dog since mental stimulation may fatigue your dog just as much as physical activity.

Spread some peanut butter inside of a Classic Kong toy and let your dog have some fun!

Or, get an Idepet toy which is more like a puzzle. This ball has ridges all over it and is filled with easy-to-squish yummies and other goodies that your dog will attempt to get out of it. Put in your dog’s favorite treat, and spoil them a bit!

When your pup is a bit more recovered, you can also do some light trick training as mental stimulation. Anything to keep the mind going! As long as the brain is working, the body will remain at rest.

Tip 2: Care for the Incision Properly

Taking proper care of the incision leads to the fastest healing result.

Be sure to check the incision site twice daily to be able to catch any signs of infection, suture rips, or odd reactions as early as possible. The earlier you catch any complication, the sooner the issue can be remedied! Most vets will allow themselves to be on call after the surgery for all questions, comments, and concerns.

Keep the incision site dry and prevent your dog from licking it. You can use a cone, inflatable neck cone, onesie, or wrap bandages around the incision site to prevent your pup from mucking around with the area. Dogs will naturally want to clean and mess with any spot on their body that aches; your job is to prevent that!

Tip 3: Don’t Go On Hikes or Big Walks

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Walking your dog too soon after surgery carries the greatest risk of reopening the sutures or helping an infection creep in.

Walking might place tension on the incision site in dogs of both sexes. Swelling significantly slows the healing process and might hurt or irritate your dog. Reopening sutures or applying pressure to the surgical site might expose it to germs and diseases, particularly outside.

On the third day after spaying or neutering, you can start giving your dog very brief, gentle walks within the house. If your dog continues to heal well after day five, you can take long walks and be more comfortable while doing so. By day ten, walk as normal!

Tip 4: No Jumping!

Jumping is one of the worst things your dog can do during the healing process, as that puts the most strain on the surgical site (and a surefire way to rip those stitches)! Whatever you do, you have to keep your dog from jumping.

For younger dogs or those of energetic breeds, this can be the hardest thing to prevent - so offering mental stimulation and encouraging crate rest may be the way to go here.

Tip 5: Keep the Same Diet

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Although your dog will likely lack an appetite for the first couple of days post-surgery, once it returns, keep the diet the same as it has always been. Too much change can upset the tummy, and the last thing you want is to add even more discomfort to your dog.

You may notice your dog eats less food than normal. This is typically fine, just a result of surgery. The appetite should return to normal after the first week!

Tip 6: Wait Before Bathing Your Dog

You want to wait at least ten days before bathing your dog - even if it might be tempting to do so right away! Most of the time, surgical glue and dissolving stitches are used on pets, and water can cause these to dissolve earlier than they are supposed to (causing problems).

Equally so, water can cause a wound to be ripe with infection, and patting it down to dry can cause irritation and pain. All around, bathtime is bad when doing so too soon!

Tip 7: Chill Out Your Own Routine

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On top of ensuring your pet isn’t walking too soon, not jumping or roughhousing, and is overall relaxing to heal - you want to ensure that you (yourself) are not adding to their excitement or stress.

Surgery is a big deal, and your pup has no idea what just happened to them. Keeping anxiety levels and stress levels low is key to a quick healing process.

Try to keep your own routine calm and not add too much excitement or energy to the day-to-day. As much as your pup is relaxing, you should be too (for their sake)!

Tip 8: Listen to Your Vet

If your vet has told you something different than what was written in this article, please listen to them.

They know exactly what methods they used for the surgery, which may or may not enable your dog to recover faster (or slower).


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NeuterSpay
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