Neutering your puppy not only prevents him from impregnating female dogs, it also eliminates his risk of testicular cancer and decreases his urge to “mark” furniture or walls with urine. A vet can neuter your puppy once the dog’s 8 weeks old. Ensuring his full recovery helps prevent post-surgery complications.
Licking surgical stitches, even to the point of infection, is a natural instinct for any dog. Cone collars, also known as Elizabethan collars or E-collars, prevent him from licking his surgical site. Veterinarians and shelter hospitals sell protective cone-shaped collars, but they’re often made of hard plastic, which isn’t very comfortable. If your puppy has trouble settling down while wearing the hard plastic collar, go to a pet store and purchase one made from soft, washable material. A softer cone collar still protects his surgical site, but with less discomfort and frustration.
Monitor the Recovery
Monitor your puppy’s progress by paying attention to his behavior and checking his stitches every day. For example, a puppy that appears fine for the first two days after his surgery, but then suddenly loses his appetite or seems lethargic needs to see your vet as soon as possible. Even if his behavior appears normal, infection and torn stitches are incredibly painful, so call your vet immediately if you notice any swelling, bleeding or draining at his surgical site.
Keep Dry and Clean
Your puppy’s surgical site must stay clean during recovery, but you also can’t bathe him for 10 days after the surgery. This means you need to minimize contact between his underbelly and unclean or bug-infested surfaces. Avoid taking him anyplace with tall, potentially tick-infested grasses, stagnant water, mud puddles, dead animals or other unsanitary locations. Don’t walk him for more than 10 minutes at a time while he’s recovering, and stick to the sidewalk or paved road. Change his bedding every day by giving him clean towels.
Even if your puppy appears eager and energetic, playing and bouncing around can tear his stitches or delay healing. Keep your puppy calm for the first two weeks after surgery by stimulating his mind. Dog puzzles, sold at any major pet store, require your pup to manipulate shifting boards and openings with his nose to access the treat inside. Expect to demonstrate the correct use of the puzzle the first few times. Another way to keep your pup occupied is with 15-minute training sessions. Sit, stay, come and down are all useful commands for your puppy to learn while he’s young. Don’t forget to treat and praise him.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.