Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

What to Expect After Neutering a Dog

| 47 Comments

Caras was neutered.The dog stumbles on the curb as I walk him to the car. I’m ready for it because I know what to expect after neutering a dog. After this blog, you’ll be ready, too.

Day Of Neuter Surgery

Some vets allow dogs to go home the same day and others keep your dog overnight. Both approaches are normal. If your dog comes home the same day, this is what I would expect:

  • Your dog may be groggy and disoriented from the anesthesia so watch him. He may stumble down stairs or trip off the curb as described above. I keep dogs on leash and a wide flat collar or back clip harness with me outside and inside, if there are stairs that I cannot block off.
  • Pain meds. Giving dogs pain relief after surgery is standard practice. Thankfully.
  • May or may not poop. Depends on the dog, but I am not surprised when they do not. They should tomorrow. If assuming the position is painful, they may have a few false starts or poop in an unusual pose for a couple of days.
  • Keep things clean. I clean the crate with a bleach wipes daily and make sure any bedding is fresh and clean. I continue this practice for the first week.
  • Limit food and water. The general guideline I’ve been given is 1/2 the normal amount that evening. This is to prevent tummy upset and vomiting post anesthesia. Always follow your vet’s guidelines.
  • Expect a lot of sleeping. They may snore. They may sleep with the tip of their tongue hanging out.
  • Prevent climbing up or jumping off things. Remember, they just had surgery. No gymnastics, no matter how “ordinary” it may seem. Focus them on floor level flop zones, sitting on the floor  with your dog can accomplish this, or crate them, if control is difficult.
  • If they were given IV fluids, they will pee… a lot… multiple times. So walk outside, on leash, a few times until the lengthy peeing stops.

Days After Neuter Surgery

  • Dogs recover from surgery shockingly fast. Some dogs will feel darn near 100% 24-36 hours after and then your work really begins: Keeping them from overdoing things.
  • Female surgery involves cutting the muscles into the belly. They must be kept on leash and calm during the first 7-10 days, as directed by the veterinarian. Don’t take your dogs word for what is good to do. Dogs are very bad judges of such things. She’ll tell you rabbit chasing and stair racing are great. They are not. On leash, inside and out, with lots of engrossing (and sometimes just gross) chews, food toys and other “projects” is the plan.
  • Male surgery, though harder for many psychologically, is a smaller, “simple” skin incision. Nonetheless, male dogs, too, must be kept quiet for as long as your veterinarian advises.
  • Sometimes fluid will fill the scrotum after surgery making your male dog appear unneutered. In time, this will be absorbed by the body. If you have questions or concerns, always call your veterinarian.
  • The rapid change in hormones that come after neutering a dog can cause accidents. So walk more often and, as mentioned above, crate your dog. This will pass, in my experience, in 10-14 days. Please don’t be angry if an accident happens, your dog is surprised, too.
  • Wounds really start to itch about 5-7 days into healing so watch your dog for licking. If they start to worry the wound you’ll need to use a Bite Not Collar, Comfy Cone or E-Collar for a few days.

The good news is that neutering a dog only happens once. When the healing is done, your dog will be ready to go!

Now you know.

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47 Comments

  1. We just adopted a 3 year old shih tzu, who was neutered 11 days ago. We’ve had him for 2 days. He gets taken out about every 1-2 hours and he has not had any long pees. He does seem to be marking, but I’m not sure. Any suggestions??

    • Hi Evelyn – congrats on your new shih tzu! It’ll take about 6 weeks for his hormones to completely shift over to neutered status. And, if he was a big marker before, he may not know how to really let it all go at once. Also, he may be anxious about being adopted (that is standard) and that anxiety can increase him marking.

      Is he clean in your home?

  2. Hi! I have two Shih Tzu puppies one female and the other a male; they both are siblings. Both puppies are 6 months of age. The female seems to have potty training down. She will use the potty pads each time. The male on the other hand does not. He will poop on the pad, but he recently stopped peeing on the pad this week. He was neutered almost two weeks ago. The female will be spayed in a few days.

