Spaying is a surgical procedure in which a female dog's ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes are removed to prevent reproduction. Besides preventing unwanted litters, spaying provides collateral benefits: Spayed females do not go into heat, they have reduced risks of breast cancer, and they will not be at risk of getting cysts or tumors of the female reproductive system. The spay procedure is straightforward and routine, but your dog will need care following the surgery to ensure recovery and healing are uneventful.
Put your dog in a warm, quiet area when you bring her home after the spay surgery. Except for taking her out on leash so she can relieve herself, keep her indoors, away from cold and moisture, to avoid possible infections or complications. Excessive noise and disruptions could stress or excite your dog; keep animals, children and other distractions away from her quiet area while she recovers from the anesthesia. Some dogs may vomit following a surgical procedure, so be prepared with cleanup materials such as paper towels.
Provide a clean surface, such as a dog bed or blanket, for your dog to rest on during recovery. This will help keep dirt and debris away from the surgical site. There should be little if any excess blood or drainage from the incision area, but in case there is any, you can prevent it from getting on your dog's bed and blankets by covering them with clean towels.
Keep your dog as quiet as possible after her spay surgery. Excessive activity, such as running or jumping on furniture, can cause the surgical site to re-open. Your dog also still could be under the influence of the anesthetic for the first day or two, and may be less steady and coordinated than she believes she is.
Give your dog medications only as directed by your veterinarian. Your dog may need to take an antibiotic to guard against infection. Your vet may also prescribe pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications for the first few days after surgery to control discomfort and swelling.
Prevent your dog from licking or biting the incision site. Some dogs never pay any attention to the incision area, but some dogs may at some point become irritated by the sutures and have the urge to lick and chew at them. These activities can cause problems ranging from minor inflammation and seepage at a suture to opening of the incision, which would be a medical emergency. Ask your veterinarian for an Elizabethan collar when you take your dog home following the surgery so you will be prepared with a remedy if she wants to lick and chew the spay site. An Elizabethan collar is a cone-shaped collar that prevents your dog from accessing the site.
Feed your dog exactly as directed by your veterinarian following her surgery. Depending on the anesthesia and how quickly your dog recovers from it, your veterinarian may recommend that you offer her a small amount of food and water when you bring her home, and reduced amounts for some brief time span afterward.
Return to your veterinarian as directed for follow-up care. Your veterinarian may schedule a return visit or two to make sure your dog is healing on schedule and to remove sutures if required. Some sutures now are absorbable and do not require removal. If at any time during the recovery process you have concerns, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog shows signs of infection or complications, such as fever, excessive pain, lethargy and oozing or swelling at the spay site.