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Neutering & Spaying: How Soon Can You Walk Your Dog Again?

By Aviram K.
September 21, 2022
4 min read
Neutering & Spaying: How Soon Can You Walk Your Dog Again?
✏️ 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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Dogs love their daily walk; it’s a great time to get out and explore the world while bonding together!

But when you take your pup in to get spayed or neutered, you may wonder when you can return to your daily walking routine.

Starting on day three, you can take your dog on short, light walks. By day five, your walk can increase in duration. By day 10, you should be back to a regular walking routine. However, be careful not to overexert your dog and have them walk too soon, as stitches could tear, surgery site swell, and infection brew. Focus on mental stimulation to keep your dog from needing to be too active during healing.

Both operations have a recovery time if your dog is being neutered or spayed. A spay is even more invasive for female dogs than a neuter on a male dog!

In this article, I’ll give you a heads-up on when to expect to get back to your outdoor romps after the operation.

Just make note that it is best to consult your veterinarian on an exact timeline for your specific dog.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents
01
Risk of Walking Your Dog Too Early
02
Preparing to Walk Your Dog Again: The Timeline
03
Alternatives to Walking Your Dog During the Recovery

Risk of Walking Your Dog Too Early

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Although fixing a dog is considered routine and straightforward, nothing about surgeries is simple.

You are still putting a dog under anesthesia, making incisions, and altering a part of their body - which is quite serious. All of the above requires recovery time and rest to ensure that complications don’t arise from the operation.

The biggest risk in walking your dog too soon after surgery is reopening the stitches or causing swelling.

In both male and female dogs, walking can strain the incision site. In addition, swelling delays the healing process immensely and can cause your dog pain and discomfort.

Reopening stitches or putting pressure on the surgery area can open itself up to bacteria and infections, especially outdoors!

Post-surgery, the muscles will be sore, and your dog will be fatigued. The more tired your pup and their body are, the more painful the surgery can be. Your goal as a pet owner is to mitigate the risks, manage the pain, and help your pup recover as quickly as possible!

Preparing to Walk Your Dog Again: The Timeline

A male dog’s neuter and a female dog’s spay are fairly different, impacting the timeline at which you can safely take your dog for a walk again.

Neutering removes an external component (the male dog’s testicles). In contrast, a spay removes an internal component (the female dog’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus).

Generally speaking, neutering has a faster recovery time than spaying. Still, it depends upon the individual dog and how well they heal. That being said, whether your dog is neutered or spayed, the general timeline given by veterinarians is about the same:

  • Day One (first 24 hours): This is the most critical time to ensure your dog is not moving too much. The first 24 hours after surgery are the ripest for infection and complications. The wound is fresh, 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 of shame (the big neck collar to prevent licking of the wound).
  • Day Two: The second day tends to progress the same as the first, don’t force your dog to walk or move too much. If they want to walk or move, try to keep it as minimal and light as possible.
  • Days Three through Five: Starting on day three, it is a good idea to get a post-op look by the veterinarian to ensure everything is healing up nicely. During this time, you can take your dog out on very gentle short walks inside the home. If you 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 Five through Ten: The walks can be longer, and you can be more relaxed during them, assuming your dog continues to be healing up nicely!
  • Day Ten and Onward: Assuming healing continues well and your veterinarian gives the okay, by day ten, you should be able to return to your normal walking routine. It is still advised to avoid roughhousing until the wound has fully healed, but the schedule can start to feel normal again!

With male neuters, the timeline above tends to be fairly accurate and applicable to most male dogs. However, your dog may need more time with female spays than the timeline described above.

That’s because the spay surgery can make your pup more sluggish and fatigued for longer. Therefore, it is best to follow the treatment plan set forth by your veterinarian!

Alternatives to Walking Your Dog During the Recovery

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Our dogs don’t understand that they went through an operation, so they may be eager to return to a normal routine!

But as mentioned above, taking them on intensive walks isn’t safe too soon after surgery. Restricting playtime and exercise for a little while is a good call.

Your pup will likely be on crate rest for a while to ensure they heal up fine. But being stuck in a kennel with nothing to do is boring! If you have a dog that isn’t into sleeping all day, buying some puzzle toys for the crate is a great way to pass the time. Mental stimulation can exhaust your pup just as much as physical exercise, so it’s a great idea to tire a recovering dog out!

A Classic Kong toy is an excellent idea; put some peanut butter on there, freeze it, and let your pup go ham for a bit! As one of the most popular dog toys of all time, a Kong has a lot of usage for your dog.

An Idepet toy is similar to a Kong but has more of a puzzle element to it. This ball has teeth ridges running all around it, easy to squish kibble, treats, peanut butter, and other goodness for your dog to try and get out.

When you do start exercising your pup again, begin with some light walks at home. This helps condition your pup back into going on a full walk when they’re healed up. You can play with some toys but do so gently to not irritate the surgery site.


Tags
NeuterSpay
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