what happens when a dog gets spayed

What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed?

Spaying is a procedure performed on female dogs (and cats) that remove their reproductive organs to prevent them from having puppies or kittens. In this article, we will review what happens when a dog gets spayed, how to prepare your dog for the surgery, and how to care for your dog after surgery. If you have a male dog, you may be interested in these articles — What Happens When You Neuter a Dog? and What to Expect After Neutering a Dog.

Spaying is most commonly recommended around 6 months of age, however, can be done as early as 6 to 8 weeks as well as later in life. The best time to spay a dog is when they are young and healthy. The worst time to spay a dog is when they are old, sick and have secondary complications from not being spayed such as a uterine infection called pyometra or breast cancer.

Why Dog Spaying is Important

Having your dog spayed can have many health, financial, and behavioral benefits. The benefits to spaying your dog include:

What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed

The spaying procedure, medically known as an ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical procedure in which both ovaries and most of the uterus is removed from your dog’s body.
Below we will provide details of what happens before surgery, the day of surgery and some information about post-op spay care.

What to Expect the Day Before The Surgery

Before surgery, your vet will provide you with recommendations on what you should do the day before the spay surgery. For most dogs, they will recommend that you not feed your dog food after 6 pm or give water after midnight the night before surgery. This means no food and no treats. The times may vary slightly based on your veterinarian’s preference and also other factors such as concurrent medical problems or the size and breed of your dog. For example, some small and toy breed dogs may be offered food later in the evening to prevent a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

If your dog is taking medication, ask your vet if they want you to give the medication the morning of surgery. Make sure that you follow those instructions exactly. If your dog is a diabetic, please discuss the insulin dose you should give with the staff prior to the morning of surgery. Plan to bring any medication that your dog is taking with you in case they decide to give it to them or your dog needs to stay in the hospital.

Your vet will ask you to bring your dog to the hospital in the morning at a specific time. Many clinics will ask that you drop off your dog between 7 am and 9 am but this varies with the hospital’s surgery schedule.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

You will need to load up your dog and take her to the hospital. Make sure the collar fits properly and she cannot slip out of it. Bring them on a regular leash and not a retractable leash. Small dogs can be taken in a pet carrier.

Below is what happens at many veterinary hospitals but the exact protocol may vary depending on your veterinarian and the individual veterinary hospital.

What to Expect After Dog Spay Surgery

Some dogs will be sleepy immediately after surgery and some will be slightly nauseated. Begin feeding your dog slowly, small amounts at a time. Immediately after surgery, offer small amounts of water. If there is no vomiting, you can offer small amounts of food. Don’t offer a huge meal as some dogs may vomit. Give a little bit of food at a time and you can always offer later.
What is most critical is to keep your dog quiet and ensure she doesn’t lick at her incision. If there is any indication she will lick at her incision, it is critical that you use an E-Collar.
Check the incision twice daily looking for swelling, redness or discharge. Call your vet immediately if you notice any problems. Assuming everything goes well, see your vet for any recommended follow-up appointments and suture removal.

Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your dog and watch for any adverse reactions to the procedure. If you have any questions or become concerned about your dog’s health, call your vet immediately.

How to Deal with Dog Spay Costs

Clients often ask for suggestions to help with dog spay costs. Learn more about How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Cost? Some shelters have special pricing. Another option is to have pet insurance. Some pet insurance companies offer “basic care” or “wellness care” coverage that will cover routine care such as vaccinations, dental cleaning, parasite control, spaying and much more. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of surgery and any associated complications.

Should You Worry About Your Dog Having Surgery?

Most healthy dogs do great during routine spay surgery. The rate of complications is low. By knowing what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your pet, the surgical procedure, hospital stay, and home recovery can go smoothly.