How to Care for a Dog After a Spaying Operation

Updated March 23, 2017

A spaying operation, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical procedure where the female dog's ovaries and uterus are removed. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Spaying prevents reproduction, but can also prevent serious diseases, such as ovarian and uterine cancer, as well as uterine infections. A spaying operation is major abdominal surgery, and your pet will need special post-operative care to ensure quick and complete healing.

Ask your veterinarian about obtaining additional oral pain relievers for your pet. Your pet might experience a significant degree of discomfort at home after the anaesthesia and injected pain reliever wear off. Your veterinarian will advise you as to whether he thinks additional medication is necessary.

Purchase an Elizabethan-style collar, also known as a cone, from the veterinary office. Some veterinarians provide this collar standard with the spaying operation.

Bring a kennel and a blanket with you when you pick up your dog from the veterinarian's office. If your dog is too large to carry, make sure you bring her leash and collar to transport her to the car, where her kennel should be waiting. Secure your dog in the kennel with a soft blanket for added warmth. Your dog's movement should be strictly limited; do not allow her to roam free in the car on the way home.

Provide your dog with a comfortable place to sleep where you can monitor her throughout the day. For 12 to 24 hours after the surgery, she will be very sleepy and less coordinated than usual; she might even drool. Keep other animals in a separate area so that she can get the rest that she needs.

Feed your dog one-fourth of her normal meal and water two hours after you return home. This reduced portion will prevent her from vomiting as a result of the anaesthesia. You can resume regular feedings the day following surgery if she is able to keep down her previous meals. If your dog refuses to eat, offer her a mixture of cooked chicken and rice. This meal is appealing and very easy to digest.

Watch your dog for signs of surgical complications during the first 24 hours at home. Inability to stand, swelling, bleeding, inability to urinate, severe vomiting or diarrhoea and pale gums are all symptoms that require a visit to the veterinarian. Call your veterinarian immediately, or take your pet to a 24-hour veterinary clinic.

Watch your dog for other symptoms of complications during the 14 days after the operation. Coughing, refusal to eat or drink for longer than 12 hours, lethargy, soreness lasting longer than three days and ongoing vomiting or diarrhoea are all symptoms that require a veterinary consultation.

Prevent your dog's regular activities from interfering with the healing of the incision site. Keep your dog on her leash to prevent running and jumping, which can tear internal and external sutures. Activity levels can increase after the first week and return to normal after 14 days. Do not allow your dog to get the incision wet through swimming or bathing for 14 days.

Monitor your dog closely to prevent licking and chewing the incision site. Your dog can tear out the sutures very quickly and open up the incision site. Additionally, licking and chewing can cause infection. Put the Elizabethan-style collar on your dog when you are unable to watch her, especially at night.

Examine your pet daily for signs of swelling, discharge or suture removal until the incision site is completely healed.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian for 10 to 14 days after the initial operation. This visit allows the veterinarian to check the healing of the incision, as well as remove any external sutures.


Follow any specialised instructions given to you by your veterinarian.

Things You'll Need

  • Kennel
  • Blanket
  • Leash and collar
  • Elizabethan collar
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