How long does it take for a puppy to heal from being spayed? A Complete Guide

Tips for a Healthy Recovery

Keep your dog restrained as much as possible to prevent tearing of the stitches. After the spay surgery, dogs are often drowsy because of the anesthetic. However, as the medication wears off and their energy returns, it can be difficult to prevent them from interfering with their healing. As a result, you may need to separate them from your other pets.

While your dog is healing from the surgery, you should not give them baths or let them swim in pools. The water can introduce bacteria, causing infections. Although keeping your dog from her favorite activities and friends for two weeks might feel bad, these guidelines will help ensure that your dog heals as quickly as possible.

The Patient May Be Impatient

Since your pet does not know to limit his activity, to keep his incision dry, or to refrain from licking his incision, it will be up to you to make certain these important post-operative instructions are followed. If not, each of these situations can cause serious post-operative complications.

Most pets have a higher pain tolerance than we do. Oftentimes, their body tells them that they are 100% better before their incision has had time to heal. In some cases, as soon as the effects of the anesthesia wear off, your pet can be back to her old-playful self. An average incision typically takes 10-14 days to fully heal. This means remaining disciplined as a pet owner and keeping your pet’s e-collar on while limiting her activity levels for at least 2 weeks following the surgery is a must. The best way to do this is to keep her in her kennel or in a small room (such as a guest bathroom) away from children, other pets, and any other exciting stimuli. When you let your dog outside, make certain to keep her on a leash. Light walking is okay during this recovery time, but running is absolutely not allowed.

Ovariohysterectomy: Removal of the Uterus and Ovaries

Your vet will make an abdominal incision on the underside of your dog’s belly, right around or below the belly button area. The incision may be small or large. The ovaries and uterus are removed, and stitches are placed internally.

During this procedure, large blood vessels must be closed off with stitches. On the belly, stitches may be absorbable or buried under the skin, with no removal necessary. Stitches may also be placed in the skin to close the belly, and these will require removal. If skin stitches are to be removed by your vet, this will happen 10-14 days after surgery.

Puppy Spay and Neuter Aftercare and Exercise

When a female dog is spayed, the procedure, known as an ovariohysterectomy, involves removing the ovaries and uterus. Although technically complex, veterinarians perform spay and neuter operations all the time, so theres generally nothing to worry about. Theyre quite routine, and usually have terrific outcomes.

To ensure your sweet girl has an easy spay recovery, we asked Gabrielle Fadl, DVM, medical director at Bond Vet, for specific factors to watch for and other tips for keeping your dog comfortable as she heals.

Fadl says the primary reason is to prevent accidental pregnancy. This is why most pups are spayed before or shortly after their first heat cycle, or estrus. Depending on your dogs age and size, she might have a period as early as 4–6 months old in small or toy dogs, and up to 18 months in large dogs. This is the start of estrus, which includes three phases that last about 30 days, during which shell be most fertile. Unless shes spayed, shell repeat this cycle every six months.

Fadl tells Daily Paws that spaying a dog has other health benefits, too, such as thwarting behavioral and health consequences that come from hormonal influences over time. “Examples of the things vets try to prevent with a spay surgery include breast and ovarian cancer, uterine infections, and risky behaviors such as escaping the home to find a mate, then becoming lost or injured,” she says.

Spaying is usually performed outside a dogs time of heat, she adds, unless theres a strong reason for it otherwise.

It starts with surgery preparation and initial recovery. Fadl says administering pre-op medications, anesthesia, body prep, and post-surgical monitoring usually takes a bit of time to ensure your pooch gets back on her feet okay. Sometimes, this process is longer than the operation itself.

“An hour would probably be the absolute shortest amount of time to allow for all of this to happen. For most dogs, it can be two or more hours, including all the time spent monitoring them as they recover from anesthesia,” she says. “Thats why dogs are usually brought to a vet clinic in the morning, and then dont go home until later in the day.”

She adds dogs size, age, and body composition—how much fat tissue is in the abdomen—influences your dogs spay recovery time, too.

Once home, Fadl says a full return to normal activity is usually between 10–14 days. “This is the amount of time it takes for all of the incisions to heal, and its at this time that sutures in the skin would be removed, if needed.”

She adds that the first few days post-surgery are the most critical, because its the highest risk period for having some type of internal bleeding from the surgery sites. “Fortunately, this type of complication is very rare in a routine spay. However, it can be serious, even fatal, if blood loss is severe, so its important to take precautions to limit the possibility of internal bleeding after surgery.”

This is a vital first step in pet parent care after spaying a dog. Fadl says to look at the incision site right after surgery so you have a frame of reference if any changes occur. She adds that the veterinary team will give you further instructions on potential issues such as:

“While less common, also look for any sign that the incision may be opening up, such as missing sutures or being able to see the tissue underneath rather than just the skin,” Fadl says. “Also symptoms of pain, such as yelping when you examine the area or a very stiff posture with the abdomen guarded or tucked up.”

Here are some dog spay recovery pictures after surgery on a small dog. Your vet will provide more details about your dogs specific procedure and how it affects incision healing.

Fadl recommends monitoring your girls behavior, too. Naturally, shell be a bit tired and groggy in the evening after the surgery and possibly the next day as the anesthesia wears off. But within 24-36 hours, she should be alert and interacting with you, and able to eat and go to the bathroom normally. Fadl says if you notice abnormal behavior such as lethargy or excessive tiredness, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your vet right away.