Deciding whether to get your dog fixed can be a tough and emotional decision. To help you make an informed decision, in today's post, our Westminster vets discuss how to manage your dog's pain after neutering and why spaying and neutering are important and beneficial for our canine companions.
Spaying & Neutering Dogs
Also referred to as having your dog "fixed", getting your dog spayed or neutered has proven to have several health benefits for your dog. You might even see a reduction in undesirable characteristics such as mounting, roaming and animal aggression, in addition to preventing the risk of unwanted puppies.
While approximately 3.3 million dogs come to shelters every year, spaying and neutering your dog will help reduce the number of unwanted dogs in your area.
While it may not seem like it right now, undertaking the emotional process of having your dog neutered or spayed is worth the time and investment for these reasons and more, for both you and your pup.
Is it safe to have my dog spayed or neutered?
Yes. Most vets have extensive experience performing these common veterinary procedures. Nonetheless, it's important to note that there are risks involved whenever an animal is put under anesthesia. In fact, this is as true for people as it is for our pets.
In order to minimize surgical risks for your dog, your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive examination and may recommend diagnostic testing such as blood work be performed before surgery day. This can help to ensure that your pet does not have any undiagnosed health concerns that may increase their risk of surgical complications.
During your dog's surgery, your veterinary team will carefully monitor your pup to identify any complications along the way.
What are the differences between spay & neuter surgeries?
While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures used to sterilize a dog to prevent them from reproducing, there is a key difference that sets the two apart.
When a male dog is neutered (castrated), the testicles are surgically removed while he is under general anesthesia. During a spaying procedure, a female dog is surgically sterilized when the uterus and both ovaries are removed while she is under general anesthesia. We often refer to both surgeries as neutering or "fixing" dogs.
How can I ease my dog's pain after spaying or neutering?
Following your pet's procedure you will want to do all you can to help your pet feel as comfortable as possible. First and foremost it is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian. Dog pain meds may be prescribed after surgery, if that is the case for your pup be sure to administer all medications as instructed by your veterinarian. Other ways to help comfort a dog in pain after spay or neuter surgery include:
- Put your dog in a cone (Elizabethan collar) or postoperative jumpsuit (recovery suit) to prevent him or her from licking the incision site. Licking the incision may transfer bacteria and cause infection.
- Check the incision site daily to confirm the incision is healing well, and that there are no signs of infection.
- For two weeks after the spay or neuter surgery, prevent your pet from jumping or running.
- If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness at the surgery site, or if the incision opens, contact your vet. Also, call your vet if your dog has diarrhea, begins vomiting, stops eating or seems lethargic.
- Have a quiet place for your dog to rest and recover indoors, away from other animals.
- Follow your vet’s advice about physical activity following the procedure, since further restrictions may be required for your dog.
How long will my dog be in pain after neutering or spaying?
Spaying female dogs is somewhat more involved than neutering males. However, recovery time is about the same from either procedure.
Due to the typical side effects of general anesthesia, your dog may not seem like their usual self immediately after surgery (they may feel tired and/or queasy). Your pup should begin behaving more like themselves the next day and show little sign of pain or discomfort.
Most discomfort caused by neuter or spay surgeries only lasts for a few days and should dissipate after a week. If your pet seems to be experiencing discomfort or pain for more than a couple of days, contact your vet for more advice.
Will my dog need pain meds after surgery?
Yes. While your dog will not feel any pain throughout the surgery because they will be under anesthesia, they will need medication to alleviate pain after the procedure. Following the surgery, pain medication will be administered to your dog through an injection your vet will provide. This long-term pain medication should remain in your dog’s system for about 12 to 24 hours.
You may be asking yourself, "What can I give my dog for pain after surgery?" Your vet will prescribe take-home medications intended to help relieve any postoperative pain your dog may experience. Rimadyl or Torbugesic are both common dog pain medications prescribed by vets to help manage pain after spay or neuter surgery. When it comes to giving your dog pain medications, follow your vet’s instructions exactly and carefully. Never provide human pain medications to your dog as many of our pain medications can be harmful and even poisonous to dogs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.