Trying to get your dog to take it easy after surgery is never easy. Many of them, particularly younger dogs, want to get up and about after neutering, and don’t understand how much rest and recovery they actually need.
Our dog was just like this. He was neutered at 8 months old and was still a young puppy at that age with boundless energy, wanting to be walked and exercised as much as possible.
However, we knew he should get back to his previous levels of exercise a little slower than he wanted. I got professional advice from our vet on whether it was okay to take our dog for a walk after being neutered and how far we could work. Here’s what our vet told us; plus, some tips I’ve subsequently picked up since then.
How far can my dog walk after being neutered?
There is no right answer as no dog is the same and all require different exercise levels. However, once your dog has healed after 10 days, you should be able to walk as far as you normally would after neutering.
How soon can I take my dog for a walk after neutering?
Our vet recommended that make our dog rest for 2 days after neutering. Walking your dog in the 48 hours after neutering is not recommended, and in fact, until the 3-day check-up post neutering, no walks at all.
After this you should be able to do some short leash walks before the 10-day check-up.
To be honest, the biggest tip I can give you is to take advice from your vet as it can be different from dog to dog. With our puppy, he was trying to do his usual jumping up and down despite having stitches in… and in fact was running about after just one day, despite us trying to slow him down.
In the end, I did take him for a short walk 3 days after his neutering operation but didn’t let him off of his leash.
If you want a more in-depth timeline of when you can talk your walk for a dog after neutering, you can see some notes I expanded upon which we received from our vet below.
I will then explain some of the dangers that can develop if you don’t let your dog rest after spaying and neutering surgery, if it’s ok to leave them alone, followed by post-surgery care advice.
Dog walking after neutering and spaying: recommended timeline
Let your dog rest for 2 days
Spaying and neutering are both invasive procedures which need to time to heal. Vets generally recommend that your dog has complete rest for 24 to 48 hours after surgery with no walking or physical activity in this period.
Don’t let your dog walk, run, jump, or stretch themselves in the first two days recovering form neutering.
Some dogs can exercise a little after 48 hours
Once the first 48 hours is up, you can start to let them out in a garden or yard for a little bit of exercise. Make sure to keep a close eye on them so they don’t over-exert themselves.
Having said that, not all dogs with have the same rate of recovery, so they might need more rest than the 48 hours.
Have regular check-ups at 3 and 10 days
Many vets will also recommend that you have two follow up appointments on 3 and 10 days. This lets the vet check your dog’s recovery, to ensure the healing is coming along ok.
During this 10-day period, your dog should still only be having supervised light exercise in a controlled area, with no over-exertion.
You might be able to start doing some short walks after neutering now, such as:
- 3 days: possible short leash walks depending on your dog’s recovery.
- 10 days: could now be back to normal dependent on your vet’s advice.
With your first walks outside of the house after neutering, make sure it’s simple short distances. Start very slowly and see how your dog reacts to the light exercise.
Depending on your dog, you could start to extend how far you walk, but still keep them in control and on a leash to avoid disturbances to the stitching and scar… don’t push things too much!
After 10 days, most dogs are given the all clear to walk and exercise like normal, providing they have healed ok with no complications. If the scar is still healing, your dog might have to stay on antibiotics for a couple more weeks.
Handy Hint: Many puppies won’t pee when you take them for a walk. This can happen for various reasons which I’ve listed here, plus how you can get your puppy peeing when out of the house.
After care tips
To help get your dog’s exercise levels back to where they were before neutering or spaying, you can do a few things at home. Here’s what we did to get our dog Claude walking soon after neutering.
1. Keep them confined to speed up healing
The healing process will be a lot quicker if your dog’s activity is limited. One way you can do that is to let them recovery and rest in a smaller room where they cannot be as active and mobile.
Some owners will keep their dogs crated for the first 2 days of recovery, only letting them out for toilet breaks. Providing the crate is large enough, comfortable, and gives them enough room to turn around, it could help them heal quicker.
2. Burn off energy without over-exertion
Once you start to take your dog on short walks after neutering, you will want them to burn off energy, but not be over the top and pull the stitching or scar.
One way you can do this is to incorporate some mental stimulation into the short leash walks. I a good way of doing this was to bring treats along and throw a few in front of us as we walked.
That kept our dog’s focus on the walk, and didn’t distract him elsewhere, whilst keeping him active at just the right level.
3. Treating the scar and stitches
Your vet will handle the essentials here, but you should look out for any signs of an infection. This will typically be crustiness or oozing.
If you see this, give it a wipe with a clean towel, damp with warm water. Then call your vet for a quicker check-up.
4. Leaving your dog alone
Whilst you can leave your dog alone after neutering, it should only be for short periods of time. I’ve previously written a guide about leaving a dog alone with a cone on which gives some more in-depth advice, but bottom line is:
- Keep your dog crated if you will be leaving him alone for more than 30 minutes.
- If you don’t have a crate, leave them in small room with no hazards.
- Keep them away from other pets and dogs.
The advice in this guide is a mix of what my vet told me and the personal experiences we had when deciding how soon we could walk our dog after neutering.
The most important thing I can say is that you need to speak to your own vet before making a decision… all dogs are different and will have different recovery times.
It didn’t take too long for our dog Claude to start getting back to his normal self and was soon walking as far after neutering as he used to.