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Answering Your Questions About Dog Pain After Neutering

In today's post, you will find information on how to manage your dog's pain after neutering and why spaying and neutering are important and beneficial for our canine companions.

Benefits of Spaying & Neutering Dogs

Frequently referred to as having your dog "fixed", getting your dog spayed or neutered can have several benefits for your dog. 

Population Control - It is estimated that more than three million dogs enter US rescue shelters every year! Spaying or neutering your pup is one of the best things you can do to help reduce the number of homeless dogs in your area.

Behavioral Benefits - These surgeries have the added benefit of helping to curb undesirable behaviors such as mounting, roaming and animal aggression, in addition to preventing the risk of unwanted puppies.

Health Benefits - Spaying your female dog before her first "heat" can reduce the risk of uterine infections, mammary tumors and cancer. Neutering your dog reduces their risk of developing testicular cancer, prostate diseases, perineal tumors and hernias.

Is it safe to have my dog spayed or neutered?

Yes. Most vets have extensive experience performing these common veterinary procedures. Nonetheless, it's important to note that there are risks involved whenever an animal is put under anesthesia. In fact, this is as true for people as it is for our pets.

To minimize surgical risks for your dog,  your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive examination and may recommend diagnostic testing such as blood work be performed before surgery day. This can help to ensure that your pet does not have any undiagnosed health concerns that may increase their risk of surgical complications.

During your dog's surgery, your veterinary team will carefully monitor your pup to identify any complications along the way.

What are the differences between spay & neuter surgeries?

While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures used to sterilize a dog to prevent them from reproducing, there is a key difference that sets the two apart.

When a male dog is neutered (castrated), the testicles are surgically removed while he is under general anesthesia. During a spaying procedure, a female dog is surgically sterilized when the uterus and both ovaries are removed while she is under general anesthesia. We often refer to both surgeries as neutering or "fixing" dogs.

How can I ease my dog's pain after spaying or neutering?

Following your pet's procedure you will want to do all you can to help your pet feel as comfortable as possible. First and foremost it is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian. Dog pain meds may be prescribed after surgery, if that is the case for your pup be sure to administer all medications as instructed by your veterinarian. Other ways to help comfort a dog in pain after spay or neuter surgery include:

  • Put your dog in a cone (Elizabethan collar) or postoperative jumpsuit (recovery suit) to prevent him or her from licking the incision site. Licking the incision may transfer bacteria and cause infection.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm the incision is healing well, and that there are no signs of infection.
  • For two weeks after the spay or neuter surgery, prevent your pet from jumping or running.
  • If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness at the surgery site, or if the incision opens, contact your vet. Also, call your vet if your dog has diarrhea, begins vomiting, stops eating or seems lethargic.
  • Have a quiet place for your dog to rest and recover indoors, away from other animals.
  • Follow your vet’s advice about physical activity following the procedure, since further restrictions may be required for your dog.

How long will my dog be in pain after neutering or spaying?

Spaying female dogs is somewhat more involved than neutering males. However, recovery time is about the same from either procedure.

Due to the typical side effects of general anesthesia, your dog may not seem like their usual self immediately after surgery (they may feel tired and/or queasy). Your pup should begin behaving more like themselves the next day and show little sign of pain or discomfort.

Most discomfort caused by neuter or spay surgeries only lasts for a few days and should dissipate after a week. If your pet seems to be experiencing discomfort or pain for more than a couple of days, contact your vet for more advice.

Will my dog need pain meds after surgery?

Yes. While your dog will not feel any pain throughout the surgery because they will be under anesthesia, they will need medication to alleviate pain after the procedure. Following the surgery, pain medication will be administered to your dog through an injection your vet will provide. This long-term pain medication should remain in your dog’s system for about 12 to 24 hours.

You may be asking yourself, "What can I give my dog for pain after surgery?" Your vet will prescribe take-home medications intended to help relieve any postoperative pain your dog may experience. Rimadyl or Torbugesic are both common dog pain medications prescribed by vets to help manage pain after spay or neuter surgery. When it comes to giving your dog pain medications, follow your vet’s instructions exactly and carefully. Never provide human pain medications to your dog as many of our pain medications can be harmful and even poisonous to dogs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our Nashville vets perform spay and neuter procedures regularly at Belle Forest Animal Hospital. Contact us today to learn more, or to book an appointment for your pooch.

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