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Healthy Pet Care Tips

Managing Pain in Dogs After Neutering

Our PetVet Care Center vets understand that deciding to have your dog spayed or neutered can be an emotional decision for you as a pet owner, but try to keep in mind that these surgeries are fairly routine for your vet, and easy to recover from for you dog. 

The Decision Is Worth It

It may not feel like it at the moment, but going through the emotional process of having your dog spayed or neutered is worth it both for you as a dog owner, and for your dog. Getting your dog fixed has been shown to have a number of health benefits for your dog, and may help to curb undesirable behaviors such as animal aggression, roaming and mounting.

Needless to say, spaying and neutering also prevents unwanted puppies. In the US an estimated 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year! Spaying or neutering your dog is the best way for you to help to reduce the overall number of unwanted pets in your area.

Is spaying or neutering my dog safe?

Yes. These surgeries are common veterinary medical procedures that most vets get plenty of experience performing. That said, as with people, whenever an animal is put under anesthesia for a procedure, there is some risk involved. Your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog throughout the surgery and be on the lookout for signs of illness or any possible complications.

What are the differences between the spay and neuter surgeries?

Both spaying or neutering refers to a surgical procedure that renders your pet unable to produce litters of puppies. Often both surgeries are referred to as neutering or being 'fixed'. Spaying is the surgical sterilization of a female animal through the removal of both ovaries and the uterus, while under general anesthesia. The neutering or castration of male dogs involves the surgical removal of the testicles under general anesthesia. Spaying your female dog is somewhat more involved than neutering males, however it should take about the same amount of time to recover from either surgery.

How can I help my dog to feel more comfortable after spaying or neutering?

After your dog's surgery you are going to want to help them to rest and feel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few ways you can help comfort your dog after neutering:

  • After surgery, be sure your dog has a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • For two weeks following the spay or neuter surgery it's important to prevent your pet from running and jumping. Be sure to listen to your vet's advice regarding activity following spay or neuter surgery, since your dog may require further restrictions. 
  • Have your dog wear a post-operative jumpsuit (recovery suit) or a cone (Elizabethan collar) to prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking the incision may cause infection.
  • In order for your dog's incision to heal properly and as quickly as possible, do not bath your dog (or allow your dog to swim) for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Be sure to check the incision site daily to check for signs of infection and to ensure that the incision is healing well.

Contact your vet if you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened. Also call your vet if your dog seems lethargic, stops eating, or begins vomiting or has diarrhea.

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

Spaying your female dog is somewhat more involved than neutering males, however it should take about the same amount of time to recover from either surgery.

Immediately following surgery your dog may be tired, queasy, or just not seem like their usual self - those are pretty typical side effects of general anesthesia.  The next day your pet should begin behaving more like themselves and be showing little sign of pain or discomfort. 

Discomfort caused by spay or neuter surgeries lasts for just a few days and should be gone after a week. If your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort for more than a couple of days it's a good idea to contact your vet for further advice.

Will my dog have pain meds after surgery?

Yes. While your dog will be unconscious and not feel any pain throughout the surgery, they will require medication to help with pain following the procedure. At the end of the surgery your vet will administer pain medications to your dog via an injection. This long-term pain medication should last for about 12-24 hours.

Your vet will prescribe any take-home medications they feel will be required to help relieve post-operative pain for your dog. Some common medications prescribed by vets to help manage pain after spay or neuter surgery include Torbugesic or Rimadyl.

Follow your vet's instructions carefully when it comes to giving your dog pain medications. Never administer human pain medications to your dog! Many pain medications that work for humans are 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.

If your dog is showing signs of infection or other symptoms following surgery contact your vet immediately, or contact the PetVet Care Center nearest you, our compassionate vets are here to help keep your dog healthy.

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