6 Must-Have Items for Your Dog’s Spay or Neuter Recovery

Jennifer Coates, DVM
By Jennifer Coates, DVM. Reviewed by Veronica Higgs, DVM on Mar. 27, 2023
small red dog lying on a pillow wearing a cone

It can be a little nerve-racking to bring your pet home after surgery—even after standard procedure such as spaying or neutering a dog. Although we know these particular surgeries are for the best, it’s still tough to see your dog in recovery.

If you’ve never had a pet spayed or neutered before, you might be wondering what to expect when it comes to recovery for dogs. Some dogs bounce back more quickly than others, but there are ways to ease the recovery process.

You can set your pet up for success by being as prepared as possible before you bring them home. A good way to do this: Assemble a home kit for neuter and spay recovery for dogs with everything your pet needs.

What To Expect for Dogs Recovering From Neutering or Spaying

Before you leave the veterinary clinic, ask any questions you have regarding post-op care. Some pet parents prefer to bring a list of questions with them in case they forget something in the moment. If any questions do slip your mind, remember that you can always call your vet for advice.

Your dog will likely be groggy or, at the very least, more subdued than usual. It’s not uncommon for a dog to take it easy for the first 24 hours following a surgery. But if your pup seems eager to run around, you’ll need to slow them down—you don't want any stitches to pop!

Care Tips for Neuter or Spay Recovery

Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s post-op instructions carefully. To prevent the incision from opening up, do not allow any jumping, running, or rambunctious play for 10 days or so after surgery. Dogs recovering from neutering or spaying may need to be separated from other pets in the home.

It’s important to let your dog heal completely. Many pets require a dog recovery collar or cone around their head to prevent them from licking the incision. There are also recovery suits you can try if your pup hates having a cone around their neck.

Call your vet if you notice any of these warning signs after spaying or neutering a dog:

6 Must-Have Items for Your Neuter or Spay Recovery Kit

Now for the fun part—assembling your home kit for your dog’s neuter or spay recovery. The key is to gather items that will both promote healing and provide comfort to your pet. While each dog is unique, there are some universally handy products for post-op care.

1. A Dog Bed

One way to bribe your pet into slowing down for a while is to offer them a comfortable bed. Two go-to dog beds are the Petmate suede and plush antimicrobial orthopedic deluxe pet bed and the Frisco orthopedic bolster sofa dog bed. Both of these dog beds have a removable cover you can unzip and toss in the washing machine for easy cleaning.

2. Dog Blankets

Dog blankets are another way to keep your pet calm and cozy. Try draping the PetFusion premium reversible dog and cat blanket across your dog’s favorite spot on the couch, or make their crate more comfortable with a machine-washable option like the Frisco Sherpa dog blanket.

3. Pain Medication

As part of your spay and neuter recovery plan, your vet probably sent your dog home with some pet pain medications. Always follow your vet’s instructions when administering any medication to your dog. Along with pain management, dog antibiotics may also be prescribed if the vet decides it’s required.

4. Dog Toys

The best dog toys for a spay or neuter recovery are ones that require minimal movement but will still keep your pup engaged. Interactive dog toys are the best option for a resting pet

5. Calming Aids

Dogs prone to anxiety might benefit from calming aids during their spay or neuter recovery. Anxiety management products for dogs can include everything from chews to aromatherapy, and always consult your veterinarian before giving any products to your pup.

You can also try fitting your dog with a ThunderShirt, which applies gentle, consistent pressure to soothe anxiety and fear in dogs. An Adaptil collar or diffuser is a pheromone used to help keep dogs calm and can be another good tool. For extremely rambunctious dogs, your veterinarian may also prescribe a calming medication such as trazodone to help them heal and rest. 

6. Dog Cones and E-Collars

Because dogs have a natural urge to lick their wounds, the Elizabethan collar, or “cone” collar is a valuable asset in post-op care. Instead of bringing home the traditional cones for dogs you usually get from the vet’s office, consider a few comfortable (and cute) alternatives to dog cones

As stressful as it can be taking care of your beloved pet after surgery, remember that you’re doing them a great service. By putting together a home kit, you’ll have everything on hand to keep them comfortable and speed up their spay and dog neuter recovery.

Image via iStock.com/xefstock

Jennifer Coates, DVM


Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary...

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