    I would like to know what may be the cause of my male puppy not using the pad to pee anymore? My partner and I are planning to contact our vet to see if there is a medical problem. We almost think there could be a possibility that he is acting out for an unknown reason.

    Thanks

  3. Hi there. my weimeraner was castrated a week ago… his behaviour of the last couple of days has been so hyper active… he has had plenty of exercise , so I can’t understand why he is being so crazy?

    • Hi Clare –

      Hmmm… a week ago is a bit early for plenty of exercise. He’s still healing up. I know it is basically self-defense at this point but I’d focus on leash work and self-control, not running hard yet.

      As long as you vet says he’s healing well, then could be rapid hormonal changes (how old is he) or confusion (if extra attention is being given).

      Either way, same recipe should help: On leash work, self-control, plenty of rest and tincture of time.

      Sarah

  4. I have had my dog for 2 months and no peeing in the house. I got him nuetered a week ago and since then he has peed in the house 4 times. I have him on a schedule for eating and going out and actively goes but still also in the house. Can you help me determine why this is happening

  5. Why does my Bishon frise puppie keep sitting down when walking since his castration he also keeps hiding in corners which he did not do before

    • Hi Tina –

      That’s a question for his veterinarian first. Assuming all is well medically and that he’s on the pain relief needed after major surgery, then we can guess something behavioral.

      Hopefully he’ll snap out of it soon. – Sarah

    • hi tina,
      My Pomeranian puppy did that too. did you notice panting? Hes gotten over it over this last week but for Teddy it was just a case of needing to take a break. He was still sore (hence the panting and restlessness in the house) but wanted to walk. I just took him for short walks on dry roads and paths allowing him plenty of time to stop and sniff so we made it more of a sensory walk than just exercise based- which cheered him up a bit. Hope that helps

  6. Our 1 year old Retriever was castrated on Wednesday and try as we may to keep him to rest he is just as active. But today (Saturday) he has been sick several times. He seems well in himself but its a worry to hear a dog wretching.

    Also his poo is runny today and hasn’t been up to now.

    Is this normal post op stuff or should we watch for anything else?

    • Hi Colin –

      That is not normal, in my non-vet experience. Is he on antibiotics? Could be a reaction to meds but I’d run it past his veterinarian, for sure.

  7. We just adopted a. 3 mo old Daschund-Terrier mix. He was neutered three days ago, has a mildly warm dry nose, and is.pretty sleepy. He’s been alert and playful for small periods, but we have really tried to keep him melloweven during these small moments. Should we be worried? Or is this typical? There’s no swelling or evidence of infection at the incision site,. It does seem like he may have a bit of a cold. Advice?

    • Hi Bianca – Congrats on your new rescue. That’s a cute mix. :)

      I’m not a vet, as you know, so I share this from my experience in rescue and in dogs. A dog in a new home may sleep for many days as they catch up with the stress/changes on the rescue experience. A dog can get a kennel cough (doggy cold) during rescue, as their immune system is stressed by the stress.

      But, there are more serious things that can look like a cold at first so watch him like a hawk. If he seems sick rather than sleepy (skips meals, diarrhea, bad congestion), you R-U-S-H to the vet ASAP. And, I would talk to his vet when the office opens next to get your concerns answered by people who know your dog, know that rescue and may know what’s “going around”.

      I hope all is normal with your little one. – Sarah

  8. My barely 6-month old Yorkie was neutered two days ago. The surgery was performed in the evening and he spent the night afterwards at the clinic for 24-hour observation.

    Up until this point his potty training has been 100%. He always goes ONLY on his potty pad. Tonight, though, he peed on the bed, not once but twice. The first time, I wasn’t entirely sure, as I noticed a little spot after I walked back into the room after stepping out, but it had no odor. The second time though, he stood up, assumed his usual squatting pee pose, and just peed a copious amount all over the bed, tail erect, no sign of fear or embarrassment or having done something wrong. Anyways, I did not punish but I crated him afterwards. I’m wondering if this is normal two-days post-op or I should be concerned? Could all his training have been forgotten in one night in a vet kennel without a potty pad, or is this a symptom of surgery, a an adverse effect of surgery? Thanks so much.

