How to Take Care of a Spayed Puppy

Pups need time to recover from spay surgery.
i Puppy eyes image by Marfa Faber from

Getting your puppy spayed is a responsible thing to do, and it will prevent an unwanted visit from the stork with pups. It’s a common operation, but it’s still major surgery; providing the best possible care when your puppy comes home will help to insure a quick, uncomplicated recovery.

Step 1

Put your puppy in a safe, quiet place when you bring her home. The anesthetic is likely still in her system, so she’ll probably just want to sleep at first. Keep other people and pets away from her, and don’t handle her a lot. If she is crate-trained, she will appreciate having her crate to sleep in. If not, this may be a good time to introduce her to one.

Step 2

Offer her food and water after she’s been home for a couple of hours, but no sooner. Many pups are still feeling the effects of the anesthesia, and giving her too much too soon may cause her to vomit.

Step 3

Watch her to make sure she doesn’t start licking or chewing at her incision. If she does, you’ll need to fit her with an Elizabethan collar, one of those big, funny-looking plastic cones, since she may actually tear out her stitches or cause an infection in the incision. The collar will keep her from being able to reach the area. Some vets routinely place these on pets after surgery.

Step 4

Keep an eye on her incision. Some swelling and redness is normal right after surgery. If the incision remains red, gets darker red or turns purplish, call the vet immediately. Also call if the incision line swells noticeably, or if you see signs of discharge -- especially if it is thick and looks like it has pus or blood in it.

Step 5

Watch for signs that your puppy may have developed an infection or another serious post-operative problem. Call the vet if your pup gets lethargic, stops eating, starts shivering or looks like she’s having trouble breathing. Changes in body temperature can also signal trouble, so if your pup seems particularly cool or overly warm, call the vet. Many pups will slow for the first day or two after surgery, particularly if they are on pain medication, but she should show continued improvement and should never seem to be getting worse. If you aren’t sure, call the vet.

Step 6

Keep your puppy quiet for about a week after surgery. If you let her run around, play ball with her or allow her to wrestle with other pets, she might break open her stitches. You may have to crate her part of the time to enforce this rest, since she’s likely to want to start running around once she is feeling better.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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