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How Long Will My Dog Be in Pain After Spaying?

As you can imagine, the process of spaying and neutering are long and painful ones for your dog. Even though they have a higher pain threshold than us humans, the pain of a surgery as invasive as spaying is undisputed. Unfortunately, the process for female dogs is much more complicated than neutering is for males, which can require a longer recovery time. So how long will you have to see your beloved dog in pain after surgery? Let’s take a look.

Pair of dogs
Image by Camilo Fierro from Unsplash

How to Manage the Pain after Spaying your Dog

In general, your dog should be in pain for a few days after the spaying process and the pain around the incision site should decrease day by day, with your dog making a full recovery around two weeks time. Your pooch is hurting and your heart is breaking, all of which is understandable. Getting spayed or neutered is no easy task to overcome for you or your dog so helping them feel as comfortable as possible during recovery is important.

One of the things you can do is to give your dog her own space to recover. This means keeping her away from other dogs if you have multiple pets, or moving her kennel or crate into a quiet room. The veterinarian should prescribe long term pain medication for the first few days.

As a pet owner, we advise you to never administer human pain medications. Dog medications are different than human ones and the dosage could be fatal to your dog. Always follow your vet’s advice when administering dog pain medications. The long term pain medications prescribed by your vet should last for at least the first day.

Don’t worry if your dog seems lethargic, which is very normal with a dog in pain. Some may even witness animal aggression from their dog during this time, and as a pet parent, we understand that this can be alarming. However, just understand the surgery your dog went through can be traumatic, so coming close to their incision site can cause them to be afraid of more pain and therefore become aggressive.

How to Manage the Pain after Spaying your Dog
Image by Amy_Gillard from Pixabay

The most you can do during a temporary personality shift in your dog is just to give her a private area to recuperate.

Pet parents should also limit the amount of exercise for their female dog as excessive running and jumping can open the wound on the incision site again, and prolong recovery time. If you have an extra active female dog who is somehow unaffected by the pain, your vet may also prescribe sedatives to help her heal. Again, when administering sedatives, always follow your vet’s instructions and dosage recommendations.

Definitely do not let the wound come into contact with water, because this could cause the incision site to get infected after spaying. Check the wound on a daily basis just to make sure it’s recovering well. If you see any swelling, bleeding or pussing, contact your vet immediately.

Unfortunately, even your dog licking the wound could cause it to open back up or get infected. As dogs are naturally inclined to lick their wounds, which is also where the saying comes from, you need to keep them from doing so. Most of us have full-time jobs out of the house, so how can you make sure your dog doesn’t go near her incision site?

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One of the methods is by utilizing a dog cone. However, some dogs really do not take to a cone and some vets recommend an inflatable dog collar or donut instead. We have had the experience of having a very limber and flexible dog that could get past the donut and reach her incision, so make sure you get the right size or get a soft cone instead.

How to Prepare the Recovering Room for Your Dog

There is no way your dog won’t feel any pain or discomfort, so other than giving her dog pain medications, there is really nothing you can do but to make sure she is comfortable. The key to a relatively happy dog during spaying recovery is a comfortable room.

Keep her kennel open and add extra blankets and soft lining so she’s extra comfortable on the hard surface. Her favorite dog bed or one that is extra padded will also help with the pain. Some dogs may suffer from nausea after anesthesia, so lay down some puppy pads around the room. The pads will also come in handy if she can’t make it to the bathroom in time due to the pain.

She may even lose bladder control after spaying, so the puppy pads can also soak up the mess if you don’t catch it in time.

Black dog in bed
Image by jklugiewicz from Pixabay

How to Care for Your Dog After Spaying

Her movement will be limited after the procedure, so your vet will surely tell you to slow down the movement. Walk slower than usual, and if you have stairs in the house, make sure she doesn’t climb up or down unsupervised. Treat her like an injured dog and help her whenever a larger step is needed or a slight hop such as when you get in and out of the car.

While carrying your dog after neutering shouldn’t be an issue, a spayed dog has a larger impacted area after surgery, so there is more of a chance you will irritate her wound internally. For this reason, we don’t suggest carrying your dog right after the procedure, no matter how much you want to it is better to let her walk.

When you pick up your girl from the vet, your dog may still be groggy from the anesthesia wearing off. You can expect some drooling and lethargy, both of which are normal. Your dog may even vomit, which is still not a cause for concern. However, if the symptoms persist for more than a few hours, you should contact your vet just to make sure everything is okay.

Since nausea, lethargy, and pain are all common side effects of spaying, it’s also natural your dog won’t want to eat or drink. If she is vomiting, it’s okay to hold off on the food and liquids for a few hours until she has stopped. If the long term pain medication should be administered after meals, then you can try to soften the food up a bit or add bits of canned pumpkin or something to appeal to her appetite.

All the ill effects should subside after the first day, although your dog will still be in pain and relatively tired. If the more aggressive symptoms such as vomiting persist, don’t forget to contact your vet right away.

White furry dog held by a veterinarian
Image by jaminriverside from Pixabay

How to Care for the Wound

Caring for your dog is a given, but you need to care for the wound as well. As we mentioned, keep the wound away from water and your dog’s saliva. Make an effort to check the wound at least twice a day just to make sure the wound is healing right. The wound might show some light bleeding or have some clear secretion, which is normal. In this case, you should keep the wound clean by wiping it away very gently with a soft and damp cloth.

The vet won’t generally suggest applying any sort of medication or cream to the surgery site, but if your vet does, make sure to follow instructions well.

You will know if the wound is infected if your dog is in pain, the redness and swelling are worse than before, there is a large amount of pussing, it’s bleeding consistently, or if the area starts to smell. If you suspect the wound is infected, contact your vet straight away. Dogs heal quite quickly, and you should see improvements each day.

A light brown dog in a vet clinic
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I comfort my dog after being spayed?

Being there for her and creating a safe and comfortable space to recover is how you can comfort her after being spayed. Your vet should also prescribe pain meds to help manage the recovery process, but never administer human pain medications on your own.

How do I know if my dog is in pain after surgery?

Spaying or neutering are invasive surgeries and pain is inevitable. Your dog will most likely be in pain, but you can be sure if you perceive your dog to be more somber than usual, have less movement, experience a loss of appetite among many others.

How long should my dog wear the cone after spay?

Ideally, you should keep the cone on for the length of the recovery period. However, your pet may have a tough time adjusting. In general, your vet can give you a better idea of how long to keep the cone on with daily photo updates, but we would say 10 days is a safe estimate.

Conclusion

A spayed or neutered dog has a long recovery ahead of them, so the most you can do is to give pain medications when instructed and create a safe space for your dog to recuperate. Remember to take things slowly and monitor the wound by checking its progress every day. If you suspect an infection or your dog is suffering from serious side effects, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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