Care After Spaying
We congratulate you on your decision to get your pet spayed. Whether you’re in preparation or have lingering questions after spaying, here are some guidelines.
1. Take it easy. Your pet has no clue what just happened, who those people are, or why she feels funny. Let your pet guide you on how she feels while keeping her confined for the rest of the day. If you have a cat and used a pet carrier, set the carrier down and let her come out on her own time. If you are looking at how to comfort your dog after spaying, just having you nearby may be all she wants.
2. Give water and supervise. Some pet parents schedule the surgery for a day they can stay home. Being with your pet is an excellent option if you can arrange it. Your pet will most likely be a little woozy for the rest of the day.
3. Give half the usual amount of food. Don’t be surprised if your cat or dog doesn’t eat at all the first night. She may still be coming off the side effects of anesthesia. If she does want to eat, then a smaller amount is a safe option.
4. Restrict your pet’s activity. This one is tough because chances are you have a young, energetic puppy or kitten. However, medical professionals stress the importance of not causing any damage to the surgical area and stitches. While your pet can use the litter box or go outside to relieve themselves, discourage running, jumping, and rough play using your best pet parent voice and distraction.
5. Take caution with the stitch area. Most spaying locations use glue on the site that will flake off on its own time. This glue was designed to “let go” at an appropriate time, so don’t try to rush it or remove it too early. The same for dissolving stitches. Also, be sure to keep this area dry, no bathing or swimming for at least seven days.
6. Do not allow your pet to lick the area. Here is where the infamous cone comes in. It’s natural for pets to want to lick a sore or wound. For dogs and cats, it’s the only thing they can do in the situation, especially cats that are used to grooming themselves. And while the debate goes on regarding the benefits of pet saliva, excessive licking is going to lead to infection and wounds that won’t heal. So restricting access to the area is the way to go. The plastic cone is one option, but some pet parents are springing for others, including surgical recovery suits, inflatable collars, or soft cones.
7. Check in the incision area daily. A general rule is that some amount of seepage is normal for a couple of days and redness and swelling. However, any odd smells, heavy leakage of blood flow should be reported and addressed right away. As always, if you are unsure, call your vet and let them tell you how to proceed.
How Long to Keep a Cat Confined After Spay
You’ll need to keep your cat away from males for about 30 days. This includes both newly neutered and unneutered males. Neutered males can still get spayed females pregnant for about two weeks. A pregnant, spayed female can be an extremely dangerous and deadly situation.
If you usually let your cat outside for free-roaming, you’re going to need to hold off for a while. Besides the host of bacteria your cat can be exposed to, there is also the risk of the bandage, surgical suit, or cone getting caught and your cat not being able to free themselves.
If you can, get dust-free cat litter. If your cat kicks up too much dust during litter box activity, bacteria could be introduced to the incision site.
Restricting Activity After Spaying
All pet parents agree that keeping your dog or cat’s activity level low for 7-14 days is the hardest. But this is something you’ll only have to do once, and you want to be sure your pet recovers from surgery as best as possible. Having to go under anesthesia again can have its risks, so it’s best to do everything possible to avoid additional surgery.
How to Comfort Your Dog After Spaying
If your dog gets agitated or excited they are more likely to re-open their stitches. Keep your dog comfortable by setting up a quiet, stress-free environment for their days after the surgery. You may want to plan to stay with your dog or have a pet sitter watch them while they heal. Borrow from these pet parents’ ideas that kept their dogs from disturbing their stitches:
1. “We borrowed a bike stroller from my neighbor and put our dog in using her car seat belt. She still got to see and smell things which gave her stimulation without activity.”
2. “I used children’s underpants with a big hole cut out for the tail and sanitary area because she figured out how to get around the cone to the incision.”
3. “I worked from home for a week after my dog was spayed.”
4. “My dog jumped after being spayed. The vet told us to watch the area and call back if we noticed any change.”
Getting your pet spayed is an essential part of being a responsible pet parent. SPOT’s Platinum Preventive Care Coverage* reimburses up to $150 for spay/neuter procedures. We encourage spaying and neutering your pets for many reasons, you can read about the benefits of spaying and neutering here.
*Preventive Care Coverage available as an add-on for an extra cost.