Spaying/Neutering Aftercare: Things You Should And Shouldn’t Do For Your Dog

Home / Dogs / Spaying/Neutering Aftercare: Things You Should And Shouldn’t Do For Your Dog

There are many valid reasons to spay/neuter your bitch/dog. One of the main reasons is that spaying/neutering is beneficial for your pet’s health in the long run. At the same time, it is also a very responsible attitude as it helps controlling the number of stray dogs. Spaying/neutering your pet will also prevent some unwanted behaviours.

As with any other medical procedure, it’s highly important that you know how to effectively take care of your furry friend after undergoing surgery. If instead of dogs you want to know more about cats, click here. Some dogs will recover faster, but there are ways in which you can facilitate the recovery process.
Here are some of the things you should remember.

Care after arriving home

dog-717718_960_720After bringing your dog home you may notice she is disoriented or more depressed than usual. It is not uncommon for the dog to be particularly quiet during the first 24h after surgery. If, for some reason, your dog is agitated you should confine her. Specially in the case of females where there is a higher chance for the stitches to open.

Make sure you place your dog in a quiet place, in dim light, during the recovery process. The bed must be comfortable and the room temperature should be pleasant. If you have other pets at home or children, keep them away from your dog. During the recovery period your dog may experience some disorientation and may become aggressive our stressed.

The anaesthesia effect usually wears off completely after 24h. After this period, your dog should be behaving as usual.

What about food and water?

Once your dog gets home from the vet, you can offer her a small amount of water. You should not allow your dog to drink too much as this can cause vomiting. When the dog is awake and alert you can offer her food. The amount should be small (half than the usual). If your dog vomits or refuses to eat do not force it. You should wait until the next day to offer food again.

Twenty four hours after surgery you may offer water and food in normal amounts. It is normal for your dog’s appetite not to be the same as usual during the first day. However, if everything is not back to normal within the first 48h after surgery, you should call your vet.


bulldog-3013251_960_720Your pet received long-term pain medication during the spaying/neutering surgery. However, 24 to 36 hours after surgery, it is possible that the effect of this medication begins wearing off. Therefore, it is normal for the vet to prescribe pain medication. If you have received medication for your dog , follow the instructions given by the vet.

DO NOT GIVE HUMAN MEDICATION TO YOUR PET!! Many owners do not know, but over-the-counter medications routinely used in humans (such as aspirin, paracetamol, or ibuprofen) can be dangerous and even fatal to their animals. Dogs do not metabolize these drugs in the same way as humans do. If you think your dog needs pain medication, contact your vet. He will prescribe an appropriate medicine.

Bathroom habits

Contact the vet if your dog is not urinating or defecating regularly within 72 hours after surgery.
Check if is blood present in your dog’s urine. A small amount may be present in female dogs during the first 24 hours after surgery. If this continues or if your dog appears ill at any time, call the vet.

Activity levels

A day or two after spaying/neutering, your dog’s personality should return to normal. However, you should restrict your dog’s activity for seven days after surgery.

Too much activity may lead to the opening or inflammations of the surgery site. To help keep your pet quiet:

  • Restrict the places your dog has access to inside the house. Keep your dog in a room or a in a crate of adequate size when you are not able to supervise it. The dog should be able to stand up and turn inside the crate.
  • If there are steps and if your dog is small, carry her up and down the stairs.
  • Always walk your dog on the lead for short periods of time and do not let him play rough with other animals or people. Also, do not let your dog jump up or down the sofa.

As stressful as it may seem to take care of your dog after surgery, remember that you are doing the best for your pet’s health!


To remember when you got your dog neutered and never forget his medication get the PETABLE app. It will send you reminders so you never miss a treatment again. Click to download:
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  • david
    July 25, 2019, 2:46 pm  Reply

    my dog isnt drinking after three days of been nuetering

    • Marcia Marecek
      June 28, 2022, 1:38 am

      Mine did the same no water for three days. I floated his food with water and tried ice chips and bone broth in his water. He is 6 days out now and started drinking water yesterday. I was worried about dehydration!

  • Laura Pritchett
    September 26, 2019, 2:16 pm  Reply

    I just got my 6 month old small terrier mix yesterday and although it’s been 24 hours, he is still very sluggish and cries out in pain with no warning, while seemingly still and resting. I am following the guidelines and hope my little boy Is on the mend and playing again soon.

