Your dog's post-neutering care

Following a surgical neutering, you dog may require extra care, comfort, and supervision the first few days as healing commences.


Having your dog neutered is a great idea for several reasons.

It can prevent your dog from begetting unwanted puppies, it can help male dogs settle down and be less aggressive toward humans or other dogs, and it can help to manage excitable behavior in either gender.

Veterinarians often recommend having a puppy neutered when it is eight months of age or older. The procedure is fairly routine and requires little preparation except not eating the day of the surgery (from midnight the night before). Check with your veterinarian to be sure you know what to do. Your pet may be able to come home the day of the procedure after a successful recovery period. No matter what your dog's age, he or she may need a little extra attention after you bring him or her home from the vet following the procedure, which can be a one-day process.

Before bringing your pet home from the vet's office or animal hospital, thoroughly clean and disinfect its bedding area. Scrub the floor with soap and water, or if in a carpeted area, vacuum it well. Wash your pet's bedding or provide a new bed it the current one needs replacing. Wipe off vinyl bedding liners or bottoms and consider airing it outdoors until your pet returns. You may want to spray the area lightly with mild disinfectant to get rid of germs, though dogs require less of this type of germ management than people do, since they clean their own wounds by washing them with their tongues. Wash the food and water dishes, along with toys or other items your animal uses or comes in contact with frequently. These preventive methods help to reduce the risk of infection.

When your pet comes home, he or she can probably get around just fine alone. But offer help if needed to get into his bed. Make sure you understand the veterinarian's instructions for any medication given for your dog. Then follow the instructions to the letter in administering pills, liquids, or other medication-types to be sure your pet is adequately protected. Keep the medicine away from humans' bottles and boxes to avoid inadvertently mixing the two.

Keep an eye on your dog's stitches or wound. Help your pet keep the area clean by washing it gently as prescribed by the vet. Don't use peroxide or alcohol unless advised to do so. Replace bandages, if any, as recommended. Discourage your dog from chewing stitches or bandages, or scratching them hardily with his foot. Distract him by petting or with treats and toys.

If you note any alarming symptoms, call the veterinarian promptly, leaving a message on the emergency line if you must call at night. Your vet will outline possible symptoms of concern. In general, these may include fever, vomiting, bloody stools, not eating or drinking, excessive lethargy, and drainage from or redness around the wound.

Caring for a recovering pet is much like caring for a post-surgical person. Be cautious, take adequate precautions, and then let nature do its work.