How to Care for a Dog After Spaying

When you have a dog, you do the very best you can to give her the care she needs. Your dog is a member of the family, after all. If your female dog is scheduled to be spayed, you'll need to give her some specialized care until she is fully healed. Appropriate care after spaying a dog can help to reduce the chance of complications, allowing your dog to heal in the comfort of your home.

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How to Care for a Dog After Spaying
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Spay surgery

During a spay surgery, your vet will remove your dog's ovaries and usually her uterus, too. According to PetMD, spaying will eliminate a female dog's heat cycle, and her breeding-related instincts will also come to an end.

Spaying your dog is also called an ovariohysterectomy if both the uterus and ovaries are removed. If just the ovaries are removed, then the procedure is called an ovariectomy. Both of the surgeries are safe and effective.

Bringing your dog home

Your dog will be discharged from the vet when your vet feels that she's recovered enough to go home. Vetericyn notes that some practices may keep dogs overnight for observation after a spay, while some dogs may be ready to go home later in the afternoon on the same day of their surgery. Spay surgery involves anesthesia that can make your dog drowsy for a while, which is why vets usually keep pets until they have fully come out of anesthesia.

When you do pick up your dog after surgery, the vet will probably give you some specific instructions for her care. Your vet should tell you about the types of sutures used and will set up any necessary appointments for their removal. This is the time to ask any questions you might have and to make sure that you have the phone number for the vet's emergency contact line, just in case. While you're with the vet, take a look at the incision so you're familiar with its appearance and can monitor it for changes.

Pain medication

Different vets tend to use different medications, but Vetericyn explains that your dog will probably have received a long-lasting pain medication injection while at the vet. Your vet may also send you home with some oral medication to give your pet. It is important to follow the dosage information for that medication and never give more medication than directed.

If you have questions about the medication or if your dog doesn't tolerate the medication and vomits or has diarrhea, contact your vet right away.

Activity levels

One of the most important aspects of care after spaying a dog is to restrict your dog's activity. Your dog may be feeling better, but she doesn't know that she's had major surgery and could tear out her stitches or injure herself if she becomes too active.

Inglis Vets recommends that you only take your dog outside to relieve herself for the first 24 hours after surgery. At two days post-surgery, you can take your dog on short, leashed walks. Continue this for seven to 10 days.

E-collar alternatives

It's also important to prevent your dog from licking her incision. Your vet may send your dog home with an e-collar to keep her from reaching the incision. Many dogs don't enjoy e-collars, so you may want to consider e-collar alternatives. A T-shirt for a dog post-surgery is a popular option since it's soft and comfortable yet can be wrapped around your dog's body so that she can't access her spay incision.

The MSPCA-Angell recommends that you place a short-sleeved T-shirt on your dog backward so her tail goes through the neck hole and her hind legs go through the sleeves. You can knot this shirt around her abdomen, preventing her from licking the incision. You will need to remove the shirt when you take your dog outside to relieve herself.

You should also check your dog's incision every day. The SPCA of Texas notes that a little seepage is normal, but if the incision gets red and swollen, you should contact your vet.