Spaying is a procedure that involves invasive surgery. Because of this, your female dog will need stitches and recovery time. The incision that the vet makes will leave a small scar, but before it gets to that point, the wound will need time to heal properly.
This means you will need to remain vigilant and not leave your female dog alone for some time to avoid her biting at the stitches or injuring herself. But just how long does it take for a female dog to recover from being spayed and when can you leave them alone?
Can you leave a dog alone after being spayed? You can leave a puppy alone after being spayed but it’s not recommended that you do for the first few days. Vets recommend that you stay by your dog’s side for the first 24 hours as a minimum. You can then increase the time you leave them alone, as described below.
If you are nervous about leaving your dog alone after being spayed and don’t know what the best way to help them recover is, don’t panic! This guide will explain some of the most important things to remember when caring for a dog who has recently been spayed.
Can I leave my dog alone after being spayed?
Immediately after being spayed, many dogs will stay overnight at the vet. This means your female dog will not be left alone after being spayed for the most critical post procedure hours.
It is quite a normal procedure for dogs to stay overnight. It is the time where your dog needs the most round-the-clock care and attention.
Luckily, you can be assured that for the first night, your dog will be in the safe hands of vets and veterinary nurses. Once the vet is happy that your dog can recover at home and no longer needs 24/7 medical observation, they will discharge them back into your care.
As I’ve already explained, it is important to not leave your dog alone after being spayed during the first 24 hours after coming home. Staying home with them for the first 24 hours and observing them is critical, because this will help you observe how your dog is doing.
During this time, it is important that you make sure that your dog is eating, alert and able to go to the toilet.
Whilst it is normal for your dog to be lethargic, in pain and looking sad for the first 24 to 48 hours after spaying surgery, they should be able to do all of the above fine and won’t be in extreme pain that stops them functioning.
If something doesn’t seem right once you take them home, you should call your vet immediately for guidance.
They will also have a cone on, and many dogs will find this weird and could try to remove it.
If you have no choice to leave your dog during their first 24 hours of being home, you should arrange for an experienced and trusted dog-sitter to watch them.
Handy Hint: I’ve previously written a guide about how long cones should stay on dogs and what this means for them being left to their own devices.
How long can I leave my dog alone after being spayed?
After the first 24-48 hours, it should be okay to start leaving your dog at home. However, for the first 3-5 days of your dog’s recovery, you should only leave your dog alone for up to four hours. This timeframe is a good balance because whilst it gives your dog space to rest and gives you time to run errands, it means that you are still around frequently enough to notice any changes in your dog’s state.
Once the first five days of your dog being home have passed, you can leave them alone for longer than four hours. However, you should always ensure that their cone is on and secure before you go out so that they aren’t able to lick or bite their wound once left unsupervised.
How long does it take for a female dog to recover from being spayed?
It takes most female dogs around 14 days to recover from being spayed. After 2 weeks, the incisions should have healed. Most vets use dissolvable stitches now, we won’t need to be removed.
During this time you should make sure that your dog wears a cone for at least 10 to 14 days following their surgery. This is important to ensure that they don’t accidentally infect or reopen their wound by licking or biting it.
In most cases, complications following a spaying procedure occur because the dog is allowed to lick or bite at their spay wound.
When your dog first arrives home, the incision will be swollen, bruised and covered by an adhesive bandage. Once 24 hours have passed, you will be able to remove their bandage. Once 48 hours have passed, the swelling and bruising will subside.
During the first five days post-operation, it is absolutely paramount that your female dog’s cone is on at all times and that they aren’t able to bite or lick their wound. If you do think they can get to their wound, you should not leave your dog alone after spaying.
This is because this is the timeframe wherein the wound is most vulnerable to infection.
Once the first five days have passed, you can remove your dog’s cone for shorter amounts of time. However, this should only be done under your full supervision, and you should still make sure that they don’t try to lick or bite at the wound.
By the time 10 days have passed, the incision should have closed up, and your dog should be able to have their cone removed. However, a lot of owners opt to keep the cone on for the full 14 days to make sure the incision is fully healed and isn’t vulnerable to reopening or a potential infection.
During this recovery period, you should also make sure your dog doesn’t jump, run, or play too rambunctiously. If they’re too active, the wound might reopen.
Why you should spay your female dog
Unless you are planning on breeding your dog as part of a registered breeding programme, the most responsible thing you should do as the owner of a female dog is to get them spayed. Spaying your dog is beneficial for a number of reasons.
As well as reducing their chances of getting illnesses such as uterine infections and mammary cancer, being spayed will prevent your dog from going into heat.
This will stop them from engaging in behavioural issues like ‘spraying’ their urine and will also stop male dogs from trying to mate them, as they will no longer be able to produce the pheromones that indicate to male dogs that they are in heat and ready for mating.
Handy Hint: If you are breeding your dog, here are some ways you can help to encourage heat to come on faster.
As for the procedure itself, spaying involves the removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs, such as their ovaries and uterus. This procedure, as well as sterilizing your dog, will prevent them from producing the hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) that usually kick-start their heat cycle.
The early days of a dog’s recovery after being spayed are the most crucial ones, so you should make sure you are around as much as possible to make sure that everything is on track, and that they’re as comfortable as possible.
If you notice any unusual changes or complications, it is important to contact your vet immediately.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog’s incision heals correctly and doesn’t come infected. You can do this by remaining vigilant to any changes in the wound and by ensuring that your dog is wearing a cone in order to stop them biting and licking it.
The bottom line is, don’t leave your dog alone after spaying if you think their wound is at risk of being compromised when healing.
You might also like…
Here are some other guides related to this one which you might enjoy reading.
- Did you know that female dogs can still bleed after spaying?
- Your dog might still attract males even after being spayed
Image in header licensed via storyblocks.com