  • debbie joy
    November 7, 2019, 2:23 pm  Reply

    So, I came here for an answer to a question I have. I appreciate the article as it is informative, but it doesn’t answer the question I have. My vet didn’t prescribe any pain meds. I can see that my dog is in pain. Why would they fail 2provide this? In previous situations, it’s beencommon for a vet to suggest 1/4 baby aspirin-my dogs are Papillons & Chihuahuas under 8#. Would this not b ok?

  • January 10, 2020, 1:12 am  Reply

    My dog is going to be neuter February 4,2020 I ThankYou for the information I’m going to need help with my dog so I’m trying to know what to do for my baby I mean my dog he is 6 years old on February 21,so I’m saying he is 6 year now
    Pray for my dog and me Thank You

    • Jacob
      September 11, 2022, 5:51 pm

      Hello.I hope your dog is doing well.I am afraid to neuter my dog.He is also 6 year old.Is it ok to neuter now or should I not neuter?Many suggested to neuter it in the small age itself.Is there any tests to be taken before neutering an older dog?.How was your dog post neutering?Thanks in advance

  • Carolyn schmit
    May 15, 2020, 5:02 pm  Reply

    Thanks for the info. Have a shitstu puppy and plan on having her taken care of. Do not want to mess with puppies. Think you have provided great info for before and after. Than you.

  • Tj
    June 18, 2020, 6:33 am  Reply

    My dog appears pain free and full of beans 2nd day after surgery. So hard to keep him quiet. How much can we let him do. Wandering around the yard himself ok?

    • Emily
      August 1, 2020, 2:22 pm

      My Maltipoo is the same! Doesnt seem fazed at all 3 days post-op. I am stressed beyond belief, yet my husband and kids keep telling me to relax. I dont know what to do!

  • Cyndi
    June 19, 2020, 3:09 am  Reply

    My ten month old border collie was pretty much himself after surgery. Had a heck of a time keeping him from jumping. Before I could stop him, he leapt up into my Terrain. Even with the surgical collar he was able to lick himself. I had to get a blow up round travel pillow and fasten tightly, but not so he can’t breath. He is a handfull. I have to stay right at his side constantly!

    • Sanita
      June 26, 2020, 2:27 am

      My dog has her procedure yesterday, they kept her overnight & I picked her up today. She was so hyper I couldn’t stop her from jumping or running, so I called my vet and they prescribed a sedative. Also when I picked her up they gave me two days worth of pain meds. She also is a compulsive licker but hates the cone they gave her, so I ordered the recovery neck pillow & outfit from Amazon.

    • November 1, 2020, 2:22 pm

      Sounds like your puppy was very active and I am afraid mine will be to. Did yours recover okay still being so active.

    • Cassandra
      March 1, 2021, 12:57 am

      Just had my Lab done and he is the same with the collar. He used the cone to scratch himself and had to take him back to the vet. He is an outside dog so having him in the house is a handful. He is big and 100miles an hr through the house. We have the blow up collar , which he seems to like better, but he is a contortionist and could still lick any part he wants. 100% constant supervision required

    • Sherri Ann
      April 29, 2021, 9:34 am

      Omg…. my Boy had his proceduretoday and recovery has been horrible with the cone! I’m so glad I read these comments or i would have never known about the pillow and body suit!!

    • Alex
      May 2, 2021, 11:46 am

      How were your dogs after being active? (Cyndi, Sanita, Jeanetta, Cassandra) I had my 11 month old male german shepherd neutered fri morning and shortly after i brought him home that evening he did some pacing and jumped off a step. There were a few drops of blood on the floor that night but by morning his stomach was distended from internal bleeding. vet thinks its bc of the little bit of activity

    • Alex
      May 2, 2021, 11:52 am

      My vet said she’s only seen this happen 3 times in 30 years of practice but it seems like if it was from being active it would happen a lot more often. The literature I’ve found all states that this type of rare complication is due to the surgeon not ligating the vessel/cord properly. trying to gain some insight on whether it’s my fault bc he jumped or if the vet is hiding her mistake

  • Susan Edwards
    June 28, 2020, 9:42 am  Reply

    My chi is full of spayed Wednesday and acts like nothing has happened..he jumped of bed..and i was too slow..but he hasnt even had any interest not his stitches..but can i give him something for pain??…

    • March 19, 2021, 1:53 pm

      Never medicate your pet, especially with human pain meds, for they are very toxic to both cats and dogs (but cats especially have a larger deficiency in the enzymes necessary to metabolize our human pain meds). Always ask your veterinarian to prescribe the appropriate painkillers.

