5 Dog Neuter Recovery Tips
Oh oh, it’s that time. Your male dog is scheduled for neutering, and his appointment is coming up fast. Prior to your dog’s surgery, ask your veterinarian how to best prepare, as there are strict restrictions on food and water intake before the big day. After the surgery, she’ll give you very rigid post-operation instructions too. While you should certainly follow her instructions, I have additional recovery tips to help care for your dog after his neutering surgery!
1. Confine Your Dog
After any type of surgery, including neuters, it’s vital to restrict your dog’s movement until his surgery site heals completely. By far, this is the toughest part for most pet owners, especially those with younger dogs.
It’s best to keep your dog crated, as recommended by your veterinarian, for at least 10 days. While it seems a bit cruel, it’s best for your dog’s recovery. Stay strong and don’t give in to those sad eyes because it’s only for 10 short days. Check out crate training tips to make your dog’s crate a fun place.
If your dog strongly dislikes crate time, try confining him in a bathroom with secure baby gates. Make sure the area is comfortable with plush bedding and access to clean water. Hide a few treats inside the confined area, and always reward your dog for voluntarily walking into his crate or the area.
2. Protect the Incision Site
Your dog will pick at his incision site. It’ll hurt and itch, so prepare for it. Ask your veterinarian for an Elizabethan collar (cone) and teach your dog that putting it on and wearing a cone is fun—make it a party hat!
Keep a cone on your dog when you’re unable to watch him, such as when you’re away at work, cooking dinner, running errands or folding clothes in the laundry room. Some dogs hate wearing a cone, so try this DIY towel cone idea instead. When in doubt, put a cone on your dog. It only takes seconds for him to reopen his incision site.
3. Leash Your Dog
Swallow your guilt, and remind yourself that leashed walks are best for a dog recovering from a neuter. Leash your dog as he walks out of his crate to bring him outdoors to potty. While it’s extremely tempting to remove his leash, it only takes one incident to reopen his incision site. Walking your dog on a leash restricts his movement and prevents him from running, trotting up stairs or jumping on beds.
4. Provide Mental Enrichment
With all that boring crate time, mental enrichment is critical. Feed all meals inside of a food puzzle or stuff them inside a Kong. To make a food stuffed Kong last longer, layer kibble and canned food, then freeze overnight. Offer bully sticks, hide treats under your dog’s bedding or play some quiet games to keep your dog’s brain happily satisfied.
On average, for a dog under 2 years of age, he should enjoy at least 4-6 Kongs per day during neuter recovery. Either split meals into six separate meals for stuffing, or stuff fruits and veggies inside a Kong if your dog is watching his waistline.
5. Stay Strong, It’s Only 10 Days!
When you want to yank your hair out while your dog is howling inside of his crate, remind yourself that it’s only 10 days. It takes 10 days for a dog to fully recover from a neuter, so your daily mantra will be “it’s only for 10 days.” As each day passes, remind yourself that “it’s only 9 days” and so forth. You can do it. Stay strong and keep your baby boy quiet. 🙂