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Neutering Recovery Time

| Updated September 26, 2017

Neutering is an important procedure recommended for dogs that are not candidates for breeding. Neutering will prevent the male dog from impregnating a female, therefore decreasing the population of unwanted or unplanned litters of puppies. Neutering is performed by a veterinarian.

Healing Time

The first couple of days after the surgery your dog may not want to move around much, as he will be a little bit sore. Within five days your dog should be acting like himself, although the healing process is not complete. Dogs are usually completely healed internally and externally from neutering within three to four weeks.

Bruising and Swelling

Your dog may have some bruising and swelling after the surgery. A small amount of redness or swelling at the site is normal. About 50 percent of males will swell and bruise, and some will bruise quite badly. While the bruising looks terrible, it is nothing to worry about. You should see the swelling and bruising gradually disappear within a week.

Biting and Licking

Biting and licking at the incision is normal. While the incision really doesn’t bother your pet, it is normal for them to investigate the incision. About 20 percent of males will lick or chew at their incision constantly. If your dog continues to lick he could damage the sutures and prolong healing time. Apply a bit of hot sauce or bitter apple around, but not directly on, the sutured area to deter the licking and chewing behavior. If this does not work, you need to purchase an Elizabethan collar for him to wear for several days until healing is complete.


Do not allow your dog to jump, run, or participate in any rough play for the first five days. This will ensure that the sutures stay in place, promoting healing. Your dog should also not go swimming, take baths, or play in water or mud for seven days as the sutures will dissolve over time and this could cause them to dissolve too quickly, causing poor healing and introducing bacteria that may cause infection.

When to Call the Veterinarian

While lack of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting is normal for the first day after surgery, you need to call the vet if these symptoms last more than 24 hours. It is also pertinent to call the vet if your dog’s incision is bleeding open, or expelling any sort of discharge, as this could signal infection. Complications are often due to activity occurring too soon or excessive licking and chewing.