How to Care for a Dog After Spaying

If your female dog was just spayed, carefully follow all of the detailed aftercare instructions provided to you by the veterinary clinic. Encourage your pet's swift and comfortable surgery recovery by diligently monitoring all of her actions for several days. Make sure to keep her physical activity minimal. Ample rest is key to a successful healing process.

sharpei dog wearing a protective veterinary collar
Dogs often feel groggy and dazed right after spaying surgery.
credit: csakisti/iStock/Getty Images

Minimal Physical Activity After Spaying

Your dog might have sutures at the site of the surgical incision. Since you want to avoid the risk of the sutures opening, you want to make sure that your pet refrains from participating in any heavy physical activity. Supervise your dog to make sure she doesn't jump or run until her sutures have been removed by the veterinary clinic. Sutures generally require removal approximately 10 days after spaying surgery takes place. When your dog has to go to the bathroom, take her outside for leash walking. Do not allow her to run around in your yard freely, for example.

Incision Site Observations

Care for your pooch by looking carefully at her incision site a minimum of two times a day during the recovery process. It generally takes dogs anywhere between a week to 10 days to heal from spaying surgery. When you look at your pet's incision site, you might notice slight swelling, redness and oozing, although these things should go away within a few days. If the swelling, redness or drainage is immoderate, alert your veterinarian immediately.

Make sure your pet's sutures remain completely dry and clean during recovery. Avoid bathing your dog until the sutures have been taken off.

Suture Chewing and Licking Prevention

Supervise your dog to make sure that she doesn't chew or lick on her sutures. Remember, the goal is to ensure that the sutures don't open up. If you want a highly effective means of stopping your dog's mouth from getting to her sutures, ask your veterinarian about an Elizabethan collar for her. When dogs wear Elizabethan collars, their mouths can't access their sutures from spaying surgery.

You can prevent your pet from licking her sutures by using a T-shirt. Find a shirt that is big enough to conceal your pet's incision site. Put it on your dog and secure it.

Pain Medication

Some dogs experience pain and discomfort after spaying procedures. Pain medication can assist for the initial 24 hours after spaying surgery. If your vet hasn't prescribed pain medication, and you're concerned your dog might be suffering, call your vet. Never give your dog any medication without your veterinarian's permission.

Signs of Potential Problems

Keep close watch on your dog to ensure that her recovery from spaying surgery and anesthesia is progressing normally. If she's experiencing problems, you might notice symptoms such as feebleness, depression, lack of energy, bleeding, diarrhea, throwing up, trembling, unsteady walking, trouble breathing, reduced or increased body temperature, reduced water drinking and absence of appetite. If you observe any of these symptoms or anything else out of the ordinary in your pet, seek veterinary attention for her without delay.