How Long Will My Dog Be In Pain After Neutering?

As dog owners, not all of us want our dogs producing puppies we can’t care for. So, the safest option is to get them ‘fixed.’ However, the only downside is that your dogs will undergo surgery, which means putting them through a couple of days of discomfort.

Nonetheless, there are several ways you can help make the process more comfortable and help them heal quickly. That said, what does it mean to get your dog ‘fixed?’

Neutering, Spaying, and Fixing: What Do They Mean?

Neutering is the surgical procedure male dogs undergo, which involves removing their testicles to prevent them from getting female dogs pregnant. 

Meanwhile, spaying is the term used for female dogs. It is also a surgical procedure to remove the uterus and ovaries to prevent female dogs from carrying puppies. The popular term ‘fixing’ is a blanket phrase used for both male and female dogs. But, how long will a dog be in pain after neutering?

How Long Will My Dog Be in Pain After Neutering/ Spaying?

The surgical process of sterilization is done under general anesthetic. This means your pup will be asleep throughout the process and will feel no pain. But when they finally wake, they are likely to feel nauseous, dizzy, and uncomfortable due to the anesthetic. Also, expect them to feel pain from the surgery.

The vet will administer pain relief through an injection that usually lasts for up 12-24 hours. The vet will also prescribe pain meds for your dog to take at home for a couple of days after the surgery. It is usually in the form of a gel, which you’ll have to add to their food. However, some pain medications come in tablet form.

How Long Does It Take for A Dog to Heal After Being Neutered?

Your pooch may be in mild discomfort and may whine if you allow him to move too quickly. But that shouldn’t cause severe pain, and it takes about 2 to 3 days for it to pass. If your pup still shows discomfort one week after the surgery, you need to inform your vet. 

Normally, sterilization procedures mandate a follow-up visit one week after surgery to ensure that the surgical wound is healing with no side effects. 

Image by J C from Pixabay

How Do I Make My Dog Comfortable After Being Neutered? 

Besides sticking to their pain medication, there are lots of ways you can help your dog make a quick recovery and become comfortable. For Starters, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Stay Calm: For the first week after surgery, try preventing your dog from engaging in any strenuous physical activity, as it risks reopening the surgical wound. Open wounds can result in infection and will also be very discomforting and painful. After the check-up, the vet will inform you if the wound has healed enough for short walks. Always follow the vet’s advice and not allow your pup off the leash until your dog is deemed healed.
  • No Baths: Wounds heal faster when they remain dry and properly aired. To give your dog the best chance of smooth recovery, do not bathe him or allow him to swim or get in the rain until the wound is fully healed.  
  • Elizabeth Collar: Your dog may try to get it off at first, but a cone is exactly what he needs after surgery. It prevents your pup from interfering with the wound’s healing. Dogs will always want to lick their wounds, which will infect the wound, so the ‘Elizabeth collar’ is necessary.

Your dog will begin to feel more of himself a day or two post-surgery, but it is also normal for him to take a couple of days longer to be fully back to his usual self.

My Dog Just Got Neutered and Keeps Crying

Some level of pain is normal for dogs that have just been neutered or sprayed. While some dogs will handle the pain better than others, don’t be surprised if your dog whimpers or whines after being spayed. It’s completely normal for dogs to whine after their spaying. 

Nevertheless, dogs will express their pain in various ways different from others. Your dog won’t be able to tell you how he feels after being neutered, but there are ways you can tell he’s feeling pain.

How Do I Know if My Dog is in Pain After Neutering/Spaying?

Your dog may not feel any discomfort or pain until after the pain med and anesthesia wears off. He may feel tired, and a little bit agitated after you take him home from the vet. 

Sometimes your dog’s reaction after the surgery may make you believe that he won’t feel any pain. But all dogs will experience some level of pain after being neutered, and the way they express their pain will show they’re feeling. 

Your dog may show some, if not all, of the signs below indicating that he’s in discomfort or pain:

  • Resist being held
  • Whine, whimper, or cry 
  • Refusing to get up
  • Lick or bite the incision site 
  • Refusing to eat 

You can expect any of those signs after neutering your dog; however, if your dog still refuses to eat two days after the surgical procedure, you need to contact your vet as soon as possible. Also, your dog should not be allowed to walk on his own. And if you observe any unwillingness to get up after the first day, reach out to your vet.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

How Do I Comfort My Dog After Neutering?

After the ‘fixing’ procedure, your pup will be in discomfort when the anesthetic wears out. And you’re all your dog’s got. So you should try everything possible to make him comfortable for the few days of discomfort. Here’s what you can do: 

1. Provide Your Dog a Quiet Place to Rest 

During the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery, your pup will need a lot of rest and will want to do that away from the children, other animals, and every other adult in the house. It is best to put him in his crate or sleeping foam to lie down. 

