Vet Blog

How to Care for a Puppy or Kitten After Spaying Surgery

January 21, 2019

Did you just have your puppy or kitten spayed (or neutered)? If so, to make sure they have the best recovery period possible, paying attention to a few care tips is important for a safe and accident-free healing process.

If you're wondering how to care for a puppy or kitten after spaying surgery, these tips will give you a great roadmap for success. With these care tips, you will avoid dangerous (and potentially fatal) side effects that arise from an improperly cared for incision site.

Fourteen Days, Twice Per Day

The first, and most important, requirement you are responsible for is checking the incision site regularly. For the first fourteen days after surgery, you need to check the site at least twice per day. This is to ensure that everything is healing as it should be and no complications are arising.

Pay attention to any differences that may arise from check to check. Bruising and other signs of surgery should become less apparent over time. If there is ever an increase in leakage or if you notice anything that seems out of place, contact your vet immediately.

Restrict Activity

In support of the healing process, you must avoid allowing your pet too much activity. This also includes using a cone collar (an Elizabethan or e-collar). It may seem like a long time to keep your pet restricted, but your persistence can mean the difference between a smooth healing process or a difficult one.

When a wound is healing it can become a bit itchy or irritating for your pet. They will try to scratch or bite at the area if not properly restrained with a cone collar. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they are not 'scooting' or causing any other undue abrasion to the surgery site.

No Bathing

During the two-week long critical phase of healing, avoid bathing your pet. This can be tough, especially if they have an accident or get themselves into a bit of a mess. Even so, do not immerse your pet in a bath. Bathing can introduce bacteria to the incision, cause the clotting to soften, and allow the suture to rupture more easily.

If you absolutely must bathe your pet, try using a waterless shampoo for the time being. Make sure to avoid the surgery site regardless of your choice of bathing alternatives. Basically, unless absolutely needed, you should avoid any form of bathing during the first fourteen days.

Stay the Course

It is very important to continue caring for your pet especially as you get to the end of the healing process. It is easy to think that it is safe to let down your guard nearing the eight-day mark. This is actually when it becomes the most important. Keeping the e-collar on, for instance, becomes increasingly important as the days pass. This is due to the increasing itchiness of the area that occurs at this mid-stage of healing.

Not to scare you, but a ruptured spay can spill your pets internal organs causing a potentially fatal complication. Keeping a close watch on the affected area will help to make sure your irritated pet doesn't make any mistakes. It is natural for them to try to self-address the area. It is your responsibility to make sure they do not have access to the area, stay relatively inactive, and stay away from water (especially baths).

A Quick Recap

So, now that your pet is home from surgery and your post-care plan is in place, your only responsibility is adhering to the plan. This means no running, jumping, excessive playing, walking off leash, or ever leaving them unattended in open areas (especially the backyard). It also means no bathing, keeping the cone collar on at all times, and checking the surgery site at least twice daily. You may want to consider keeping your pet in a crate or small room with no pet dangers for the duration of the healing process. This may seem like a hard thing to do, but your caution will pay off. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to how to care for a puppy or kitten after spaying surgery, keeping the above tips in mind can ensure a safe healing journey is at hand. If you are unsure about anything during this process, you are always free to reach out to our vets in Juno Beach and ask any questions At Juno Beach Animal Hospital, we are here to help with all your concerns and will do everything we can to support you and your pet during this time. Give us a call today at 561-626-8000 if you are considering a spaying or neutering solution - we can have a more detailed conversation of what the process looks like for both you and your pet.