One important responsibility for every conscientious dog owner is the neutering 1 of their new puppy at the appropriate time.  When a female dog is neutered the process is called “spaying.”  As the process is more invasive for a female dog, there are certain steps that should be adhered to in puppy care after spaying.

Benefits of Spaying Your Puppy

Some novice dog owners are hesitant to spay their puppy.   However, there are a number of benefits to neutering your dog.   Besides the fact that it prevents the risk of unwanted litters and contributing to the pet population problem,2 it also decreases the risk of several medical problems such as mammary cancer, urinary tract infections, and reproductive tract diseases.  Also, sterilized dogs are less likely to roam from home, are less restless and less aggressive than dogs that are unfixed.

When Should a Puppy Be Spayed?

The common wisdom for timeframe for spaying a puppy is between 5 to 8 months, and before the dog goes into heat for the first time.  If your dog goes into heat prior to being spayed, it is best to wait until after it has passed to have the procedure done.  While a dog can be spayed while in heat, it is not advised as there is a higher risk for excessive bleeding.  Also, it will be harder to keep the dog quiet in the after care period as she will be more restless than usual. 3 Many shelters and rescue groups will spay a puppy as early as eight weeks to ensure that the procedure is done before adopting the dog out.

Preparing a Puppy for Spaying

Neutering a female dog involves removing the ovaries and is a surgical procedure.  Your vet will consult with you on the procedure and how to prepare your puppy for spaying.  As with humans, a puppy should not eat anything at least eight hours before the surgery.  4

Caring for a Puppy After Spaying

After bringing your puppy home after spaying, she will need some extra tender loving care.  Check with your vet regarding pain medications.  Don’t wait until she is in extreme pain.  It is better to “head off” the pain with medication to keep the severity down.

Your puppy may want to lick or bite at her stitches.  To prevent this, a cone or Elizabethan collar can be used to restrict her biting.

If your puppy is healthy, her activity will most likely only need to be restricted for a day or so.  Check with your vet for recommendations.  Also follow the vet’s instructions regarding food and water.

Most puppies will come through the spaying process with flying colors.  However, there are few warning signs to watch out for.  If the incision reopens, becomes discolored, excessive swelling, has a discharge or looks infected, contact your vet right away.

Spaying your puppy is the loving thing to do to protect her health and wellbeing, as well as preventing unwanted litter.  By paying a little extra attention to puppy care after spaying, your puppy will just experience a little bit of discomfort and will bounce back as good as new.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Humane Society
  3. Vet Info
  4. Dogtime
  5. Peteducation