Thank you for spaying/neutering your pet!  Although it is a common procedure for many animals, please remember that your pet has gone through surgery and will need proper care to recover, including a clean, warm and dry place indoors. A little TLC during the first days at home will help keep your pet comfortable and ensure for a speedy and healthy recovery.

Home care for your dog of cat after spay and neuter surgery

Note: If there is a medical concern regarding your pet’s recovery please contact us at (778) 428-6401 during regular business hours.  After regular business hours please contact Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital Toll-Free: 1 (877) 773-7079 or a Veterinary Hospital of your choice.

When you bring your pet home from surgery:

Recuperation Environment

  • It is very important to keep your pet warm and indoors the first night following surgery.
  • The first night at home, keep your pet in a small, quiet, confined area where she/he can be easily monitored.
  • Keep your pet away from other animals to minimize strenuous activity
  • No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity for 7 – 10 days (14 days for dogs who have been spayed) as this can cause sutures to reopen as well as expose the wound to debris, dirt and germs.  This is a great time to practice quieter training techniques with your pet to keep them mentally busy.  

Food and Water

  • Your pet can be offered a small meal the evening of his/her surgery (approximately half of their normal meal).
  • Your pet may not have much of an appetite post-surgery – do not worry if she/he doesn’t eat the first night at home.
  • You can provide a small amount of water. If vomiting occurs withhold the water until the day after surgery. If it persists please call us.
  • On the day after surgery you may resume your pet’s normal feeding schedule.
  • After 24 hours post-surgery your pet should be eating, urinating and having normal bowel movements.


  • Your pet may be drowsy for 24 hours from the anaesthesia. Some pets may shiver, have an upset stomach and may vomit.
  • Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours post op, with continued diarrhea and or vomiting are not normal and you should call the hospital immediately.

Will my pet be in pain?

Pets experience pain after major surgery just as people do. Your pet has been given long acting pain relief in the hospital.  Depending on your pet’s recovery we may prescribe further pain medication to be administered by you at home.  Signs of pain to watch for when your pet is recovering at home may include:

  • Reluctance to move
  • Crying
  • Decreased appetite
  • Trouble with bowel movements
  • General depression

If your pet displays any of the above symptoms, please give us a call.

My pet has developed a cough. Is this a concern?

An endotracheal tube was placed in your pet’s windpipe (trachea) during the anesthetic. This may cause a mild irritation and a slight cough. The cough should subside over the next few days. However, if it persists, please give us a call.

 How can I prevent my pet from licking or chewing the wound?

The most effective way to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at his/her incision is for your pet to wear an E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar) also known as a FunCol or Buster collar at ALL TIMES during their post-operative recovery period.  Though your pet may not appreciate wearing the “Cone of Shame” please remember it is to prevent self-injury to the surgical site.  Properly fitted cones, allow for your pet to eat, and drink without any issue. We have found it is often harder on the pet owner than it is on pet.  We understand, being pet owners ourselves, but please remember – an intact incision is always a desirable outcome post-surgery – your pet wearing the E-Collar ensures it.

Should the E-Collar need to be removed – please be advised to provide strict supervision and a distraction correction should he/she begin licking at the incision. When unable to supervise, please be kind and put the collar back on until the incision is completely healed.

We do offer medical pet shirts as an alternative to the cone.  These are similar to a baby onesie in how they fasten, and lots of pets prefer these, as they are less restrictive and more comfortable.  The cost of the cone is included in your surgery price, but the pet shirts are an additional cost.  If you aren’t familiar with them, have a look at our online store to see pictures and an estimate of pricing.

Incision Monitoring

Incisions should be monitored daily to ensure they remain clean, dry and intact. They should also be monitored for drainage, redness and swelling.

  • Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside, and may take 2-4 months to fully dissolve. Do not apply any topical medication to the incision site but keep it dry and clean. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, you will need to return with your pet in 10-14 days to have those removed.
  • Do not bathe your pet for 14 days because the incision must remain dry to avoid infection.
  • If an incision opens (gaping wound) or if appears red, painful, or has a discharge please call the hospital.
  • Male dogs may experience a mild fluid buildup and swelling in the surgical area for a few days.
  • Female animals may have some swelling in the surgical area for a few days.
  • Female animals may have some swelling under the incision due to internal absorbable sutures.
  • It’s ok to feel a hard bump at the incision site. It’s not okay if it gets much bigger or starts to leak pus or blood.
  • Often the incision will appear “bumpy” 4 – 6 weeks after surgery as the body dissolves suture material. As long as your pet’s behavior is normal and he/she is not licking the incision site, this is normal.
  • If the incision is hot or painful, or has a discharge please call us.

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