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Dog neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles to stop a male dog from producing offsprings. It helps reduce overpopulation that has become a complex animal problem in the United States.
A report by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals revealed 1.5 million companion animals are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.
While this 2017 data showed a significant decrease in euthanasia of homeless pets (there were 2.6 million in 2011), these numbers are still difficult to swallow for dog lovers.
In addition to reducing overpopulation in canines, neutering can do wonders for a dog’s health. It minimizes risk of serious health concerns like prostate and testicular cancer.
The Neutering Procedure
- Preanesthetic blood screening is done to confirm if a dog is safe for anesthesia.
- Given that bloodwork is normal, a dog will be sedated to reduce the pain and anxiety associated with neutering.
- The dog will be placed under general anesthesia.
- Skin is prepared for sterile surgery.
- To further reduce the pain, a vet may give the dog intratesticular blocks.
- A vet creates an incision in the middle of the scrotum and the penis.
- The stalks of the testicles are removed using a scalpel blade. The vet will monitor the dog’s heart and respiratory systems throughout the procedure.
- Testicular attachments are placed back inside the body.
- It will be closed with suture or staples.
- The dog gets a pain medication injection post-surgery.
Close monitoring is usually done 30 minutes after neutering to see if there is any problem with the dog. Anesthesia-related complications are very minimal but that does not mean a dog is not subject to inherent risks.
A dog should be ready to go home seven hours after the surgery given that it only received a round of anesthesia with an effect lasting 15-20 minutes. The pet will seem a little groggy or drunk because of anesthesia, so it’s important to support him while he is still under the effects of anesthesia.
How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery
Aftercare is essential to avoid any complications related to neutering. Even though most dogs heal fast and neutering is a low-risk procedure, we should not ignore the possibility they could develop problems if not given proper care. Here are some of the best aftercare tips when neutering dogs:
Create a comfortable environment for your dog
An orthopedic bed, like Brindle’s Waterproof Designer Memory Foam Pet Bed, provides your pooch additional support and comfort during recovery. When choosing one for your buddy, consider the size, material, and thickness of the bed. Memory foam is the best material because it offers pressure point relief and it is hypoallergenic.
It helps to place the bed in your buddy’s favorite sleeping spot at home to make him feel more comfortable. Another thing you can do to keep the dog calm, is to use a dog diffuser like Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser for Dogs. This plug-in device, which is also available in spray form, contains canine-appeasing pheromone that helps relieve your pet’s stress, anxiety and fear.
Limit the dog’s activities until you observe the incision site completely healed. It can be a bit challenging especially you have an energetic pooch. But it’s important to restrict activity for your dog’s wound to heal properly.
There should be no rough play, running, or jumping the entire week after the surgery. Walks are acceptable but they need to be limited or shorter this time. It is safe to return to your pet’s usual activities after 14 days because the incision will be fully healed at this period.
During this time, it helps to interact more with your pooch to prevent him from making his own games or from developing destructive activities that will further injure him.
Once your dog is ready for a short walk, consider putting him on leash to prevent the incision from reopening and causing complications. Keep him leashed until he is ready to go play again or walk freely.
Prioritize your dog’s safety
Putting your dog in a crate offers security and allows a full bed rest. This may feel like a punishment, but for medical reasons, your vet will suggest crate rest for faster recovery.
Letting your pet out can be tempting mostly if he’s barking and whining, but it’s better to follow your vet’s advice than risk your pet’s health. These are the things to consider when finding the best recovery crate for your buddy:
- Size – ensure the crate is large enough for your pet. If you want something that offers more floor space than the regular ones, consider an open-top pen like MidWest Exercise Pen. This is ideal for breeds that are not strong enough to escape from their pen.
- Durability – some breeds are strong enough even after surgery, that they have the tendency to destroy the crate. Get a heavy-duty crate like one made of steel to avoid your dog from escaping.
- Material – the best recovery crate allows for proper ventilation and in that case, it helps to get a metal crate. It’s also easy to clean compared to plastic crates. While plastic crates provide a bit more privacy, they don’t offer the same ventilation as wire crates.
One of the things you can do to ensure your pet’s safety is to keep him in his training collar. This avoids the dog from running out of his cage. A cone may also be an option if your dog cannot help but scratch or lick the incision site.
Offer bland food
Decreased appetite is one of the changes a dog goes through after an operation because anesthesia may have an effect in the normal intestinal bacteria. Your dog will eventually feel nauseous or queasy that he will not have the appetite to eat anything at all. But you need to make sure he’s fed at the same time each day, regardless of the situation.
Vets normally recommend an intestinal diet or bland meal after neutering. Serve light meals like cooked chicken and rice. Then offer plenty of water to keep your pet well-hydrated.
Dr. Ernie Ward of the Petplan said natural dog food, like fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins A and C can restore the bacterial balance and speed up healing. You may offer orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes but offer them gradually to prevent stomach upset.
Antioxidant-rich foods will also supply your dog with the much needed ammo to fight infection that leads to possible complications. Blueberries are a great option because they are loaded with antioxidants and they help improve the digestive system.
The Bottom Line
Male dogs usually heal faster than female dogs after a desexing procedure because neutering is less complicated and less risky compared to spaying. But aftercare is still important especially the first few days after the operation to avoid the wound from reopening.
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