How long does it take a male dog to recover from neutering? - Penny Paws (2023)

Many pet owners ask their veterinarian, “how long will it take my male dog to recover from neutering?” While most procedures don’t last longer than an hour, the postoperative healing period requires more time.

Any compromise of your dog’s skin—from wounds and lacerations to surgical incisions—stimulates white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets to mobilize to the injury site so healing can take place. This calls for time, rest, and monitoring to ensure the body can complete the repair process, which generally takes about 10 to 14 days.

Caring for your dog during this recovery period leaves you with an important job. The following is everything you need to know about the healing process including what you can do to avoid complications after your dog’s neuter surgery.

Neuter Surgery Recovery Period: What To Expect

The day of surgery

Most dogs are discharged the same day as their surgery, barring any complications. When you pick up your pet, you can expect the surgery site to be fully shaved, with a small incision in front of the scrotum. The area will appear pink or mildly red and may bleed slightly. Depending on your veterinarian’s surgical technique, you may be able to see sutures or staples, but this is not always the case. Some clinicians prefer an intradermal closure in which absorbable suture is placed under the skin.

Due to the anesthesia, your dog may be tired or appear drowsy in the 24 hours following surgery. Prepare a quiet, comfortable place for your pet to rest before bringing him home and close off areas that may be hazardous such as stairs. If your dog appears unusually sluggish or if you can’t rouse them easily, contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic or your closest veterinary emergency center for specific advice.

The first week

As early as 24 hours after surgery, the incision edges may begin to swell slightly, which is normal. You may notice a slight gap between the incision edges, but this should close quickly. There may be mild oozing from the incision or bruising on the surrounding skin. Toward the end of the first week, you should notice the incision edges coming together and healing. Scabs may begin forming around the sutures and over the surgery site—refrain from picking these. As the incision heals, it may become sore, itchy, or irritating, but pain medications prescribed by your veterinarian should alleviate this.

(Video) Dog Neuter Surgery | A walkthrough of the surgical procedure

Some dogs will develop a firm, fluid-filled swelling under their incision known as a seroma. This condition arises when a dog is not allowed to rest or is overly active during their recovery period. If you find it difficult to keep your dog calm during this time, a mild sedative may be prescribed. Contact us to find out more.

The second week

Approximately 10 days after surgery, most incisions will have healed enough to allow for removal of external staples or sutures by your veterinarian. The incision edges should be fully sealed and swelling should be significantly decreased, if not gone completely. Contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic if redness, swelling, oozing, or bleeding persists or if you notice a gap between the incision edges as these findings are abnormal at this stage in recovery.

Succeeding weeks

Once your pup is fully healed and cleared by your veterinarian, he can slowly resume his normal routine, including a gradual increase in activity. Neuter surgery complications are uncommon during this stage, as most healing has taken place and most pain has subsided. However, if you continue to be concerned about your pet, don’t hesitate to contact our veterinary team.

Postoperative Care Guidelines for Neuter Surgery

How long it takes a male dog to recover from neutering depends on the level of care you give him during the healing process. In the first few weeks following surgery, you will need to be more attentive to his needs just as you would any loved one undergoing major surgery.

By adhering to the tips below, you can help keep your furry companion comfortable, hasten the wound healing process, and reduce the risk of dangerous infections and other complications after surgery.

(Video) ROSCO GETS NEUTERED | What to Expect After Your Dog is Fixed

1. Limit activity

Most pets will naturally rest after surgery thanks to the sedative effects of anesthesia, but others regain normal activity very quickly. Regardless of your pet’s energy levels, you will need to limit their movements in the first two weeks after surgery. All strenuous activities like running, jumping, rolling, and playing can disrupt the wound healing process and even cause the incision to swell or dehisce (burst open).

You can prevent your pet from being too active by taking these precautions:

  • Keep your dog inside a room, fenced area, kennel, crate, or other confined space where you can easily supervise them. Your dog should be able to stand up and move around the area comfortably.
  • Avoid taking your dog on long walks or allowing them to play with other people or pets. Discourage jumping on and off furniture, too.
  • Walk your dog outside on a leash for urination and defecation purposes only.

2. Check the incision site twice a day

It is important to look at your pet’s incision site daily to monitor for problems and to ensure healing is taking place. Drainage or discharge should be minimal and only last a few days. Any bruising or swelling should gradually decrease in size as the recovery period progresses.

If you notice excessive redness, bleeding, missing sutures, or gaps in the incision, contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic immediately. Foul discharge or odor is also a concerning sign, as it may indicate an infection. Early detection and treatment are key in preventing a serious complication.

