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How to Comfort a Dog in Pain After Neutering & Spaying

Deciding to get your dog fixed can be an emotional decision. To help you make an informed decision, this post provides information about spaying and neutering, and how to manage your dog's discomfort after surgery.

Spaying & Neutering Dogs

Also referred to as having your dog "fixed", getting your dog spayed or neutered has proven to have several health benefits for your dog. You might even see a reduction in undesirable characteristics such as mounting, roaming and animal aggression, in addition to preventing the risk of unwanted puppies.

While approximately 3.3 million dogs come to shelters every year, spaying and neutering your dog will help reduce the number of unwanted dogs in your area.

While it may not seem like it right now, undertaking the emotional process of having your dog neutered or spayed is worth the time and investment for these reasons and more, for both you and your pup.

Is it safe to have my dog spayed or neutered?

Yes. Most vets have extensive experience performing these common veterinary procedures. Nonetheless, it's important to note that there are risks involved whenever an animal is put under anesthesia. In fact, this is as true for people as it is for our pets.

In order to minimize surgical risks for your dog,  your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive examination and may recommend diagnostic testing such as blood work be performed before surgery day. This can help to ensure that your pet does not have any undiagnosed health concerns that may increase their risk of surgical complications.

During your dog's surgery, your veterinary team will carefully monitor your pup to identify any complications along the way.

What are the differences between spay & neuter surgeries?

While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures used to sterilize a dog to prevent them from reproducing, there is a key difference that sets the two apart.

When a male dog is neutered (castrated), the testicles are surgically removed while he is under general anesthesia. During a spaying procedure, a female dog is surgically sterilized when the uterus and both ovaries are removed while she is under general anesthesia. We often refer to both surgeries as neutering or "fixing" dogs.

How can I ease my dog's pain after spaying or neutering?

Following your pet's procedure you will want to do all you can to help your pet feel as comfortable as possible. First and foremost it is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian. Dog pain meds may be prescribed after surgery, if that is the case for your pup be sure to administer all medications as instructed by your veterinarian.

The following are a few suggestions for how to comfort a dog in pain, and care for your dog post-surgery:

  • Have a quiet place for your dog to rest and recover indoors, away from other animals.
  • Provide your pup with safe chew toys to alleviate boredom as they recuperate.
  • If your dog is wearing a cone to prevent licking, remain calm as they adjust. Give them lots of cuddles and let them know it's ok. It's important to prevent licking as this may transfer bacteria and cause an infection.
  • About two weeks of restricted activity will be required as the incision heals. Spend extra time with your pup just relaxing and hanging out together. 
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm that it's healing well and that there are no signs of infection.
  • If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness at the surgery site, or if the incision opens, contact your vet.
  • Call your vet right away if your dog has diarrhea, begins vomiting, stops eating or seems lethargic.
  • Follow your vet’s advice about physical activity following the procedure, since further restrictions may be required for your dog.

How long will my dog be in pain after neutering or spaying?

Spaying female dogs is somewhat more involved than neutering males. However, recovery time is about the same from either procedure.

Due to the typical side effects of general anesthesia, your dog may not seem like their usual self immediately after surgery (they may feel tired and/or queasy). Your pup should begin behaving more like themselves the next day and show little sign of pain or discomfort.

Most discomfort caused by neuter or spay surgeries only lasts for a few days and should dissipate after a week. If your pet seems to be experiencing discomfort or pain for more than a couple of days, contact your vet for more advice.

What can I give my dog for pain after surgery?

Your vet will prescribe take-home medications to help relieve any postoperative pain your dog may experience. Rimadyl or Torbugesic are common dog pain meds after surgery. Follow your vet's instructions carefully when giving your dog pain medication after neutering or spaying. Never provide human pain medications to your dog as many of our pain medications can be harmful and even poisonous to dogs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our North Boulder vets have extensive experience performing neuter and spay procedures. Contact North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital to learn more or to schedule a spay or neuter procedure for your canine companion.

New Patients Are Welcome At Our North Boulder Animal Hospital

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