  • Batty
    July 11, 2020, 11:15 pm  Reply

    We have just had out 2 6 mth old poodle/Maltese x boys neutered. One was full of beans post op & the other we had a night of vomiting & diarrhoea (I would pick from the anesthetic). We have to be by their side constantly supervising. Make sure you have a spare 3 days to devote to your dog with neutering (just as you would any family member!)

  • Bonnie Verm
    July 18, 2020, 8:35 pm  Reply

    My dog was released from the vet a couple hours ago and just started shaking uncontrollably. Is this due to pain or anesthesia?

  • James Holden
    July 19, 2020, 1:22 pm  Reply

    My dog was spayed two days ago. She’s completely back to herself, eats the meals I give her but hasn’t touched her water. Her walks are shorter so I expect her to drink less but she can’t be getting enough water from the wet food only can she?

  • Nita
    July 29, 2020, 1:37 pm  Reply

    My dog tried to rule the World again almost immediately. I had to continuously slow him down. He ripped one Ecollar in half, punctured his donut the same day I bought it, and figured out how to escape from the second E collar. I had to duct tape it where the snaps were. It’s hard to keep a German Shepard/ Chocolate lab down.

  • dolan
    August 3, 2020, 12:17 pm  Reply

    Doctor said he’s healed, so i took off his collar now he’s licking that place. is that okay?

  • Judy gillen
    August 26, 2020, 3:49 pm  Reply

    Is it normal to leave the sac after the testicles are removed?

    • March 19, 2021, 2:03 pm

      Yes, completely normal. The skin will recoil in time.

  • Annette
    August 27, 2020, 4:26 pm  Reply

    How long after neutering do I have to leave his blowup collar on?

  • Kate
    August 27, 2020, 11:24 pm  Reply

    I have two male Shorkies, littermates – snipped on Monday .. it’s Thursday, my husband has been home with them all week (shift work). We had to get a post-op sedative to chill them out. Back to their normal playful selves – making it all the more challenging to keep them calm and relaxed. Currently camped out in the living room, with a mattress & couches turned so no jumping. The cones are fun.

  • Dolores
    September 9, 2020, 12:18 am  Reply

    My 8 yr old Rottweiler was neutered 1 month ago and has been eating grass to throw up every other day. Still has plenty of play left in him.

  • September 15, 2020, 3:44 am  Reply

    My pitbull is well and ok thank god after surgery.he alittle sleepy for 2 days.but now he is happy playing and barking at everything.

  • Claire
    September 17, 2020, 9:24 pm  Reply

    My girl had keyhole spay. After first night she was bouncy and hard to keep from exercising. Day 3 she’s very active. Still giving the painkillers but she is so happy and playful. The wounds are tiny and healing beautifully. I recommend paying the extra for it if it’s possible for your dog.

  • susan
    September 25, 2020, 8:39 pm  Reply

    my yellow lab wants to lay down in the bathroom after neutered but at night he is agitated and wants to lay down in the lawn at night, i think he feels hot

  • Jess
    October 3, 2020, 2:15 am  Reply

    My dog recently got neutered on Monday and after 2 days since he is still a puppy he is super hyper up and down running and it’s very stressful since his vet told me to restrict him from all l those things he is doing… They did give medicine to calm him down and that only last for 2 hours when his already up and ready to go at it again… Iam not sure what to do? Any suggestions ?

  • Wendy Barber
    October 23, 2020, 6:41 pm  Reply

    I had my dog spayed recently and the vet advised me to get some baby grows for her to stop her licking.
    What a great idea, I would advise anyone to get some.
    Hope this helps as much comfier than a cone collar.

