How the Dog Neutering Process Works

Neutering a male dog involves surgically removing the testicles with a relatively simple operation. Spaying a female is more involved than castrating a male, because it involves opening the abdomen and removing the uterus and ovaries.

Both processes mean that your dog is anaesthetized, so your veterinarian will ask you not to give your dog food or water after 8:00 the night before the surgery to decrease the likelihood of your dog vomiting during surgery.

The next morning, after anaesthetizing your dog, the process goes like this:

  • Males: The veterinarian makes a tiny incision in the skin just in front of the testicles. The testicles are then slid up under the skin and removed through this little slit. The skin is sutured with three to five stitches. Your dog is then allowed to wake from the anesthesia and to rest overnight — either at the veterinarian’s office or at your home — after the surgery.

  • Females: The veterinarian makes an incision in the center of the dog’s abdomen. He finds the uterus and ovaries and cuts them out, first making sure that all the blood vessels are clamped off so they don’t bleed.

    In a young dog, the blood vessels are tiny and are easy to clamp off. After a female has been through a heat cycle, however, the vessels are larger and require special attention so they don’t bleed, which is why spaying a dog after her first heat is usually more expensive.

    If the dog is pregnant, the vessels are very large and are full of blood to feed the growing puppies; therefore, some veterinarians refuse to spay a pregnant dog (sometimes requested to prevent the birth of puppies) because of the danger of postoperative bleeding.

    After removing the uterus and ovaries, the veterinarian sutures the abdominal incision and the dog wakes up. She then may stay overnight at the clinic to make sure she rests and doesn’t stress the incision in the early stages of healing.

For the first couple of days after surgery, your dog should rest and should go outside only to go to the bathroom. For the next week, mild exercise such as on-leash walking is all right. About ten days after surgery, the veterinarian will check to make sure the incision is healing properly and remove the sutures (or check on self-dissolving sutures).

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