Even though a neuter is a very common procedure, that doesn't mean it's not invasive. Your dog needs time to heal, and unfortunately, too much movement can cause uncomfortable complications. That means no jumping, running, playing, or long walks while they recover. Yes, even walks. Many owners ask how soon they can walk their dog after neutering, and you'll want to wait at least seven to 10 days after the surgery. Keep their activity to a minimum while they recover and instead work on tiring them out through mental stimulation.
How Soon Can I Walk My Dog After Neutering?
After any procedure, you'll want to follow recommendations for "restricted activity," and a neuter is no different. The challenging thing about caring for these dogs is that they're usually puppies. And we all know young dogs simply can't sit still.
Even though your little one might act like they're ready to return to their normal activity as soon as the day after surgery, it's important to resist those puppy-dog eyes. Avoid walks, runs, hikes, play sessions, or even letting them jump on or off the couch for at least seven to 10 days after their neuter. After the 10-day mark, you can begin to gradually settle back into your regular walking routine. Start with shorter walks, then work up to more strenuous activity after a few weeks.
Walking Dogs After a Cryptorchid Neuter
If your pup had one or both testicles retained, meaning they didn't descend and had to be removed from within their abdominal cavity, you'll need to wait a while longer. A cryptorchid neuter involves at least one more incision than a regular neuter. It also usually takes more searching, tugging, and suturing. So, if your dog had a cryptorchid neuter, it's best to avoid walks until they get their stitches out around 14 days post-op.
A lot can go wrong if your pup doesn't rest during their recovery period. Some of the complications they can experience from too much movement include:
- Seroma: A seroma is an accumulation of fluid under the skin at the surgical site and is usually a result of motion. Your vet might want to sterilely drain some of the fluid to make your pet more comfortable, prescribe medication, or recommend warm or cold compresses.
- Bruising: It's also possible for the scrotal area to fill with blood, called a hematoma, with too much activity or a clotting problem. You might also notice bruising of the skin around the incision. Report this to your vet right away.
- Swelling: A mild amount of swelling is normal with any surgery, but dogs who are too active can experience so much it looks like their testicles have returned. This is uncomfortable for them and should be seen by your vet.
- Infection: Allowing your dog to tumble around in the dirt at the dog park could lead to a nasty infection. Keep their incision clean and dry to promote healing.
- Ripped stitches: This is most commonly a result of a dog who chews out their stitches rather than solely activity level. Make sure your pup wears a dog cone or protective clothing to keep them from getting to the incision.
Keeping Your Dog Busy After Neuter Surgery
How are you supposed to keep your dog calm if they can't burn off energy on walks? Enrichment activities can keep their mind busy without putting them at risk for painful problems. Try these fun solutions.
- Obedience training: Work on your dog's response to basic commands, such as "Sit," "Stay," or "Come" while at home. This will keep them brushed up on necessary cues and keep their brain busy. Just be sure not to load them up on too many rich snacks, or they might get an upset stomach.
- Learn a new trick: Have you always wanted to teach your dog "Shake" or "Speak?" Use this as an opportunity to teach them a new trick (one that doesn't involve jumping, stretching, or running around!).
- Puzzle games: Dozens of interactive puzzle toys are available to keep your pup mentally stimulated. Many involve treats, so your dog feels motivated to flip, slide, or move pieces in order to get the tasty reward. You can even make a puzzle at home using a muffin tin and tennis balls.
- Treat toys: Similar to puzzle games, treat dispenser toys feature compartments where you can hide snacks for your dog to find. They'll need to push the toy around with their nose to get the treats out.
- Rub down: Give your dog a long scratch session (avoiding their sensitive nether regions) to keep them feeling relaxed and sleepy. It's also a great bonding opportunity for you two.
Avoid Activity During the Healing Period
If you're finding it difficult to keep your dog calm after their neuter surgery, don't hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for medical remedies. Sedatives can be prescribed for short-term use during those critical two weeks of downtime. With a watchful eye and mental enrichment activities, you can avoid complications and return to your regular walks in no time.