Caring for Your Dog After Spaying

You may have heard of the importance of spaying or neutering your dog, so you have made the decision to spay your pup. 

With that, it’s crucial to know what to expect after the surgery itself.

Is vomiting normal? How can you avoid infection of the wound? Should they keep on sleeping?

The good news is that spaying is straightforward. Aftercare, monitoring the incision is more challenging. We tell you why you should spay your dog and how to care for them afterward.

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caring for spayed dogs

Spaying vs. Neutering

Spaying simply means the removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs, while neutering is the same procedure for male dogs.

When a female dog is spayed, the vet removes her ovaries and usually her uterus as well.

Spaying means the female dog can no longer reproduce and go through the heat cycle. 

The procedure is also known as an ovariohysterectomy, where the uterus and ovaries are removed, or an ovariectomy, where only ovaries are removed. Both procedures are safe and effective.

A dog’s behavior related to breeding instincts usually ceases when they are spayed, but this is not always true for every dog.

Why Spay Your Dog

Animal shelters around the country are loaded with unwanted puppies and dogs. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that about 6.5 million animals enter the shelter or rescue system every year. 

Of these 6.5 million, only about 3.2 million get adopted and find safe, new homes. 

But with spaying or neutering, the number of unwanted litters is reduced, and in turn, so is the number of unwanted pets or stray animals that enter shelters or rescues. 

Spaying also has health benefits that help a dog live a healthier and longer life without behavioral issues.

Spaying our furry friends also help to avoid serious health problems, including mammary cancer and pyometra, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection.

These benefits encourage many dog parents to spay their dog at 2 months old or older.

But it’s recommended to spay a female dog before her first heat cycle. This varies but usually occurs somewhere between 5 and 10 months of age.

How to Care for Your Dog after Spaying

When your newly-spayed dog returns from the veterinary clinic, prepare to do the following for them.

Set a Recovery Room for Them

It doesn’t have to be an actual room. You can just set aside a safe space for them to recover and to keep your children and other pets safe from the possible aggression caused by your dog’s pain.

The recovery room should be free of couches, beds, and stairs, as the dog may be unsteady and prone to falling.

A good choice for this is a bathroom or laundry as it also allows for easy clean-up if they vomit.

Have the following in their space:

Cover the bed with a puppy pad or place the bed inside a plastic bag and tape it closed. This will help make any mess easy to clean up.

Beware of Poor Balance

Dogs tend to have a poor balance after surgery because of anesthesia. To assist them, walk slowly behind them when walking up and down stairs or outside to keep them from falling. 

It’s also not recommended to carry a dog after spaying surgery. The entire torso becomes very sensitive and tender, so carrying them risks stretching their skin and abdominal muscles.

This can cause pain and damage to the stitches, so avoid carrying your pup around.

Avoid Vomiting

Vomiting and nausea are side effects of anesthesia, so it’s totally normal if they puke. Some won’t even eat after surgery. 

To avoid your pup getting sick, try waiting until later at night before putting down any food and water. Your dog may only eat a small amount of food and water so don’t worry if they don’t eat it all.

Let Them Sleep

Another effect of anesthesia is grogginess and long periods of sleep. Your dog will always be tired and prone to deep sleep. 

This can also result in peeing in their sleep. To help with cleanup, cover the dog’s bed with a puppy pad or plastic.

It’s also normal if your dog doesn’t feel groggy or sleepy post-surgery. If this is the situation, make sure to keep them inactive and quiet. 

Crating may be required if your dog is attempting to jump and play too much though.

Even if your dog has already recovered and their energy levels go back to normal, they still require a bit of extra sleep to further heal. 

Treat Their Incision

The incision in your dog’s abdomen may be secured through stitches, dissolving stitches, wound glues, or staples. 

If the incision is closed with wound glue, you must use extreme caution to avoid getting it wet, so don’t bathe them.

On the other hand, non-dissolving stitches and staples will be removed at the vet’s office after 10 to 14 days.

Make sure to check the incision daily for swelling or blood-tinged discharge, which are both normal. Remove the discharge with a warm washcloth. 

Your vet may also recommend applying a small dab of antibiotic cream during the couple of days of post-spay. 

Also, watch out for signs of infection, like:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • A gap between the edges of the incision
  • Pus discharge
  • A large amount of discharge
  • A bad odor from the discharge
  • Bleeding, especially after the first 36 hours after surgery.

Follow Any After-Surgery Tips

It’s important to spay your female dog at 5 to 10 months of age. It helps prevent serious health problems, including mammary cancer and pyometra. 

It also helps in reducing the number of unwanted dogs that end up in shelters.

Consider any after-surgery advice provided by your vet and use these tips to help your dog recover more quickly post-spay procedure.

Prepare their space, watch out for side effects of anesthesia, and infections, and make sure to give them enough rest.