How to Care for a Dog After Being Spayed

By Britt Kascjak

While a spay is a common and regularly performed procedure, it is still surgery. This means that there are post-operative care needs to consider.

This includes keeping her comfortable and maintaining a clean surgical site.

You will also need to pay attention to any signs of complications and seek medical care if needed.

Here are some tips and tricks for caring for your dog after spaying.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Recover from a Spay?

The recovery period for your dog will take at least two weeks. This is the length of time that most veterinarians state it will take for the incision to heal.

But, it could take longer if your dog experiences any complications.

Is it Okay to Leave My Dog Alone After Being Spayed?

It is not recommended to leave your dog alone for the first 24-48 hours following any surgery. This is the highest risk period of your dog’s recovery.

After this time has passed, your dog can be left alone for short periods of time.

In fact, many veterinarians say that giving your dog space is a great way to encourage recovery. But, don’t leave her too long without checking in to make sure that everything is okay.

How Do I Know if My Dog is in Pain After Spaying?

Minor discomfort is normal immediately following any surgery, including spaying. But, you should watch for signs that the pain is worse than what is normally expected with recovery.

Signs of pain that you should be aware of include:

  • Excessive whining, crying, or whimpering
  • Resisting being touched or held
  • Not wanting to get up or move
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discharge, swelling, redness, or excessive bleeding
  • Trying to chew at the incision site

If you notice any of these signs, call your veterinarian. Explain your concerns in detail to help them better assess the situation.

Steps for Taking Care of a Dog After a Spay

Check the Surgical Site Daily

Every day, take some time to inspect the incision and surrounding area. You want to look for signs of complications or concerns.

This includes any loss of stitches, excessive bleeding, pus or discharge, redness, or other signs of irritation.

if you do notice any of these problems, contact your veterinarian. Explain your concerns and they will discuss the best course of action with you.

Limit Physical Activity

For the first couple of days, your dog will likely be tired and worn out. But, as she starts to feel better, she may try to return to her normal activity levels. This is when you need to work to keep her calm.

Try to prevent any running, jumping, or rough play for the first 1-2 weeks post-surgery. Doing so will help to prevent complications like reopening the incision site.

Keep the Incision Dry

Following your dog’s surgery, you should hold off any baths or water playtime. Instead, keep the site of your dog’s incision dry and protected.

This includes preventing her from licking the area. If she does lick or nibble at the incision, she could irritate it and delay healing.

If your dog refuses to leave the incision alone, you may need to use an E-Collar or recovery suit.

Remember to be patient with her. She is likely feeling itchy, uncomfortable, and confused by everything that is happening.

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Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.