3. Keep the incision clean and dry

While you want to ensure your dog’s incision remains clean, it’s also important for it to stay dry since moisture can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Additionally, excess moisture may cause surgical glue to dissolve, which could compromise the incision. For these reasons, don’t bathe your pet during the 10 to 14 day recovery period unless instructed by your veterinarian.

Keeping your pup indoors—aside from necessary bathroom breaks—will help them stay clean and tidy.

(Video) How To Care For Dogs After Spay Neuter

4. Do not allow your pet to disturb the incision

As the incision heals, it may become itchy, causing your dog to attempt to chew, lick, or scratch at it. Disturbing the wound can cause it to open or become infected, which will require additional treatments and create more trauma for your pet. This is why constant supervision is important during the healing phase.

A few ways you can distract your dog and keep them from fixating on their incision site include:

  • Food-dispensing toys. Some toys can dispense treats as your dog plays with them, which makes for rewarding play. Simply fill the toy with a few favorite treats and let your pet do the work.
  • Dog puzzles. Dog puzzles of many shapes and sizes are readily available at most pet stores. If your pet has no prior experience with puzzles, stick to simple ones first before moving onto complex toys.
  • The “which hand?” game. Grab some treats and have your dog sit or lie down. Let them watch you place a treat in one of your hands, close both hands in a fist, extend them out to your pet and ask, “Which hand?” If your pup touches or signals the right hand, give them the treat and praise them.
  • The shell game. Hide a treat under one of three cups, turn them upside down, and shuffle them around. Like the “which hand” game, reward your dog with a treat for a correct guess.

Despite toys and other distractions, some dogs become fixated on licking or chewing their incisions. For this reason, we recommend placing an Elizabethan (cone) collar, a device that is placed around the dog’s neck to prevent them from reaching the incision site. Cone collars are not one-size-fits-all, so if your dog can still reach his incision, replace it with a larger model or contact us for assistance. The cone may be removed for eating, but should be replaced immediately after mealtime. Continue using the device until your veterinarian deems your pet fully healed.

5. Stick to your pet’s regular diet

Most dogs will regain their appetite within a day after surgery. Offer your dog a small meal—about half of their standard serving size—the evening of your pet’s surgery. You may resume regular feedings the next day, if your pet isn’t showing signs of gastrointestinal upset. Always keep plenty of fresh water readily available.

Avoid changing your dog’s diet during this period, and refrain from giving them table scraps or any other “people food” that might cause irritation or mimic postoperative complications. While every dog’s reaction to surgery is different, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal signs are not normal, so contact us immediately if these signs occur.

6. Monitor your pet’s behavior

When you fetch your dog from the vet, you might notice slight differences in their behavior, such as grogginess or confusion. These are normal effects of general anesthesia that should dissipate over the next 24 hours.

(Video) Spay/Neuter Patient Care: Patient Prep - Canine

Keep in mind that while neutering alters the hormonal balance of your dog, it may or may not affect their behavior after surgery. Male dogs that are neutered later in life may have learned behaviors such as marking, aggression, or mounting that may persist despite neutering. If surgery is elected earlier in life, some of these behaviors may disappear, but this is never a guarantee. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, contact us for a consultation or for trainer recommendations.

7. Monitor your pet’s pain level

Pain control is an essential part of any surgery and recovery—and the same goes for neutering. Your veterinarian will utilize different types of pain medication before, during, and after your dog’s procedure, including drugs for at-home use. It is essential that you only administer medications approved by your veterinarian. Never give your dog ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin, unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. If you believe your pet is still in pain after surgery despite using approved pain medications, contact our clinic for guidance.

8. Keep your dog away from unspayed female dogs

Did you know that neutered males can get unspayed females pregnant after their surgery? Residual sperm may stay active in your dog’s body for the first several days after surgery. Since your dog should be separated from other dogs during their recovery period anyway, this shouldn’t pose a problem. That being said, ensure no unspayed females are around your pet in the postoperative period to eliminate any potential temptation.

9. Watch for signs of complication

Neutering is considered a very safe procedure, but as with all forms of surgery, unforeseen complications can occur. Contact us if you notice any of these signs in your dog in the days following surgery:

  • Heavy bleeding or discharge from the incision
  • Excessive swelling at the incision
  • Foul odor from the incision
  • Missing sutures
  • Fever
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Decreased appetite or water intake
  • Depression
  • Pale gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Incoordination
  • Labored breathing

Schedule an Appointment at Penny Paws Animal Clinic Today

How long does it take a male dog to recover from neutering? With proper care, the healing process will take approximately two weeks. Most pet parents are surprised to find out how quickly their male dogs recover from this safe and effective procedure.

A smooth recovery process starts with a reliable veterinarian. If you are looking to schedule your dog’s neuter surgery, look no further than Penny Paws Animal Clinic. As animal lovers ourselves, we will go above and beyond to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

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