Spaying or Neutering Dogs
Also referred to as having your dog "fixed", getting your pooch spayed or neutered has been shown to have several health benefits for your dog. You might even see a reduction in undesirable behaviors such as mounting, roaming and animal aggression.
Of course, spaying & neutering also prevents unwanted puppies from being born. Approximately 3.3 million dogs come to shelters every year. Having your pup spayed or neutered is the best way to help reduce the overall number of unwanted pets 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 experience performing these common veterinary procedures. That said, similar to medical procedures in human medicine, there is some risk involved whenever an animal is put under anesthesia.
During your dog's surgery, your veterinarian will monitor your dog closely and watch for potential complications.
What are the differences between spay & neuter surgeries?
While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures used to sterilize a dog so they will be unable to produce litters of puppies, an important difference distinguishes the two from each other.
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 help my dog feel more comfortable after spaying or neutering?
Following your dog’s surgery, help them rest and feel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few tips if you're wondering how to comfort a dog who may be in pain 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.
You may be asking yourself, "What can I give my dog for pain after surgery?" 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 dog pain 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 pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.