  9. Hi,

    I just got my 2yr old neutered that I got from the shelter — turns out he was bilateral cryptorchid. Any way, he was the master of markers before outside, and now when I take him out, at least last night and this morning, I noticed he did not mark as much nor did he really go to the bathroom. Instead, this morning, he went on the carpet in front of me. I have not seen him make a mistake inside, besides when first getting him used to his crate. After that, I never saw a mistake.

    I saw you mention that they may not be used to going all at once. Do I need to redo house training making sure when they are outside they really do go? He stays in his create usually, but I wonder if I need to slim it down again?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • He’s in recovery so more walks outside, more supervision inside, more eagle eye for the moment and more crate rest are all helpful. This too shall pass and he’ll be all healed up in 10-14 days.

      If you have any worries or he seems in pain or sick, call your vet ASAP.

      Best – Sarah

  10. Hi Sarah – Back in May, you replied to some that it takes about 6 weeks for the hormones to settle down. I was wondering if you can expand on that as to what changes one can expect (in a male). I’m assuming less marking, less mounting (if not too entrenched), etc. Anything else?

    Also, we are about 12 days past neutering (11 month old, Maltese/Yorkie/Norwich) and our guy seems a bit more tired than before surgery. Normal? He was at the vet 3 days ago for a bordetella vaccine and she said he looked good.

    Thx,
    Rob

    • Describe “tired”?

      Resting more? Not barking as much? Less “busy”?

      Could be the combo of almost a year + neutering. As long as he has the vet’s okay, time will tell.
      (At a year, I took my field=bred Springer to the vet. Thought she was sick. Nope. Just a bit grown up. ;) Hope the same for you.)

  11. I just had my 3 year old shitzhu-poodle mix neutered. He has always been very healthy and has had regular vet checks. It has been 7 days since his surgery. His incision looks great, no redness, no swelling, no discharge. Last night he felt slightly warm but today he feels normal. No other symptoms. He is sheepish acting and is whiny, which is not his normal personality. Should I be worried? He HATES the vet…and considering what happened this last time, I don’t want to take him and stress him out unless it is absolutely necessary.

    • Hi Paula – A week, huh? He “should” be feeling much better soon. At this point, the I would not be expecting infection with the healing you describe; that would have probably shown itself earlier than this. I’ve never had a dog have surgical issues at a week later who had a healthy, healing incision.

      I consider recovery from surgery behavior normal: more tired, possibly in pain (did you his vet give him pain relief?), more “hiding” as many dogs will tuck under or into something when they feel less than well. He’s also having a rapid hormonal shift which he may be reacting to.

      Now dogs do run warmer than us (101.5) and a worried hand can feel that warmth and worry BUT… not a vet and can’t see him so you have to judge the situation. I tend to trust loving pet people instincts quite a lot and if you think something is different or “wrong”, I respect that.

      Hope that is helpful –

      Sarah

  12. I just had my year and a half old american bulldog neutered yesterday . he seems normal he goes to the bathroom outside but when I brought him in last night he was bleeding from his stitches I walked him on a leash in the back yard. He pooped and peed can it be him straining from pooping. I put him in the crate and he goes crazy and barks and almost cries and I’m scared he will hurt himself. He sleeps on the bed with me so last night I put the mattress on the floor so he doesn’t climb. I’m worried about the bleeding and crateing

    • Hi Nicole. I bet you’re worried! Bleeding from the stitches is a “call your veterinarian” situation. Big, active dogs can pull the stitches moving around and they can lick the wound if not in a head cone. Hopefully all is well but please come back and let me know. {{{ }}}

  13. I just found this page after googling about my 2 year old potty trained aussie having an accident on my rug right in front of us- without getting up. He was just neutered today and I found the information on this site very helpful and helpful for keeping me calm. It has the most relevant info and I just wanted to say thanks for it. Thanks for the insight!

    • Sounds like a long day for everyone, Dee. I had and loved Aussies for over 15 years. They are wonderful companions but they can be sensitive to events and chemicals. Especially the merles and chemicals. So, I’m not surprised by your report but I am so pleased to be of help to you during some confusion.