It is best to put him in an enclosed space instead of putting him on your bed or an open area and expecting him to stay there. Dogs are very curious, and coupled with his discomfort; he’ll want to find you for companionship if provided the space.

Dogs usually feel tired, listless, with not much of an appetite after surgery, but you should always ensure that they take enough water to stay hydrated. And even if they don’t have the appetite, offer them a small portion of food. The anesthetic they were given can cause stomach upset, so don’t be surprised if he has diarrhea, vomits, or refuses to eat at all. 

2. Keep Other Pets Away from Your Dog

It is very important that you keep other pets away from your dog for the first few days after the surgery. It allows him to rest without being disturbed or tempted to play. Also, animals that have had surgery smell different, which may draw the curiosity of other pets. That will likely cause a fight, especially since your dog is agitated from the pain.

Another good reason to keep your newly neutered dog separated is that he can still get a female no-sprayed dog pregnant 30 days after the neutering. 

3. Follow the Pain Meds Prescription

Be sure to follow the pain meds prescription religiously. Your dog will be in discomfort after the initial pain med wears off. So you should give him the next pain med as directed by the vet. 

Also, ask your vet for how long you should administer the pain med. Although each dog is unique, most dogs will not need pain relief a few days after the procedure. Always give your pup only what was prescribed, even if he’s showing to be in serious discomfort. And never offer him human medications; it could be devastating to his health.

4. Prevent Your Dog from Jumping, Licking, and Running 

It’s crucial to keep your dog calm and reduce his physical activities for at least a week after surgery. Some vets even recommend a minimum of two weeks of fewer activities. Jumping and running can rip out his stitches, resulting in another trip to the clinic. The stitches used in this kind of surgery are usually self-absorbing. So if you can keep your dog from physical activities, there’ll be no need to return to the clinic.

The incision area needs to remain dry and free from bacteria and dirt. Wet incisions are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. So don’t bother bathing him or taking him for a swim for at least ten days. Also, use a leash when taking him out to do his business or for a short walk around the yard as he goes through healing. Extended walks and trips to the park can wait until his incision has healed completely.

If your dog keeps licking the incision, get him a “cone of shame” or donut wear to prevent him from reaching the incision. Go for the streamlined cone instead of the older and wider ones that make it difficult for your dog to move or even go through the doorway. Most dogs do better with the donut collar rather than having something covering their entire head. 

Also, ensure to introduce the collar before the surgical procedure, so he doesn’t react badly to it after the surgery. That means you need to allow him to sniff it, bump it, and push it around for some while before putting it around his neck. They allow him to wear it for a few days before the surgery, so it doesn’t become a strange object after the surgery.

5. Search for Signs of Infection After Neutering Your Dog

Check his incision area frequently, at least twice a day, to know how it’s healing. Common symptoms of an infection after neutering or spaying your dog include swelling that refuses to go down after two days, redness, and oozing or yellowish pus from the infection.

Also, check to see if your dog shows signs of listlessness, depression, or complete disinterest in toys or food. Contact your vet if there are any signs of infection or unusual behaviors a day after the surgery. 

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

How Soon Can I Walk My Dog After Neutering?

The safest amount of time is 48 hours after surgery. Within this period, you can allow your dog to have some gentle exercise in the yard. After that, go for only short walks until the dog has been checked by the vet, which is normally three days after the surgery.

Depending on what the vet says, you will have to stick with short walks only until the next visit, normally ten days after the procedure. Then after that, your pup should have completely recovered and gone back to his routine.

How Far Can I Walk My Dog After Being Neutered or Sprayed?

It truly depends on your dog and whether he is used to short amounts of daily exercise or a much larger amount. It’s best that your pup should only complete 50% of his daily routine after three days post-surgery. And before that three days, only 25% of his routine is recommended depending on his recovery level and absence of complications.

Nevertheless, you can check this with the veterinary professional at your three-day check-up to confirm. If you decide to take your pooch out for a walk, you should consider covering the wound and also ensure to remove the cover when you get back home.

Final thoughts 

The ASPCA (American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals) has estimated that over 3.3 million dogs go into shelter homes every year in the United States alone. Having your pup spayed or neutered reduces the number of unwanted pets born with almost no hope of being adopted.

Neutering dogs also reduce or eliminate unpleasant behaviors such as aggression, the urge to roam in search of a mating partner, and the urge to try to mount other pets, objects, and even their human buddies when the urge is abnormal. 

Neutering and spaying can sometimes be the best we can do to enjoy great companionship with our dogs.

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