Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

dog after spay

What to Expect After Neutering a Dog


dog after spayThe 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.
  • 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 shockingly fast. Some dogs will feel darn near 100% 24-36 hours after and then your work really begins: Keeping them from overdoing things.
  • 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.
  • 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 is less complex. Though harder for many psychologically, male neutering is a smaller, “simple” skin incision. Nonetheless, male dogs, too, must be kept quiet for as long as your veterinarian advises.
  • Scrotum may swell. 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.
  • Accidents can happen. The rapid change in hormones that come after neutering a dog can lead to pee 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 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 Elizabethian 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!


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