      Things should heal up (and dry up) quickly. Give him a very gentle pat from me and thank you for taking the time to let me know this helped—that is the best reward you can give me. – Sarah

  14. Hi Sarah,
    I just got my dog back from the vet today (he is male). I was wondering if it was normal for dogs poop to be jet black and watery, also gassy as he is pooping, after getting neutered. He spent two days afterwards with the vet before bringing him home today but he ate the same meals as he would have at the house. So I’m not sure whether I should be concerned about this or is this just a phase? (The vet did not tell me anything about black poop when we took him)
    Thanks

    • Hi Mia – I’d certainly give the vet a call. Black poop can be serious (blood in the stool) or it can be a result of medication (pepto turns the stool dark). My guess, from here, is that he has diarrhea after surgery (some dogs do from stress) and they treated him but you have to call and ask.

      Blood in the stool would be extremely unlikely after a neuter, BTW. Never heard of it in 25+ years in dogs but I would check with the vet. Hopefully all is well. – Sarah

  15. Hi Sarah

    We are fostering a stray in our neighbourhood who was spayed two days ago. We used to feed her whenever she comes by. She was sent to our house yesterday afternoon. She is eating very slowly, and doesn’t want to walk at all. Totally listless. She has yet urinate or poo for two days at our place. Is this normal after spaying?

    Thanks!

    Rgds

    • Hi Rain –

      “Listless” two days after surgery is unusual. I’d certainly call the vet.

      Additionally, has she ever lived inside? Gone to the bathroom on leash? Both these things might inhibit, confuse a free-ranging dog.

      Fill me in –

      Sarah

  16. Hi, I just adopted a 1 year old miniature pinscher mix. I took him to get neutered today. When we came home he was very out of it and we laid down. He has suddenly got up and started to have diarrhea, it seems to be just pouring out in a sense and it appears to be watery but gel like at times and blood is present. Is this normal? He is moaning while it happens, please any advice is appreciated!

    • Oh, poor little guy.

      Always call your vet about such an extreme thing. My guess? Stress of changing homes (even to a much better one) and surgery threw his tiny system off. But he needs medical support so talk to his vet. I bet a few days of TLC and rest will set him right but find out for sure. Hard way for both of you to start off.

  17. Hi Sarah –
    My 6 month old German shepherd just got nuetered today. I have not yet picked him up from the vet, but I wanted to ask you a few questions so I am prepared for what may happen. He normally sleeps outside in his dog house. Should I put him in his crate inside the house for a few nights? Or is he okay to stay outside!? Also, will he have to pee a lot? He’s not really house trained so I know he’ll pee if he has to in the house wherever. Should I take him outside often? Thank you. Hope to hear back! – Jenna

    • Hi Jenna – Great questions. Yes, bring his crate inside until he is healed up. Yes, walk him more often. Yes, speak to his vet about exercise and his stitches but usually it is “keep him quiet until he is healed up” and that takes a week+. Until then he’s in recovery (though he won’t think so) so it’s on leash or crated. When on leash most dogs will resist peeing so that should help with his house training and that will help for a life time.

      Supervision is key and supervising an outside dog just isn’t possible.

      It’ll be a hassle over the holiday but it’s worth it. Both of you never have to go through it again!

      Hope it all goes smoothly for you both. Thank you for asking.

  18. Hello I got my male dog neutered 11 days ago the last 2 days he’s been having accidents in the house im getting worried is this normal or has my dog now developed a problem? Please help!! :(

    • Hi Heidi – I’ve seen this before. Supervise him more, crate him more and walk him more. Should be done with this phase in less than a week. But… not there, can’t see him so any concerns need to be run past your vet. Oh, and if it has snowed where you are and the accidents are big, could be snow-eating related more than neutering related.

