How to Care for a Dog After Neutering Surgery - The First 24 Hours

Limit your dog's activity after surgery to allow healing to begin.
dog image by Michal Tudek from

Neutering of a male dog is a simple operation that removes the testicles to prevent reproduction. The veterinarian removes the testes and epididymides, along with adjacent blood vessels and spermatic ducts. This surgery makes the dog sterile and helps reduce aggression and territoriality. Neutering makes male dogs better companions and reduces their inclination to wander from home. It also prevents development of testicular diseases. Although neutering is a relatively simple procedure, you must monitor your dog closely during the first 24 hours after the surgery to ensure that no complications occur.

Step 1

Limit activities until your dog fully recovers from the anesthesia and resumes normal alertness and coordination. Do not allow him to jump on furniture, climb stairs or run in the yard. The anesthesia can affect different dogs in different ways. Some dogs may shake off the anesthesia easily. Others may be sleepy or lethargic for a few hours after surgery.

Step 2

Keep the dog in a warm, quiet area of the home. A bedroom with a door that closes is a good choice. Place the dog bed or a folded blanket in a corner as a padded surface. You may notice trembling, shivering or salivating after the surgery. These behaviors will diminish as the anesthesia wears off.

Step 3

Offer small amounts of food during the first 24 hours. The anesthesia may make your dog nauseated, and vomiting is common. Normal eating habits will return after 24 hours. If your dog still refuses food after 24 hours, consult your veterinarian.

Step 4

Give any pain medication your veterinarian prescribed as needed. Do not give over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), which is toxic to animals.

Step 5

Monitor the site of the surgery to ensure no infection develops. If you see redness or increasing swelling, contact your veterinarian.

Step 6

Take your dog out on a leash periodically to relieve himself, and then return him to his rest area. He might not have a bowel movement for the first 24 hours after surgery, but occasionally a dog may have some diarrhea. If this continues beyond the 24 hours, call your veterinarian.


  • Prevent the dog from licking the wound which can open up stitches and lead to bleeding and infection. If necessary, ask your veterinarian for an Elizabethan collar, a large cone that attaches around the dog’s neck to prevent licking of the affected area.

  • Contact your veterinarian if your dog displays depression, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, lack of appetite, bleeding or pain.


  • Keep other animals or children away from the patient for the first 24 hours to prevent excessive activity. After the anesthesia wears off, continue to prevent the dog from running, jumping, playing and swimming for at least a week, and do not bathe him. Leash-walk the dog for exercise and when he needs to relieve himself. The incision needs the time to heal undisturbed.

  • Your veterinarian may use dissolving stitches or stitches that require removal. Follow the vet’s instructions regarding cleaning of the incision and follow-up visits.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog bed
  • Water
  • Bowls
  • Food
  • Leash


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