Spring has sprung! For many animals, this time of year is the season for giving birth. For those of us in the veterinary industry, we often focus on spaying and neutering in February and March, in the hopes of controlling that annual influx of kittens and puppies we often see in spring. Spaying or neutering your pet not only helps prevent unwanted litters: it also helps with many behavioral issues. Fido and Fluffy will be both calmer and better behaved after. While this is a very routine procedure, it is important to give your pet some extra TLC as they are recovering. Read on as a Dawsonville, GA vet answers some common questions about this and offers tips on helping your animal companion heal smoothly and quickly.

Can I Let My Pet Run Or Jump After Surgery?

It’s extremely important to limit your pet’s activity as they are recovering, especially during those first few days. The first 3-5 days after surgery are the most critical. We would advise keeping your pet confined to a small area for most of this time. A dog crate is a good option for both Fido and Fluffy. A puppy pen may also work.

Your pet will probably sleep a lot at first. They may start to become more energetic after a few days. However, it will take at least 10 to 14 days for them to fully recuperate.  Do not let your pet run, jump, or play vigorously during this time. Fido will of course need to go out for walks, but keep him leashed and keep the walks as short as possible. There will be plenty of time for playing and exploring later!

What Can I Do To Help The Spay/Neuter Healing Process Go Smoothly?

Your Dawsonville, GA vet will give you specific instructions, which may include directions on administering medication and what to feed your pet when you bring them home. These may vary a bit from pet to pet.  However, we can also offer a few tips on this!

Here are our suggestions:

Ask Questions Before You Go Home

It can be stressful bringing your beloved furry friend in for an operation, even one as standard as this. If you have any questions or anything you’re wondering about beforehand, you may want to jot them down or leave yourself a voice reminder. That way, you won’t forget when you’re at the clinic.

Follow Directions To The Letter

Your clinic will give you after-care instructions, often in the form of a sheet. This will cover the major do’s and don’ts of your pet’s recuperation. Read them over carefully, and ask for clarification on anything that may be unclear.

You may need to pay particular attention to instructions for food. For example, your vet may advise only giving your pet a very small meal after surgery, or even waiting until the next day. 

Use Gear To Protect The Stitches

It’s standard practice for Fluffy and Fido to be sent home wearing an Elizabethan collar. They are not going to be happy about this, and may very well give you a sour look. The collar, while it may look silly, is for their own protection. As the surgical incision starts to heal, it’s going to itch. Pets instinctively deal with itching by scratching or biting. That can be dangerous with stitches, as it could open them up.

You also have the option of getting your pet an inflatable collar. These are more comfortable, and won’t block your pet’s line of vision as much as the lampshade ones do. Ask your Dawsonville, GA vet for advice on this.

It’s worth noting that some pets are bound and determined to get out of these collars. Some are so adamant about it that they risk hurting themselves. If your pet absolutely will not tolerate the collar, contact the clinic and ask for advice.

Have A Good Bed

Is your pet ready for a new bed? This is a great time to get one! Fido or Fluffy will really appreciate having a comfy, cozy spot to relax in as they recuperate. You can also add soft blankets. Just don’t use anything that will shed fibers that could stick in your pet’s stitches.

Make this space as comfortable as possible for your pet. Your furry patient may appreciate some soft music playing in the background. Dog or cat TV may also provide stimulation. 

Keep Other Pets Away

If you have more than one pet, keep your furry patient in a separate area while they’re healing. Even if your pets are best buddies that love to cuddle, it’s better to focus on healing now, rather than risk a complication.

Limit Exercise

Fido and Fluffy are very active and playful. However, you shouldn’t encourage them to run or play vigorously until they’ve fully healed and your Dawsonville, GA vet gives the all-clear. If Fluffy has a cat tree or tower, or other things to climb, put these away until she’s cleared.

Monitor The Incision Area

Check your pet’s stitches or incision frequently. You’ll want to keep a close eye out for any signs of trouble. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything off.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Pus
  • Discoloration
  • Swelling
  • Foul Odor

You’ll also need to watch for other warning signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.

Administer Medication Carefully

You may be given pain meds. Follow these directions to the letter. Do not give your pet any other medications as they are healing unless your veterinarian has specifically cleared it. 

Offer Love And Comfort

Most pets sleep a lot those first few days. For the most part, just let your furry pal heal. However, some forehead kisses and gentle pets may soothe and comfort your adorable patient. Just don’t force attention: some pets may be cranky and may not want to be touched.

Hold Off On Baths/Grooming

Grooming is important for your pet’s health, but you don’t want to get the incision wet, or worse, get soap or dirty bathwater in it. Hold off on any baths or grooming procedures until your vet gives the green light. If your pet is high-maintenance or perhaps gets tear stains, you may be able to use pet wipes or a damp washcloth to spot clean as needed. Just stay away from the incision area. If your pet somehow gets something spilled on them, contact the clinic for advice. 

How Long Will It Take My Pet To Heal After Surgery?

In general, it will take about 10 days to two weeks. Boys tend to bounce back faster than girls. You may also notice that your pet starts feeling a bit better after a few days. However, they’re still healing. Letting them move around too much could still result in complications, such as torn stitches.

Can I Leave My Pet Alone After Spay/Neuter Surgery?

We understand that most people can’t take two weeks off to stay with their pets 24/7. However, it’s best not to leave pets alone for at least 48 hours. The first 12 hours are the most critical.

There is a silver lining here: this is a great chance for a mini-staycation. Catch up on your favorite show, or tackle that organization project you were putting off.

Should I Walk My Dog After Spay/Neuter Surgery?

Fido will need to go out; there’s really no way around that. Just keep things short and sweet. Don’t let him run around. It’s also best to keep him away from other dogs.

Can Cats Use a Litter Box After Being Spayed?

Fluffy will still need to relieve herself, so yes. Make sure the box is clean. Even if you don’t always scoop daily, it’s a good idea to do that during the recovery process.

If your litterbox has high sides, you may want to get one with lower walls. You can often find them fairly cheap at pet stores.


Do you need to schedule spay/neuter surgery for your pet? Do you have questions about the recovery process? Contact us, All Animals Veterinary Hospital in Dawsonville, GA, today!