  • Brenda H
    November 5, 2020, 3:42 pm  Reply

    We have a rescue that is 6 months old german shep/ retriever and will be neutered this Friday.
    I work 3 hours a day and will need to kennel him.He is kennel trained and does well for 2-3 hours a day.
    I am concerned when he has his surgery , if it is a good idea to still kennel that first week.
    Thoughts? Does any one else kennel during the day?
    Thank you

  • Ann
    November 7, 2020, 2:38 pm  Reply

    Friends 6month female lab was spayed on a Wednesday.. peeing and pooping and no temp but still not comfortable…Crying out And visibly uncomfortable. Anyone else experience this? Any remedy? Low pain tolerance? Just needs time … help

    • Dawn Carolan
      March 14, 2022, 6:30 pm

      We are having this problem with our 8 month chocolate lab. He has also been favoring his back legs. Eats and drinks and uses the bathroom no problem.

  • anj
    November 13, 2020, 6:47 pm  Reply

    My Frenchie just got spayed after her 2nd heat. She hasn’t wanted to eat anything but drank a lil bit of water one time since after her surgery. peed 2x, & pood once (its been almost 24 hrs since). Hoping she’ll start eating before the 48 hour period. She is still a lil slower than usual to move and would just rather lay around on her soft bed. Thankfully, she took her pain meds on her own.

  • her
    November 15, 2020, 8:49 am  Reply

    Thanks for the information.

    So far my dog is about 6 hours post surgery and he seems to be very sluggish and annoyed with the protective barrier. I’m thinking of getting alternative protective clothing instead of the plastic around neck. He hasn’t ate or drink anything as of yet.
    Today is Nov 15,2020 My dog is Tyson & he is a chihuahua mix 8yrs old born Oct 25 2012. I’ll keep updated. ‘

    • Lani Ramirez
      April 1, 2021, 10:10 pm

      Hello. What is the update?

  • Wanda M
    December 13, 2020, 5:14 pm  Reply

    I have a Beagle mix almost 2 years old she was very active and playful before she was neutered almost 48 hours ago. She is still very quiet and is not active at all. She did eat and drank water this morning, but she want do anything but sleep and stare. Is this normal?

  • Sophia
    December 14, 2020, 4:10 pm  Reply

    I have a German Shepard pit bull lab mix he just got surgery and he was himself immediately ! They prescribed my sedative meds but I don’t like seeing him like that. Although I knows it’s for his best since he’s a crazy energetic dog I don’t know how to refrain him from being so playful without giving him is sedative. Any suggestions ?

  • stacey
    December 16, 2020, 7:41 pm  Reply

    i have two bulldogs. female is fixed already, just had male fixed. brought him home and they are both being aggressive. i had to separate them. is this normal? and how long does it last if it is normal. they were fine before he got fixed

  • Lisa
    December 31, 2020, 12:18 am  Reply

    We had a great vet that noticed how energetic our dog is, so they prescribed a sedative that will keep her calm while she recovers. I highly recommend it! We paid $16 extra for it.

  • Blanca Martinez
    January 6, 2021, 2:36 am  Reply

    Is it safe to have your puppy groom while he’s under, and bath after he wakes up or should I wait to have him groom

    • March 19, 2021, 1:32 pm

      A few pets actually need some form of tranquilization in order to be complacent to grooming. However, bathing and grooming a sedated dog is very different to taking advantage of the anesthesia required for spaying/neutering to have your puppy groomed. When a dog is sedated, he gets an injection of a tranquilizer that sedates him but does not send him into the profound state of analgesia, paralysis and unconsciousness required for surgery. Therefore, for surgical procedures your dog will most probably be connected to a ventilator through which volatile anesthesia is supplied (in the form of gas that he breathes in), he will be connected to monitoring systems for heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels and have an IV drop in one of his peripheral veins. With all this medical paraphernalia going on, it will be very difficult to groom/bathe you dog. Not to mention that temperature control is very important in an anesthetized pet and bathing/grooming is not recommended as it submits the metabolism to enormous external variations in temperature.

  • Cathy Ney
    February 18, 2021, 3:01 pm  Reply

    When is it safe for car travel after our 6-month old Bichon is neutered?

