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When It's Time to Spay or Neuter


When you and your veterinarian decide it’s time to spay or neuter your sweet puppy, it can seem like a simple task. But are you really ready for the approximately 7- to 10-day journey? It can be a painful, fairly traumatic experience for the pup and pet parents -- especially if it’s been many years since you’ve had any pets “fixed.”


It’s a very common and safe surgery that FADA families agree to as part of the puppy process, but it can still be an eye-opening event that can tug at the ol’ heartstrings.


Here are tips to make the best of the situation:


Schedule the surgery during a time when you’ll be at home for several days so you’ll be on hand to watch and love on your sweetie as he or she heals.


Be prepared to take her out on a leash to use the bathroom for at least 3 - 4 days. They aren’t supposed to run, jump, or do stairs during recovery. If you have multiple dogs, you may have to take them out in shifts if they get too rambunctious together.


When you pick them up, be sure not to put any pressure on the surgery site. Scoop them up by holding their chest with one hand and placing your arm behind their back legs to create a little seat.


Give your dog a bath before the surgery. One, she’ll be nice and clean, and two, you won’t be able to give her a bath until the incision is completely healed. If absolutely needed, you could always give a quick wipe down via a cowboy bath but avoid the surgery site. Don’t count on your vet supplying you with a well-fitted, comfortable Elizabethan collar (an e-collar or cone).

The vet will likely give you one of the classic e-collars of clear plastic, which may or may not fit properly. A well-fitted cone will attach around the neck, similar to the size of a regular collar, and the cone walls will only reach the end of the dog’s nose or just beyond. If the cone sticks out too far, it will be even more miserable for your pet because he can’t maneuver. And you’ll likely end up with chopped shins! Much better options include soft cones, inflatable donuts, and recovery suits. Which you choose depends on the personality of your dog.


A soft cone is the best all-around go-to. They are much more comfortable, they work, and they are easy to fit. See an example here. Several different brands and looks are available on Amazon, but the one pictured resembles what you’ll likely find at your local pet store. See which you like best for your pet.


Inflatable donuts can be great for dogs who don’t have long torsos. These are wonderful because the dogs can often eat, drink, and play with these, unlike many cones, but with concentrated purpose, they can chew or otherwise pop the donut if they aren’t under direct supervision. Check one out here.


One thing to note, though, is depending on the size of the cone or donut and the size of their crate; your pup might be unable to move around easily, knocking or scraping the cone against the crate. Just something to check as you’re preparing.


Another neat idea is a recovery suit. It’s like pajamas with an extra padded area for the surgery site. They are made for males and for females and have easy access when the pups need to potty. These can keep the area nice and clean, prevent licking, and be much more comfortable than having something hanging around the neck. See one here. It’s very important to take all the measurements, including the back length, in order to select the correct size.


When you pick your puppy up from the vet, he’ll be drowsy and a bit wobbly. The veterinarian will give you pain meds, like Carprofen. However, it’s possible they may need additional pain medication, like Gabapentin, to supplement the Carprofen. If your pup looks or acts like she’s in pain, don’t hesitate to call the vet ASAP and let them know. You will probably feel very bad and sorry for your beloved pet now! Just keep loving on them and do your best to keep them comfortable those first four days.


After the fourth day, your pup will start acting more like himself, but still, monitor his activity and attempt to keep him a little calm. We know this can be tough!


You got this! Spaying or neutering our dogs is important; life will return to normal before you know it! We are here for you along the way.


Are there any tips or tricks that aren’t mentioned here? Feel free to share!


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2 Comments


Our Vet recommended using Arnica Gel on the incision site to help with swelling and bruising Its to be applied 2-3 times a day. The gel can be found at most Pharmacy stores.

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Laney Wilks
Laney Wilks
Mar 16, 2023
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That is great to know. I love arnica I never would have thought... Thank you for sharing

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