Spaying Your Dog – Next Steps In Care
24 May, 2012

Spaying a female dog is a more complicated surgery than neutering a male dog as it takes a little longer to recover. It is by no means dangerous, but our dogs are under general anesthesia for a little longer which makes the recovery process a bit more difficult. Spaying a dog is also more invasive as the vet cuts through the muscles of the abdominal wall and therefore the recovery takes longer.

A few hours after your dog arrives home, you can offer her a small meal. Some dogs will eat after surgery; others will refuse.   It is very common for a dog to have an upset stomach after general anesthesia, so offering a bland food like rice with plain, skinless chicken or boiled hamburger meat will encourage eating while preventing an stomach upset.

The recovery time for spaying a dog is about two weeks.  Below are some tips to follow to help a quick, easy recovery after spaying:

Limit Activity and Take Short Walks

The abdominal muscles and incision will need time to heal, so short leash walks for bathroom breaks are recommended for a dog that’s just been spayed.

Watch the incision

The incision for a female dog that’s just been spayed will be several inches in length. It’s a fairly large incision that must be closely monitored for any signs of infection. Symptoms of an infected incision would  include swelling, redness or discharge. The incision and underlying structures (i.e. blood vessels, muscles, etc.) will take ten to fourteen days to heal.

Clean the Incision daily

For the first few days, you should clean the incision several times a day using dine (or whatever your veterinarian recommends), which can be applied (generously) using a sterile pad to gently pat the dog’s surgical incision and surrounding areas. This will disinfect the incision and surrounding skin.

Keep the “Cone” On

After a dog is spayed, she will be sent home with an Elizabethan collar, also known as an “e-collar,” “lampshade” or “cone.” This will prevent the dog from licking or biting the incision or stitches.  The cone must be kept on until your dog’s stitches are removed about fourteen days after the surgery.

Some veterinarians will close the incision with glue or dissolving stitches. Therefore, not every dog requires removing stitches. If you are unsure whether the stitches need to be removed after spaying, it’s important to consult your vet.  However, most veterinarians should give you all of this information when you bring your dog in for spaying.

If you follow all of the above recommends, your dog should heal quickly and the surgery will be forgotten in no time!


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