    • March 19, 2021, 11:18 am

      Car travel is safe on the same day surgery occurs (as this is how most pets get home after undergoing the procedure). Neutering a male dog is not as “invasive” as spaying a female, in that there is no access to the interior of the abdominal cavity. There are less sutures to look out for and except if the car ride is on a very bumpy trail, they will hardly be bothered by it or feel any pain, as long as you follow your veterinarian’s advice when it comes to their pain meds.

  • March 2, 2021, 5:33 am  Reply

    mine is also uncontrollably winning and it hurts my heart I have checked his incision,given him pain medication, offered food and water and many other things it just seems that he is still in pain do you have any advice now that your dog is almost 1 and half

    • March 19, 2021, 11:12 am

      Talk to your veterinarian. Just like humans, our pets have different levels of tolerance to pain and some might need some extra pain medication to help them get by as they recover from surgery. Do not attempt to medicate your pet with common human pain meds as the most common ones are highly toxic to our pets. Your veterinarian will prescribe the most adequate meds and/or adjust the dosage.

  • Olivia
    March 4, 2021, 1:48 am  Reply

    Came here trying to get a answer to what I can do to help my puppy with pain he was neutered today and is starting to show that he is in pain crying out

    • March 19, 2021, 11:11 am

      Talk to your veterinarian. Just like humans, our pets have different levels of tolerance to pain and some might need some extra pain medication to help them get by as they recover from surgery. Do not attempt to medicate your pet with common human pain meds as the most common ones are highly toxic to our pets. Your veterinarian will prescribe the most adequate ones.

  • Soraya
    April 2, 2021, 9:23 pm  Reply

    Our cockapoo 10 month old puppy was neutered 2 days ago. Not interested in drinking from a bowl but loves ice!! We are still waiting for him to poop, has anyone else had the same problem? He is eating really well and keeping everything down including medication (anti inflammatory)

    • April 14, 2021, 7:06 pm

      After any anaesthesia, it is common for intestinal transit to slow down a bit. If he is eating and drinking properly, the poop will come. Let your veterinarian know if the problem persists and he may recommend some special nutrition or supplement just to get those bowels back to normal ASAP. Good to know he’s feeling great!

  • Thilo
    April 3, 2021, 9:03 pm  Reply

    If a male pup neurtered a couple of weeks ago. Is it normal for him to be sluggish & still in pain.

    • April 14, 2021, 7:10 pm

      Two weeks is a long time to still be in pain from the surgery. Let your veterinarian know that your dog is sluggish and not back to his usual self. There may be some underlying condition that was triggered due to surgery or it may even be something unrelated to the surgery altogether. Further examination and complimentary tests may be in order. Wishing all the best for your good boy

  • Debra Sadler
    April 11, 2021, 12:41 pm  Reply

    Had my 2 dogs neutered 3 days ago, one of them is still distressed mostly because he can’t lick the area I think. The vet gave him antibiotics yesterday in case of infection and told me to give him a quarter of human paracetamol twice per day but it says on here not to give it!!! We have taken the cone off the other dog and he seems fine.

  • Amanda Schoch
    April 21, 2021, 1:47 am  Reply

    My puppy just got neutered today, how long does it take for him to pee or poop?

    • May 13, 2021, 3:29 pm

      It varies between pets, but we’re sure he must have done it by now. Wishing you lots of good times with your puppy!

  • jenna li
    June 2, 2021, 5:01 am  Reply

    My 6 mo. old maltipoo got neutered earlier today. He is scooting around the floor, walking a few steps then plopping down, and is trying to lick at the incision site. Is this normal, thank you in advance!!

    • bruno
      August 16, 2021, 11:09 pm

      By this time, your puppy should be more than recovered, but the signs you have described are common for the immediate period after surgery.
      Over the hours, and as the anesthesia wore off, your pet should have returned to normal balance.
      A little discomfort near the suture area would be common for the next few days, and sometimes a collar is needed to prevent self-trauma.
      No worries.

    • Mary
      January 4, 2022, 11:02 am

      My Roy poodle was just neutered 6 hours ago..he’s just in his bed and looks really tired and no energy:( he hasn’t had any water but had a but of puppy milk (he is 9 months old). He’s tongue is just sticking out more than I’ve ever seen not sure if he’s thirsty or hot. He doesn’t want to drink but I try give him drops of water. Is that normal? Does the room temperature need to be cool?

