Spaying should be a priority for the owner of any female dog. Not only will this important procedure help prevent your pet from becoming unintentionally pregnant, it can also reduce the likelihood that she will suffer from certain health problems and undesirable behaviors that are caused by coming into heat.
Spaying is considered to be a fairly major procedure through surgery and must be carried out while your pet is under the effects of a general anesthetic. This means that the initial recovery process that your dog goes through is just as much about dealing with the effects of the anesthetic, as it is healing from the wound that has been created in order to perform the procedure.
Here is our guide to how to care for dogs after spaying surgery.
As the anesthetic wears off after spaying surgery
General anesthetic can take as long as 24 hours to wear off completely, and this means that your dog’s behavior may be unusual until this time. Exactly how your pet is affected can vary, but typically you can expect her to be sleepy and a little unsteady on her feet while the effects of the anesthetic fade. To support her, you should:
- walk slowly
- keep her on the leash when she is outside
- be prepared to help her into your vehicle and onto her bed
- keep other animals and young children away from her
During this time, it is also important that you monitor her closely to ensure that she doesn’t have any adverse reactions while coming down from the anesthetic. Keep her warm and comfortable, with easy access to water. You should also give her her meals at the usual time, but do not be alarmed if she doesn’t eat much or at all while the anesthetic wears off.
Wound care after spay surgery
Your dog might want to lick the wound that has been created on her abdomen. However, doing so could put her at increased risk of infection and inhibit the healing process. For this reason, your furbaby will most likely be fitted with a special collar before she leaves after her procedure, as this will prevent her from meddling with her wound while it heals.
Your dog’s incision will most likely be closed with sutures. This means you cannot bathe her and should avoid taking her outside if the weather is wet. If she has had the wound closed with sutures or staples, they will normally be removed 10-14 days after her spaying surgery.
Care for the wound twice a day, removing any dried discharge around it with a warm, damp washcloth. Then use a dab on antibiotic cream to help keep infection at bay. You should only need to do this for the first 2 or 3 days after her surgery. Some redness, swelling and a small amount of red-tingled discharge is normal. If you notice any of the following, you should seek the advice of your vet:
- a gap between the edges of the incision
- pus or infection and swelling
- a large amount of discharge
- a bad smell emanating from the wound
- bleeding in the first 36 hours after the surgery
In most cases, healing is fairly straightforward, and you should notice the appearance of the wound improving day on day.
Longer term recovery from spay surgery
Most veterinarians advise that you shouldn’t let your dog off the leash for at least 10 to 14 days after surgery. You should also prevent her from running, jumping, climbing, or playing during this time, as it could cause her wound to reopen. Instead, try and keep her as inactive as possible.
Most dogs will make a complete recovery within 14 days of their spaying surgery. If you have any concerns about the way she is healing, do not hesitate to call Care Animal Hospital to see if she might need her surgical site re-evaluated.