Neutering your dog prevents unwanted litters and reduces the risk of certain health issues such as cancers developing. Most dogs are not kept overnight after their procedure and can come home a few hours after coming around from the anaesthetic.
Your dog will be sleepy and probably feeling a little sorry for themselves when you collect them which is normal. Lift them into and out of the car rather than letting them try to jump and once home, leave them somewhere cosy and quiet to rest for the first few hours.
Keep a close eye on them to make sure they are ok. If they are crate trained they can rest here but if not let them sleep in their bed on the floor in a room they cannot jump up on a sofa.
Take them out on their lead for the first few days to toilet in the garden so they don’t over do it. They may need to go more than usual on the first day if they have been given IV fluids. If they struggle to urinate or defecate after 72 hours call your vet.
What to check for
Check the incision twice a day. Ask your dog to roll over and get a good look at it. You are looking for redness, swelling or a discharge. A small amount of bruising is normal as is redness or swelling as your dog heals. If you think the incision site looks worse rather than better, call your vet as they may want to see them ahead of their scheduled check-up.
Its necessary to prevent your dog from licking and nibbling the wound. There are a few post surgery options for your dog to wear:
- Recovery Suit. This is worn like a onesie, is machine washable and has poppers either side of the tail so it only needs rolling up when you take your dog to the toilet. The suits are comfortable, come in a few sizes and protect the incision site.
- The Cloud Collar: This soft inflatable collar is worn around the neck like a pillow. It doesn’t affect your dog’s ability to eat and drink. It is machine-washable and is designed to give your dog full visibility and range of motion. Some dogs can still reach the incision site with this style so It’s a good idea to supervise them at first to check their range of motion to see if the inflatable collar is suitable.
- Elizabethan Collar: This is the traditional plastic cone that attaches to your dog’s collar and worn around the neck. It comes in various sizes. Some dogs find it difficult to navigate wearing this style of cone due to its width and can bash into things like door frames. You should also check your dog can reach their food and water with the cone on as it may need raising off the ground.
All three options should be available to buy directly from your vet or to buy online.
Most dogs will feel a little depressed after surgery which is understandable. They are sore and drowsy and don’t know why. Some dogs may even be a bit snappy or reactive due to the discomfort and pain. They may feel disorientated, queasy, and vulnerable due to the anaesthetic which can make them act defensively. If you have multiple dogs or other pets and your dog is behaving this way, keep them separated for a while until they have perked up.
Food and Water
Once your dog is home from the vet, offer them a little water. Don’t let them go overboard as this can cause vomiting which will be painful post-surgery. Leave them to sleep for a while and once awake and alert you can offer them food. Start with half the amount and if they vomit don’t offer more. The anaesthetic can make dogs feel nauseous. You can try again later with something bland like plain white rice and boiled chicken.
Your dog’s appetite should be back to normal after 24 hours. If 48 hours have passed and your dog is not eating normally again, call your vet.
If your dog is not completely healed and you allow unrestricted activities, they could end up with complications and a much longer recovery time. Too much activity can cause sutures to pop open, bleeding externally or internally, infections, swelling and worse.
Your dog can go outside the day after the operation but keep them on lead and take it slowly initially. Avoid wet walks and stick to the pavement. Restrict the length of their walk until you get the all clear at your post op check up. No running, jumping, playing, walking off lead, or being unattended without restriction (ie don’t leave them to jump on and off sofas or run up and down stairs).
Do not wash your dog until they are totally healed. This can introduce bacteria into the surgery site.
Neutering can be associated with weight gain due to the hormonal changes that take place. Keep them healthy and fit with regular exercise and by reducing their calorie intake slightly. They should also be on an adult diet moving forward as puppy food has more calories in it to help your growing puppy.