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February Is Spay & Neuter Awareness Month: Here’s What to Expect After Your Pup Is Neutered or Spayed

Having your dog “spayed” is one of the most crucial ways to care for their health and general well-being. Responsible down owners should get their dogs spayed and neutered.

But if you’re a first-time dog owner, it’s more than likely that you have questions about the procedures and what to expect afterward. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

beagle sleeping

Why Is Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered Important?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 3.1 million dogs are brought to animal shelters every year in the United States. And sadly, not many of them are adopted. You can help reduce the general number of unplanned puppies every year by having your dog spayed or neutered.

Moreover, spaying or neutering will help improve your dog’s quality of life. Your female dog will live a longer and healthier life. Moreover, spaying reduces the risk of illnesses like uterine infections and malignant breast tumors.

Similarly, your male dog will also live a longer life without many health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.

And if that isn’t enough, spaying or neutering also helps improve your dog’s behavioral issues. Your female dog won’t yowl or be in heat, and your male dog won’t roam around or mark their territory.

What to Expect Post-Surgery for Female Dogs

Though spaying is considered a common procedure, it’s still a complicated surgery. Most vets recommend spaying your female dog before entering her first heat cycle. However, it’s better to spay your dog after it has turned two.

The spay procedure is performed in different ways. Ovariohysterectomy is the more common one and involves removing the ovaries and the uterus.

Though most dogs don’t need pain medications afterward, it’s not completely unheard of. Your dog may be sent home or admitted to the hospital overnight. It’s also common for your dog to have nausea and refuse food for a day or two.

Every dog is different, and many will act like themselves post-surgery. Most dogs recover entirely within 10-14 days unless there are any complications.

How Do You Take Care of Them?

You have to take care and restrict your dog’s activity for a little while. Because a lot of movement may result in swelling, and it can also lead to the fluid cumulating under the incision. Check the incision daily to see if it’s healing properly. Take note of any infections and look for signs such as swelling, redness, or discharge. Also, it’s better not to bathe your dog for at least ten days post-surgery.

Don’t allow your dog to lick their stitches because it can cause infections or premature removal of stitches. Put them in an Elizabethan collar to ensure that the stitches heal properly. Also, try to restrict or discourage any physical activity if your dog wants to play. It’s also a wise decision to keep them away from other animals. Ask your vet when it’s okay to let your dog exercise again and take them on walks.

Signs of Surgical Complications


  1. Refusing food for more than a day
  2. Sluggishness
  3. Discharge, bleeding, or swelling near the incision
  4. Diarrhea and vomiting
  5. Pale gums
  6. Dog unable to pee or straining to defecate
  7. Collapsing

If you notice any of these signs, call your vet immediately.

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What to Expect Post-Surgery for Male Dogs

The neutering process is pretty uncomplicated for male dogs. Male dogs can go home the same day after the procedure. Your dog may also feel nauseous and turn away food for a day or two. It shouldn’t be a problem unless they consistently reject meals.

Your dog’s scrotum will be swollen for a few days after the surgery. It’s important that you don’t allow your dog to lick their scrotum as it can worsen the swelling. If your dog keeps licking their incision, pop on an Elizabethan collar to give the stitches enough time to heal. After you give it enough time to heal, your dog’s scrotum will flatten as time passes.

Your dog may have to get their stitching removed around a week or ten days post-surgery. Ask your vet about this and how to check if the incision is healing properly.

Your dog might immediately feel better and want to play. Try to discourage this behavior and restrict their activity for a few days to limit the chances of their stitches opening. Let your dog rest for two weeks before allowing them to engage in exercises like jumping off of things or taking them on walks. It’s best to keep your dog away from other animals for a few days and keep them inside your home at all times.

Signs of Surgical Complications

The complications estimates are around 0 to 32%, and younger dogs are more likely to have more complications. These complications include wound separation at the surgical incision, bleeding, bruising, and scrotal hematoma. Most of these traumas can be caused by your dog scratching its site of the incision.

Check daily for:

  1. Incision opening
  2. Bleeding
  3. Infections like puffiness or oozing wounds
  4. A large amount of swelling
  5. Any major changes in your dog’s behavior

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If you want more advice and help to improve the quality of your dog’s life, download the theDogHood App now on your smartphone to connect with the global dog lovers’ community. Not only will you connect with local dog lovers and pet parents to discuss issues and habits, but you can also get recommendations for local vets, products, and services. You can discuss which vet is better for your dog’s surgical procedure and what you can expect afterward. You can also seek advice from professional dog trainers and dog behavioral specialists to help your dog with its surgical procedure.

As soon as you join the community, you can create or discover dog-friendly events, find local theDogHood hubs, and share cute videos and pictures of your doggo on the PAWFEED.

You can download our extension Hoomans of the theDogHood to share your dog’s stories and read heartwarming stories of dogs.

So, what are you waiting for? Scan the QR code below to download the theDogHood App:

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