Recovery from Puppy Neutering

by Naomi Millburn
    Some puppies are energetic post-surgery, while others are more mellow.

    Some puppies are energetic post-surgery, while others are more mellow.

    BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    Neutering dogs at young ages can be helpful not only for preventing the impregnation of female dogs, but also for stopping frustrating hormone-driven behaviors before they pop up. Urine marking is one example of such a behavior. Puppies typically recover from neutering surgeries a lot faster than older animals, too.

    Smooth Sailing

    Recovery time for just-neutered puppies often is relatively speedy. Sprightly pups typically are alert and active just a few hours after the surgery. This also applies to newly spayed female puppies. These surgeries aren't as complex as they are with more mature animals, as puppies don't have as much muscle and fat on their bodies. This leads to puppies generally recovering quickly. Pain levels are typically lower for puppies, as well. While the recovery process for neutering often goes smoothly for puppies, it's still crucial for owners to carefully abide by the healing instructions provided by their veterinary clinics.

    Feeding and Recovery

    Puppies who are neutered at an early age often have their appetites back as quickly as half an hour or so post-surgery, notes veterinarian and author Margaret V. Root Kustritz. This generally applies to dogs who are between 8 and 16 weeks old. Professionals at veterinary hospitals feed young dogs shortly after their anesthesia wears off as a way of increasing vigilance. Extremely young puppies typically eat quickly after to prevent decreases in blood sugar, as well.
    Many factors influence a puppy's specific recovery feeding needs, from his exact age to his overall condition. Many veterinarians suggest feeding dogs small amounts of food a few hours after bringing them home. Feeding time frames depend on how long a puppy stayed at the clinic after surgery, however. Talk to your vet about portion sizes and feeding times for initial recovery. Since canines sometimes throw up food and water while recovering, strictly following the guidelines is important.

    Taking It Easy

    Veterinarians generally tell owners to minimize their puppies' physical activity during the healing process. Ample rest is key for successful and quick recovery. Vigorous exercise is not recommended for puppies in the middle of healing. Recovering puppies typically manage well with brief, leashed outdoor walks for between 10 and 12 days post-surgery, according to veterinarian and author Nicholas H. Dodman. It also helps not to allow puppies to engage in intense play with fellow dogs while recovering. Ask your veterinarian for a time frame for monitoring your puppy's physical activity.

    E-Collars for Recovery

    Curious, investigate puppies often put their mouths on everything they see, which can pose a problem during the neutering recovery process. When puppies chew on their incisions, it can interfere with healing. Licking can do the same. Many veterinarians suggest that dogs wear E-collars, or "Elizabethan collars," to prevent them from reaching the surgical site. While dogs often find these collars annoying, wearing them often stops them from getting to their cuts.

    Monitoring Incisions

    While your puppy is recovering from neutering, keep a close eye on the location of his tiny incision. If you see any hints of discharge, irritation, redness, bleeding or conspicuous swelling, for example, it could indicate an infection. Notify your veterinarian immediately if you notice anything unusual, no exceptions. Remember, too, that puppies -- and dogs in general -- shouldn't have baths or go in the water while they're recovering.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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