How Long Will My Dog Be in Pain after Spaying and Neutering?

As responsible dog owners, most of us get our dogs fixed so they cannot produce puppies. The only downside to this is that your dog has to undergo a surgical procedure and that means putting them through a few days of discomfort.

There are lots of things you can do to make this process more comfortable for them and help the healing progress quickly.

When people take about getting their dog ‘fixed’, they usually use the terms neutering or spaying. Neutering is the procedure male dogs experience and this involves surgical removal of the testicles so they are unable to get female dogs pregnant.

Female dogs experience spaying. This is the surgical removal of their ovaries and uterus so they are unable to carry puppies. The term “fixing” seems to cover both male and female dogs and is used universally.

The procedure of sterilization is performed under general anesthetic, so your dog will be asleep throughout and will feel no pain. When they wake, they are likely to feel groggy, nauseous and uncomfortable from the anesthetic, but they will also feel pain from the surgery. The veterinarian will administer pain relief via an injection that usually lasts 12-24 hours.

Your dog will also be prescribed pain medication to take at home for a few days following the surgery. This is usually in the form of a gel to be added to their food, but some pain medications can be in tablet form.

Your dog may experience a mild discomfort and may whine if they move too quickly, but this should not be severe pain and it will pass within 2 or 3 days. If your dog is still experiencing pain a week after their surgery, you should inform the vet. Most sterilization procedures include a follow-up visit a week after surgery to check that the wound is healing and there are no side effects.

Besides giving them their pain medication, there are lots of things you can do for your dog to make their recovery easier.

  • Remain Calm. For at least a week post-surgery, your dog should not engage in any physical activity, as this risks opening the wound. Open wounds can cause infection and will also be very painful. After their check-up, your veterinarian will tell you if the wound has healed enough to allow lead-only walks. Always follow their advice and do not let your dog off the lead until they deem your dog as healed.
  • Cone of Shame. Your dog may not thank you for it but a surgical cone (Elizabethan collar) prevents your dog from licking their wound. They may chew or pull at the stitches or get the wound infected, so the collar is necessary to prevent this.
  • No Baths. Wounds heal best when they are kept dry and well aired. To ensure the best chance of a quick recovery, do not give your dog a bath or allow them to swim until the wound has healed.

Most dogs will start to feel more themselves a day or two after their surgery, but it normal for them to take a few days longer to be completely back to normal.

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