Spaying or neutering your dog is a routine procedure to prevent them from reproducing.
Many dog owners will book this operation for their pets, as not only will it mean no accidental puppies, but it can reduce certain health risks, behavioral problems, and more.
Most of the time, these procedures are very simple, and end up being very successful. The only hitch is that your puppy or dog has to take some time to recover after the surgery.
So, if you have a very busy puppy, then you may struggle to keep them entertained when they are in post-op recovery.
Luckily, we have a range of ideas and advice here for you.
Your dog will need to rest a lot after the surgery, which means that walks are out of the question for a little while, but you can do so many other fun activities!
How To Take Care Of Your Dog After Spay Or Neuter
Before your puppy is taken to the veterinarian for their surgery, you should of course follow all veterinarian advice.
If your puppy is going under anesthesia in the morning, then you may need to avoid feeding them after 8pm and take their water bowl away in the morning.
If your puppy eats before surgery, then it may be unsafe to proceed, so keep that in mind.
Most of the time, you will take your pup to the veterinarian, and you will have to drop them off for a few hours so the surgery can take place, and they can have all post-operative checks before you return to collect them.
If you are unsure what to expect after the surgery, then we can help you. After a puppy is neutered or spayed, they have to rest for a few days.
For neutering males, puppies will have to rest and have some post-operative care for around 7-10 days, whereas it is slightly longer for females who are spayed.
After spaying, your puppy should rest and recover for around 14 days or more.
This can make it so hard to keep your puppy occupied while they need to rest.
Your puppy may also not understand that it has to rest and relax, so you have to keep them busy without putting any strain on the incision.
Your veterinarian may give you advice, so be sure to follow their instructions. However, we have some ideas and information for you to consider.
Reduce All Activities
The veterinarian will tell you that you must reduce all activities, whether your dog has been neutered or spayed.
This includes no running, walking, jumping up, jumping on or off furniture, using the stairs, and getting too excited.
If your dog or puppy gets too excited, then this runs the risk of them tearing the incision when jumping around or playing. It is so important that you use a crate or a safe place for your dog to rest, relax, and be supervised.
Crates are the best option, as your dog cannot play around in there, or get tempted to come play and get excited.
Instead, a crate keeps them nice and calm, relaxed, and offers them a space to rest and nap in order to recover.
Keep Incision Clean & Dry
You will also have to keep the incision clean and dry. Most dogs may return home with a ‘cone of shame’ medical cone or a suit to keep the incision clean.
This is to prevent your dog from licking or biting at the site where the surgery was done.
Some veterinarians will use dissolving glue or stitches, so the incision should heal by itself, but in some cases, you may need to return to the veterinarian to get the stitches removed or checked.
You have to keep your puppy from nibbling or bothering the incision, as this can rupture it or cause infection.
Your veterinarian will let you know how long you need to keep the cone or medical suit on your puppy.
You should also not wash your dog at this time, as this could run the risk of infection.
Once your puppy has gone back to the veterinarian after a few days, and is cleared- then you can return to normal care for your pup.
Check The Incision
You should also keep an eye on the incision while your pup recovers.
As mentioned earlier, the stitches should dissolve on their own, but you may need to take your dog back to the vet to be checked over around 2-5 days after the surgery.
During the post-op period, you should always check the incision regularly.
If there are any changes in appearance, such as color, bleeding, crusting, or any signs of infection- take your pup to the vet.
You should also check your dog’s general demeanor. If your dog/puppy seems lethargic and quiet, this is normal after surgery as the medication wears off.
However, if your dog has pale gums, labored breathing, diarrhea, vomiting or other symptoms, then this could point towards a possible complication.
Most pups will suffer from a lack of appetite and some changes in stools immediately after the surgery, but if this persists after a few days, then you may need to take them to the vet. Keep an eye on them, and ensure that they remain hydrated at all times.
Keep Diet The Same
As mentioned briefly above, your pooch may feel nauseous or have a lack of interest in food after the surgery.
This is largely down to the medication that they are on, which can cause soft stools, constipation, and digestion problems, and they may still be in pain from the surgery, so just give them time.
During this time, you should remember that your puppy’s appetite will come back when they are ready. As long as you keep them hydrated they should be fine, and when they are hungry they will eat!
