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How to care for your dog after spaying and castration

Choosing to neuter your dog can be a difficult decision. Not only can it be a costly procedure – most insurers don’t cover neutering – but there are also health and future planning considerations to factor in.

Read on to find out more.

Before making the decision you’ll need to consider whether or not you might want to breed from your pet in the future, then afterwards the kind of aftercare that’s involved,

If you do decide to neuter your pooch, it’s important to fully understand the procedure, recovery and aftercare to ensure your pet bounces back to health without any complications. 

Read on for all you need to know about neutering and spaying, as well as tips for a speedy recovery.  

Dog spaying: What you need to know

What is spaying?

Neutering a female dog to prevent pregnancy is known as spaying. The surgical procedure usually involves removing the female’s reproductive organs, including the ovaries and uterus, through an incision in the abdomen. 

Benefits of spaying a female dog

There are many benefits to spaying a female dog if you do decide you don’t want to breed your pet. These are both for their health and to make caring for them easier for you as their owner, including: 

  • A spayed female dog will no longer be able to have puppies. 
  • She won’t go into heat – also known as going into season – which can be stressful for the animal and inconvenient for pet owners. 
  • Females in heat can make a mess around the house and attract unwanted attention from male dogs.
  • Spaying female dogs reduces the risk of uterine infections and some types of cancer, including uterine, ovarian and breast cancer. 
  • Spaying can also reduce unwanted behaviour as they won’t experience as many hormonal changes. 

When to spay a dog

It’s recommended to wait until after your dog’s first season before getting her spayed. This allows her to develop into a healthy and strong dog with the right hormones. For most bitches this means waiting until they’re six to nine months old, but it may be older for larger dog breeds. 

If you have an adult dog, you should wait until at least three months from their last season before getting her spayed. Your vet will be able to advise you when the time is right. 

Dog spaying cost

Spaying costs can vary from £170 to over £1,000 depending on the type of treatment you choose, the location and specialism of the vet, and the age and health of the dog. Spaying requires general anaesthetic and is an invasive operation, meaning your pet needs to be monitored for some time afterwards. You may be given painkillers to administer, and a check-up several weeks later will also be required. 

Dog spaying aftercare

Dog spay recovery can take six to eight weeks if there are no complications. It’s important to monitor your pet carefully during this time and follow your vet’s advice. Here are some tips for dog spay aftercare:

Returning from the vet after spaying

  • Your dog may be confused and disorientated following the anaesthetic and may be experiencing some pain. Make sure they have plenty of cosy spaces to sleep and feel safe. 
  • Don’t let your dog jump up, go upstairs or climb on furniture as this could tear the stitches and cause the wound to reopen. If you need to pick them up, avoid touching the incision area.
  • Ensure you give your pet the correct dosage of any medication prescribed by your vet. 
  • Don’t let your pet outside except for toilet breaks. Keep them on the lead during this time to prevent them from running around. 
  • Don’t leave your pet alone for the first 24-hours following spay surgery. You should stay home to make sure there are no complications and give your pet lots of cuddles while they recover. 

The first few weeks after spaying

  • Your vet may recommend your dog wears an Elizabethan collar to prevent her from licking her wounds. There are also more comfortable alternatives which your dog may prefer, such as inflatable collars or post-operation vests.  
  • Keep exercise to a minimum to allow the incision to heal. If your vet gives the go-ahead during your check up, you can start with short walks on the lead in low stimulation areas.
  • Try enrichment activities such as training, toys and games to tire your pooch out at home. Sniffing, chewing and learning can be just as mentally exhausting as running around the park.
  • Regularly check your pet’s scar to ensure it’s healing well. Contact your vet immediately if you see redness, swelling or discharge from the wound, as this may be a sign of infection.  

Two weeks – two months following spaying

  • Gradually increase your walks as your dog begins to heal. However, try to avoid boisterous play with other dogs, swimming, chasing balls and other strenuous activities which could cause the wound to reopen or allow germs to enter. 
  • You might want to consider your dog’s diet at this point, as neutered female dogs can be more prone to weight gain. Always read the labels on food to ensure you’re giving your dog the correct portion size for their breed, age and weight. Ask your vet for their recommendations if you’re unsure.

Dog castration: What you need to know

What is dog castration?

Castration is a surgical procedure to remove a male dog’s sexual organs. Both testicles are removed to prevent the dog from being able to reproduce. 

Benefits of castrating a male dog

There are many benefits to having a male dog neutered, including:

  • A castrated male dog will not be able to get a female dog pregnant and will be less inclined to seek out females in heat. 
  • Dog castration can also prevent testicular cancer and reduce the chance of prostate problems.
  • It can also reduce unwanted behaviour such as mounting, aggression and dominance. 

When to castrate a dog

Like female dogs, it’s advised to wait until your male dog has developed into adolescence before getting him castrated. For most dogs this will be from around six months old, but larger breeds may need to wait longer. Your vet will be able to advise you the best time. 

Dog castration cost

Castrating a male dog is a more straightforward procedure than spaying, meaning it generally costs less. Dog castration in the UK tends to cost £100-£300 depending on the vet and the health of the dog. 

Dog castration aftercare

Male dog castration recovery is quicker than female spaying. Your dog will need to rest for the first few days following treatment and may be confused and disorientated when you first bring him home. The healing process for male dogs takes approximately two weeks. 

Keep to short walks and mental exercises at home during this time and prevent them from licking their wound with an Elizabethan collar or a post-operation vest. Gradually build back up to their usual activity following the two-week recovery period, so they don’t injure themselves or reopen the wound by overexerting. 

To find out more about neutering and how it can impact insurance check out our guide.