  19. Hi hope you can help I got my dog neutered 11 days ago after 4 days at his follow up check up I told vet he wasnt settleing as if he couldnt lay down that his sack was really red and I thought it was hurting him they gave me antibotics and more pain killer to give and a different type of neck collar to use the first 3 days where fine when given medication but on 4th day he started being sick wasnt keeping anything down I noticed it was after the medication he was being sick until there was nothing left to bring up I have stopped given meds do u think this is whats making him sick I will phone vet when he opens up but he his closed for holiday period could you help with any advice at the moment my dog is a lab doodle and hes 6 years old.
    thankyou
    jane

    • Hi Jane –

      Glad you’re contacting your vet. Always a good plan. What I can share is my experience so here goes: Older dogs’ scrotums are going to be more stretched than a pup’s after neutering. Being a “low point” after surgery, I’ve seen them bruise, get red and be quite swollen afterward. That can take a couple of weeks to subside. For the swelling, even longer. And yes, some antibiotics can upset their stomachs (google that med, dogs, and side effects, see what comes up). So, my g-u-e-s-s is that all is basically okay and will just get better.

      If he is otherwise acting normally, that would be reassuring to me. If he is acting sick then I would find an ER. (I don’t know why this stuff so often happens over holidays but it seems to be the rule. If you’re worried, find a clinic that is open. All I can share is my experience, I’m not a vet.)

      Were you instructed to give the meds after he had eaten? That can help some dogs.

      My hope is that the worst is behind both of you on this. It should be, at this point. I hope so. Please let me know. – Sarah

  20. Hi! Hope you can help. My dog got spayed yesterday! She has only peed 2 times since then. Once after she came home and once over night. She hasn’t pooped at all after the surgery. Should I be worried? Thank you for your help/advice!

    • Hi –

      Some dogs, esp. sensitive dogs, will avoid any “pushing” or squatting since they just had abdominal surgery. Bowels can be slowed by pain meds. You may see her walk outside, start to squat, then stop, stand up and walk some more. That can be ouchiness as she squats.

      It is major surgery and dogs can be “off” for several days afterward. But, always – always – consult your vet with concerns. They know your dog and their surgery best.

  21. I got my dog neutered today and he is still bleeding from his cut is that normal

    • That’s best a vet call.

      Some seeping can happen with some dogs, in my experience, but how much and what is normal? Give the vet a ring.

  22. Hi Sarah,

    My 7 years old female dog got spayed two days ago.

    She’s having small meals, drinks much lesser than before.

    I’ve noticed small amount of poop she did, not really like diarehhea but soft?
    Also she tries to pee a lot, nothing much is coming out but everytime she goes out
    she just poses to pee, pee and pee…

    Oh.. Also on the first day she came back after the surgery I could hear this very loud loud gurgling sound…. funny it went away after pooping..

    Called vet to ask if its normal.. and they said it is…
    but I am just still very worried..

    Do you see anything wrong going on here?

    Thanks Sarah

    • Hi David –

      Glad you checked in with your vet. All dogs, and older ones in particular, go through massive hormonal shifts after neutering. It passes but the body can take a while to settle back in. Also, if she was in or near heat, that is even a bigger swing. So feeling “weird” and acting “weird” can be part of that, esp. in the first few days. It is major surgery.

      Soft stool can be a result of the pain medication or other medication.

      My guess is that she’ll be feeling better and better starting today and that your big challenge now will be keeping her quiet so her body can fully heal. She’s lucky to have such a concerned person. Keep me posted.

      • Hi Sarah,

        It’s almost 0900 in New Zealand here,
        its becoming the 5th day my Forman had the surgery.

        And she just did proper poo!!
        so happy!

        She is behaving normal, but still a playing game ‘why did u do this to me dad..’ hahaha

        Thank you for all the advice given Sarah…
        I highly appreciate it!

        • That is good news!

          Smooth sailing from here, I expect. It’s a BIG hormonal swing, depending and where the dog is in their cycle, so she’s adjusting. She should be 100% soon!

          Thanks for letting me know, David.

  23. Hi, my 5 year old Chihuahua was neutered in December 30, and has been wearing the e-collar except for going outside. I decided today to remove the collar, but he has been licking the site like crazy, I guess to remove the crusty stuff or scab. He removed all that crusty stuff, but the incision site looks like when we pick a scab on ourselves, Should I continue him on the collar?

    • Hi Michele – Good job on the healing up! That pink skin beneath is the brandy new healed skin so that part is done. My guess is he will stop once he feels it is “tended”. Has he? If he persists then I would put the collar on and give your vet a call.

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