Try not to make any changes to their diet when they are avoiding food, as this can upset the stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
What Activities Can You Do With A Dog After Spay Or Neuter?
So, now you know how important it is to keep your puppy calm and rested, you may be unsure how you can manage their energy levels during the recovery period.
We have some activities that you can try!
One of the best ways that you can wear your puppy/dog out without physical exercise is with mental stimulation.
Dogs are very intelligent creatures, and need a lot of mental stimulation in order to feel fulfilled and worn out!
Mental stimulation is incredibly rewarding for them and can burn off some energy without any physical stimulation that could harm the incision.
Mental stimulation can release any pent-up energy and make your puppy/dog feel more confident.
Try Puzzle Toys
One of our favorite ways to engage our dogs is to use puzzle toys. These can be interactive treat puzzles, toys for brain stimulation, or feeder toys.
What these toys do is get your dog to work for the treats.
These toys can help your puppy flip lids, uncover hidden treats, or move sliders to get their reward.
This can help them use their brains, problem-solve, and interact with the puzzle in order to get a reward.
This can also keep them occupied for longer periods of time, and wear them out instead of physically wearing them out with walks and playtimes.
Toys such as balls with treats, Kongs, and other treat-dispensing toys work in a similar way.
These toys offer an immediate reward and something to focus on for your puppy. Put their favorite treats, kibbles, or peanut butter inside, and let them work on it until the food is dispensed.
Some of these toys can be chewed, which relieves boredom and soothes the gums.
If you want the toy to be more difficult and time-consuming, then you can always fill it with water or peanut butter and freeze it.
This means that your puppy or dog has to lick at it for a while to get to the food.
Licking is extremely soothing and exhausting for your puppy, so it is highly likely that they will go for a nice long nap afterward and rest.
Snuffle mats are another great option. These toys have small tabs of fabric and other items that can be moved, lifted, or ‘snuffled’ under to find hidden treats.
These snuffle mats can be very interactive, banishing stress and boredom easily.
They can also encourage foraging skills, and slow feeding, and keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated.
Alternatively, you can try giving your pooch some long-lasting chews to help soothe the gums and limit boredom.
You can try giving natural raw dog chews such as pig ears, or offer Yak cheese chews.
These can take quite a while to nibble, gnaw on, and eat, so this can be a real boredom buster and stimulator for your dog!
Another option once your dog has passed the initial recovery stage is to take them out in a pet stroller.
This can get them out for some fresh air, and they can take in all of the sights and smells around them, without going on an actual walk.
Practice Training Skills
After having your pet neutered or spayed, you may be worried about the impact that this could have on their training. Yes, you cannot walk them, but that does not mean that training has to stop.
Instead, you can practice some training skills such as going in the crate, house training, or ‘sits’ and ‘waits’.
As long as the training does not involve strenuous activity or jumping up, this can be a great way to tire them out and keep them mentally stimulated for a while.
Your canine companion may be feeling a little sorry for itself. So, why not take this opportunity to bond with them by giving them a lot of love, care, and affection?
Your pooch will love a puppy massage, so try petting them and soothing them to relax their body and calm them down.
Take A Car Ride
Similar to the pet stroller, once your dog has had a few days to recover, you could try taking them in the car for a ride.
Ensure that you are lifting them carefully and that they are sitting or lying down for the car journey.
This can give them the opportunity to get out of the same four walls without having to exercise and put the incision at risk.
Check with your veterinarian if this is okay before doing so.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Neuter/Spay?
The majority of neuter and spay incisions are healed within about 10-14 days, as long as the stitches or staples are removed or dissolved in this time.
Most veterinarians will advise that you do not make your dog do any activity or exercise for around 2 weeks after the operation.
Can I Walk My Dog After Neutering?
No. You should not walk your dog after spaying or neutering for around 2 weeks. This gives them the proper time to rest and heal.
To summarize, after being neutered or spayed, your dog has to rest and recover. However, some dogs feel back to normal very soon after the surgery and will want to play or go on walks.
To release some of their energy during the recovery period, you can try a range of activities, from training to puzzle toys, snuffle mats, treat dispensing toys, and more!
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