Dog Pain After Neutering

We understand that deciding whether or not to spay or neuter your dog can be a tough and emotional decision. Today, our San Diego vets discuss the pain a dog may encounter after being neutered, and how you can help them.

Neutering Male Dogs

Also referred to as having your dog "fixed", getting your dog spayed or neutered has proven to have several health benefits for your dog. You might even see a reduction in undesirable characteristics such as mounting, roaming, and animal aggression, in addition to preventing the risk of unwanted puppies.

While approximately 3.3 million dogs come to shelters every year, spaying and neutering your dog will help reduce the number of unwanted dogs in your area.

While it may not seem like it right now, undertaking the emotional process of having your dog neutered or spayed is worth the time and investment for these reasons and more, for both you and your pup.

Risks Associated With Neuter Surgery

Yes. Most vets have experience performing these common veterinary procedures. That said, similar to medical procedures in human medicine, there is some risk involved whenever an animal is put under anesthesia.

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

The Differences Between Spaying & Neutering

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.

Relieving Your Dog's Pain After Neutering

Following your dog’s surgery, help them rest and feel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few tips if you're wondering how to comfort a dog who may be in pain after neutering.

  • 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 Your Dog Will Take to Recover

Spaying female dogs is somewhat more involved than neutering males. However, both should take about the same amount of time to recover 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.

Post-Op Pain Medication for Your Dog

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.

Is your dog displaying signs of pain or infection after surgery? Contact our San Diego vets as soon as possible.