Post-Operative Instructions for Dogs

If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery time period, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic at for the fastest response.

Things You Need to Do

For your dog's safety, please read and follow these instructions. The Clinic will handle, at minimal cost, any post-operative complications from the surgery only if these instructions were followed:

  • Keep your pet confined to a warm, quiet environment and separate from other pets and young children for the first 12 hours. 
  • No running, jumping, playing, rough housing, or strenuous activity for 7 to 10 days following surgery.
  • Pets should stay indoors and be kept quiet. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside.
  • Keep your pet dry for 7 to 10 days following surgery. No baths, swimming or rolling in wet grass. The top layer of the surgical incision is closed with surgical glue and will come open if the area gets wet.
  • Check the incision twice a day. What you see at the time you pick your animal up from surgery is normal; there should be no discharge and minimal redness or swelling.
  • Male dogs may appear as if they still have testicles. This is normal. The swelling will gradually decrease during the next few days.
  • DO NOT let your animal lick the incision area. If this occurs, you will need to buy an Elizabethan collar (plastic lampshade collar) either here, at your vet or at a pet supply store. If this instruction is not followed, the incision can be licked open and will become infected. This is considered self-trauma and the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic will NOT cover your costs if it leads to a trip to a veterinary hospital.
  • Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside and the very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. As the wound heals, there may be a firm lump under the incision as the absorbable sutures break down.
  • Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site. This can cause the incision to open.
  • If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, you will need to return in 7 to 10 days to have those removed.
  • Please note that your pet did receive a small, green tattoo- this is not a second incision.
  • You may provide a small amount of food and water to your adult pet tonight, but he or she may not have a full appetite until tomorrow.
  • You should provide normal amounts of food and water this evening for any kitten or puppy less than 6 months of age. 
  • Do not change your pet's diet or give table scraps as this can mask post-operative complications.
  • Give only prescribed medications. Do not give Tylenol, aspirin or other human pain relievers, as they can be deadly to your pets. Your pet received pain medicine at the time of surgery. 
  • Some animals appear to feel 100% right away, while others recover more slowly. 
  • Dogs may have a slight cough for a few days. 
  • Lethargy that lasts more than 48 hours after surgery, diarrhea, or vomiting in any animal are not normal and you should email us at
  • If your pet was in heat she must be kept away from males for at least 14 days following surgery. If a male tries to mate with her, serious bleeding and trauma to your pet's reproductive tract may occur, possibly leading to death.
  • We recommend that your animal receive a post-operative examination with your regular veterinarian 7-10 days after surgery. Please have the incision checked for complete healing and discuss additional needs, follow-up care, and booster vaccines.

Surgical Complications

Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries, however complications can occur. Please contact us immediately at if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • difficulty urinating
  • labored breathing

How Dakin Can Help With Complications

If the above post-operative instructions are completely followed, the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic will treat at our clinic, at minimal cost, any post-operative complications resulting directly from the surgery.  Please contact us at (for the fastest response time) for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern.

Your regular veterinarian must address disease, illnesses, or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow any of the above post-operative instructions, from a contagious disease for which the animal was not previously properly vaccinated, or from underlying health issues not known at the time of surgery.

In Case of Emergency

If your pet requires emergency care that does not fall within the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic's business hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 3:30 pm), please call or visit your regular veterinarian or local emergency veterinary clinic:

  • South Deerfield area: Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital, 413-665-4911
  • Connecticut: New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care (Windsor, CT) 860-688-8400
  • If you live in another area, please check your local phone book

You are responsible for paying the cost of this visit directly to the veterinarian or emergency clinic. Dakin's veterinarian will review the report and discuss it with the emergency veterinarian to determine if it is a spay/neuter surgery-related issue, but the Dakin veterinarian makes the final decision on what will be covered. If Dakin determines that it's a spay/neuter surgery-related issue, we will reimburse you the cost of the visit. Emergency visits due to failure to follow post-operative instructions will not be reimbursed.