How to care for a puppy after being spayed

Updated November 21, 2016

Having a puppy spayed means having her ovaries and uterus removed surgically so that she is unable to reproduce. Spaying not only prevents pet overpopulation, it also offers health benefits to your dog by reducing her risk of developing breast cancer and reproductive tract diseases. Puppies are typically spayed at 6 months, but the surgery can be done at an earlier age by an experienced veterinarian. Although the surgery is a common one, it is still considered major surgery and your puppy requires proper aftercare to make a full recovery.

Prepare a place for your puppy to recover. She needs to be indoors during recovery, so choose a safe, quiet, warm indoor spot. Make sure this spot includes a warm, comfortable bed. Provide toys to keep your puppy occupied without getting too physically active.

Administer pain relief medication to your puppy. Your veterinarian should provide you with pain medication and instructions on how to use it. In the unlikely event that your veterinarian does not provide medication, ask for it and ask for instructions on how to use it. Your puppy usually needs to take pain medication for two to three days.

Allow her to rest as needed, and don't be alarmed if your usually active puppy is a bit sleepy. The anesthetic used during surgery, the pain medication you administer, as well as the process of recovery tires your puppy out, so let her rest and get well. Also, try to keep your puppy as quiet and calm as possible until she recovers.

Offer a small meal, half the size of your puppy's normal meals, on her first night home. She may not want to eat that night, and that's OK. Contact your veterinarian if your puppy still does not want to eat the next day.

Prevent your puppy from pulling, licking or chewing her stitches. Stitches get itchy as they heal, so consider using an Elizabethan collar (those lamp shade looking collars that circle your dog's head) to keep your puppy away from her stitches. Stitches are usually removed after one week.

Keep an eye on your puppy's incision, making sure it doesn't bleed or produce excess fluid or discharge. Contact your veterinarian if the incision produces too much discharge, becomes red or inflamed as these are signs it may be infected.

Avoid bathing or allowing your puppy to swim until her stitches are out to help prevent infection.


Consider keeping your dog away from other pets or small children until she recovers to help her to stay quiet. Always contact your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your puppy's recovery.

Things You'll Need

  • Indoor recovery spot with bed
  • Chew toys
  • Pain medication
  • Puppy food
  • Elizabethan collar
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