      • January 23, 2022, 4:28 pm

        Hi, hope you got in touch with your attending veterinarian for this one. Most likely he was still under the effect of the anaesthetic. As to room temperature it should be neither too warm nor too cold. Anaesthesia tends to lower body temperature, which is why room temperature shouldn’t be too cold, so the body can get back to it’s normal state as quickly as possible. It also leads to a little bit of dehydration which is why keeping the temperature up too high (for instance, keeping your pet too close to a fireplace or heat source) is also ill-advised, as this may increase the necessity for water intake at a moment when the pet is still too drowsy to be interested in any food or drink. A nice and comfortable temperature (“room temperature”) would suffice.

  • Angel
    July 1, 2021, 8:34 am  Reply

    My dog is now 1 day post-op. Yesterday he looked like he didn’t have any energy left inside, pooped once and peed himself twice. Earlier this morning he started to have his appetite back, then later he started to run after me and follow me literally everywhere. Even jumps over the couches.
    Kinda afraid he’s gonna ruined the stitches but I’m happy he’s strong and looking good😅

    • bruno
      August 17, 2021, 11:48 pm

      By now, we hope that your dog has fully recovered. It is positive that he showed all this energy because it means he was comfortable. However it is always important to try to control agitation, so that there is no trauma to the suture area.

  • NP
    July 13, 2021, 11:34 pm  Reply

    Is it normal if my pup gets hyper and eats a lot right after the surgery? He just wines for food and wants to go out. I’m afraid he might get the incision. What should I do??

    • bruno
      August 19, 2021, 7:11 pm

      By now, we hope your puppy is fully recovered. It is good that he showed all this appetite and energy, but in a recovery situation after surgery it is always necessary to control agitation and maintain proper care, to ensure there is no trauma to the incision area.

  • Josette
    July 31, 2021, 3:23 am  Reply

    My 5 month female dog will be spayed soon. My vet tech friend told me 3-4 days after surgery, she would be good to travel for a long distance drive… with your comments, I am not sure it will be a good idea.

    • bruno
      August 19, 2021, 9:37 pm

      By now, you may have already made the trip with your dog and if, that is the case, we hope everything went well. Indeed, with only a few days left after surgery, travel can always be a risk, so the ideal thing to do would be postponing any extraordinary event until it is absolutely safe.

  • Sian
    August 1, 2021, 7:03 pm  Reply

    My boy was neutered on the 30th of June and pooped as soon as we left the vet hospital however he has not pooped since although he has still been peeing as well as eating and drinking as normal, any tips or advice would be welcomed.

    • bruno
      August 17, 2021, 11:38 pm

      By now, your boy should already have normalized his bowel function. After neutering, it is common for some dogs to present alterations in intestinal transit. But normally these changes affect the first 24-48 hours. If the situation persists beyond this time period, and despite the fact that he was absolutely fine in other aspects, sometimes it’s best to ask your attending veterinarian for advice, just to help him get more comfortable.

  • Jenifer
    September 12, 2021, 2:35 pm  Reply

    My shiba was spayed Friday. Still did not have bowel movement .. it’s been 3 days today .. Sunday.

  • Dianna
    December 22, 2021, 4:55 am  Reply

    5 days post op for my boy and he has started peeing during the night 4am in the house. Not asking to go out like normal he is usually good through the night. Will this rectify or is his bladder control now shorter and i will have to get upxand take him out during the night

    • January 23, 2022, 4:36 pm

      Hope this situations resolves by itself. It’s not common, but this does happen sometimes. Dogs having increased urination frequency normally come from drinking more water. This can be a side effect of some post-op medication. As soon as the medication stops, the urination frequency should go back to normal. Ask your veterinarians what medication your dog is on and don’t forget to mention the increased urination. We’re sure they can help.

  • Vianett Aguirre
    January 11, 2022, 4:56 am  Reply

    I just got my baby neutered, I picked her up around 4 when should I start giving her, the meds ? The vet didn’t tell me

    • January 23, 2022, 4:23 pm

      You really should ask your veterinarian. Call the clinic back and they’ll most certainly be glad to help you. Not knowing which meds were giving before clinical discharge, nor which ones were taken home, doesn’t allow us to give your an informed opinion. You must really make sure you get your advice from the attending professional in your specific case.

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