Spaying or Neutering Dogs
Also known as “getting your dog fixed”, having your pup spayed or neutered has been shown to have numerous health benefits for your dog. You may even see a reduction in undesirable behaviors such as animal aggression, mounting and roaming.
Of course, when you spay or neuter you’ll also prevent the birth of unwanted puppies. About 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. Spaying or neutering your pup is the best way to help reduce the overall number of unwanted pets in your area.
For these reasons and more, though it may not feel like it right now, going through the emotional process of having your dog neutered or spayed is worth the time and investment, for both you and your dog.
Is it safe to have my dog spayed or neutered?
Yes. These veterinary procedures are common and therefore most vets will have experience performing them. However, similar to medical procedures in human medicine whenever an animal is put under anesthesia, there is some risk involved.
During the surgery, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog and be on guard for potential complications.
What are the differences between spay and neuter surgeries?
While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that sterilize a dog so they will be unable to produce litters of puppies, there is an important difference between the two.
During a spaying procedure, we surgically sterilize a female by removing the uterus and both ovaries while she is under general anesthesia. When a veterinarian neuters (castrates) a male dog, the testicles are surgically removed while they are under general anesthesia. Both surgeries are often referred to as neutering or being “fixed”.
How can I help my dog feel more comfortable after their spaying or neutering?
Following your dog’s surgery, help them rest and feel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few tips to help your dog feel more comfortable after neutering:
- Have a quiet place for your dog to rest and recover indoors, away from other animals.
- Put your dog in a cone (Elizabethan collar) or postoperative jumpsuit (recovery suit) to prevent him or her from licking the incision site. Licking the incision may transfer bacteria and cause infection.
- Check the incision site daily to confirm the incision is healing well, and that there are no signs of infection.
- For two weeks after the spay or neuter surgery, prevent your pet from jumping or running.
- Follow your vet’s advice about physical activity following the procedure, since further restrictions may be required for your dog.
- If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness at the surgery site, or if the incision opens, contact your vet. Also call your vet if your dog has diarrhea, begins vomiting, stops eating or seems lethargic.
How long will my dog be in pain after neutering or spaying?
Spaying female dogs is somewhat more involved than neutering males. However, both should take about the same amount of time to recover from either procedure.
Immediately after surgery, your dog may not seem like their usual self, or they may feel queasy or tired - these are typical side effects of general anesthesia. Your pup should begin behaving more like themselves the next day and show little sign of pain or discomfort the next day.
Most discomfort caused by neuter or spay surgeries only lasts for a few days and should dissipate after a week. If your pet is experiencing discomfort or pain for more than a couple of days, contact your vet for more advice.
Will my dog need pain meds after surgery?
Yes. While your dog will not feel any pain throughout the surgery because they will be unconscious under anesthesia, they will need medication to alleviate pain after the procedure. At the end of the surgery, pain medications will be administered to your dog through an injection your vet will provide. This long-term pain medication should remain in your dog’s system for about 12 to 24 hours.
Your vet will prescribe take-home medications that may be needed to help relieve any postoperative pain your dog may experience. Rimadyl or Torbugesic are both common medications prescribed by vets to help manage pain after spay or neuter surgery. When it comes to giving your dog pain medications, follow your vet’s instructions carefully. Never provide human pain medications to your dog. Many pain medications that work for us are poisonous to dogs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.