Dog owners know keeping their puppies from running around too much after a surgical procedure can be a huge challenge. One would think in the days following surgery, a dog would want to rest and recover. Some pups do, while others want to play, scamper, and get back to life as normal – our Frenchie certainly did! I was recently asked if it’s a good idea and can I take my dog for a walk after being neutered?
How long after being neutered can a dog go for a walk? Vets advise you to let your dog rest for up to 48 hours after neutering. Light exercise in a garden or yard is fine until you bring your dog in for their 3-day check-up. Once the vet tells you your dog is recovering ok you can take them on short leash walks until they go back in for their 10-day check-up.
I went through this exact same process with Claude the French Bulldog. He was neutered at around 8 months old. Despite having stitches in, he still wanted to run around, jump up, and get out for walk – it’s in his nature like most dogs.
However, I took the advice of our vet and didn’t take him for a walk until 3 days after his operation.
In this article, I will explain the timeline of walking your dog after he goes through a neuter (or spay for female dogs). It’s the same one we stuck to, and it worked really well. I’ll also discuss the risks involved of not properly resting your dog after surgery and whether he can be left alone or not. Keep reading, as there’ll also be some post-op care tips later.
The advice here is the same for male and female dogs, so all the information is applicable too if you are wondering how soon you can take a dog for a walk after being spayed.
Let’s get started.
Dog walking after neutering and spaying: recommended timeline
24 to 48 hours after neutering: rest and no walking
Even minor surgeries such as neutering and spaying are invasive to pets, and it’s important they be given time to heal and rest once they’re home. This will mean putting some restrictions on their physical activity after surgery.
In most cases, you should let your dog rest for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Your vet will stress not allowing your dog to run around or jump up on couches or other furniture during this initial recovery stage.
48 hours after neutering: light exercise can be ok in your yard or garden
Some light exercise is ok if you want to let them explore out the back but keep an eye on them and discourage any over-hectic behavior.
All dogs are different so you will need to make a call on this depending on how they appear to be recovering.
3-day and 10-day points: vet check-ups
You should schedule two check-ups with your vet after your dog’s operation to observe and monitor their recovery. The first will be three days after surgery and the second 10 days after. Make sure your dog is as rested as possible in the time between surgery and the first check-up. He should also have ample time to heal.
The most activity he should get in this time is very light supervised exercise in the yard. Keep it short.
3-day check-up point: short walks on the leash
Once you get the news that your dog’s healing is on track at the three-day check-up, you can begin taking him on short walks on a leash. Start out slow and work your way towards longer walks each day based on how your dog reacts to the activity.
If he shows no adverse effects, then take him on a slightly longer walk the next time out. However, if he seems to be in any discomfort, let him rest and don’t push the issue.
10-day check-up point: dog walking back to normal after the
By the time you and your dog return to the vet for their 10-day check-up, your vet will likely give the all-clear for your four-legged friend to return to their normal activity levels if they’ve healed properly.
On the off-chance your dog is having complications with the healing process, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or schedule further treatment if necessary.
Do keep in mind that if your dog moves around too much after their neutering procedure, the tissue which was cut may not heal properly. This has the potential to lead to the wounds recovering very slowly.
The more motion of the affected tissue, the harder it becomes to create the necessary bonds to heal. If this happens, it can also increase the risk of infection.
How far can my dog walk after being neutered?
This question is very open to interpretation as all dogs are different and require different levels of exercise. We own a French Bulldog, and he tends to only walk a couple of kilometers at a time normally.
With Claude, we resumed our normal length walks after 3 days. From talking with other dog owners, they say you can walk your dog normal lengths after this point providing the vet has given you the all clear.
Caring for your dog after neutering and spaying
Sending your dog in for any type of surgery can be nerve-wracking as a pet parent. They’re part of your family and you want the best for them.
Knowing what you can do to help the healing process once your dog is home can put your mind at ease. After all, your pet will be looking to you for extra snuggles and pets. That is, if he’s not a little upset with you for taking him to the vet in the first place.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can help your canine companion heal once you get them home.
1. Use confinement to speed up healing
After neutering, you’ll need to keep your dog somewhat confined and resting. The level of confinement you’ll need depends on your dog’s energy level. If your pet is typically relaxed and calm, keeping him in a smaller room in your home should do the trick.
The exception is overly energetic dogs, who may need to be put in a pen to prevent complications.
You want to make any confinement as comfortable as you can for your dog. Make sure the enclosure you keep him in is big enough he can stand up and turn around in a complete circle. Add bedding and extra blankets so he has a soft place to lie down. If you’re using a small room, keep part it open. This will make one area cooler, and your dog can move if he gets too hot.
2. Medication and additional home care
The most common medications prescribed for dogs after a surgery are pain medication and antibiotics. These relieve any post-op discomfort and prevent possible infection.
Your vet may not recommend antibiotics if they feel the infection risk is low enough. However, that doesn’t happen often, as pain medication is almost always prescribed. Dogs with high energy may even be given low-grade sedatives and anti-anxiety medication.
It’s important to discuss the idea of any home remedies with your vet before using them. Most of these remedies are drug-free, but you want to make sure these won’t have any adverse effects on your dog while they’re recovering.
The best thing you can do when taking care of your dog at home is to be present. Recovering pets need more attention from their owners. Spend as much time as you can. This can go a long way towards keeping your dog calm while recovering.
3. Burning off energy without too much excitement
Restricting your dog’s physical activity is easier said than done most of the time, especially if he seems fine after the surgery. How do you handle a dog who has all their energy in the world but can’t actively expend it?
If your dog isn’t on heavy physical restrictions, then you may take them out on short, leisurely walks after being neutered or spayed. Incorporate some training and mental stimulation into these walks to keep him from getting overexcited.
For instance, try bringing along a package of treats. Toss a few out ahead of you on your path and allow your dog to sniff them out. This will help him spend some of his boundless energy by using his sense of smell.
4. Monitoring the incision for signs of infection
Although you may be fascinated or even grossed out by your dog’s surgical incision, trust us when we say to just leave it alone. Your vet will take care of cleaning the incision and any other steps that need to be taken.
The most you should do is keep an eye on things to make sure the healing process is going smoothly. Cover the incision as best you can when you take your dog out. This will keep it clean. That said, don’t leave it bandaged around the clock unless your vet has advised you to do so.
If you start to notice your dog’s incision getting crusty or dirty, wipe it off with a towel (gently!) and some warm water.
Don’t use rubbing alcohol or peroxide. These can cause your dog discomfort and slow healing. If you see the incision area has becoming red and swollen with oozing pus or any visible gaps around the edges, these could all be signs of infection. Contact your vet right away.
5. Can dog be left alone after neutering?
Dogs can be left alone after neutering or spaying but vets advise if you are going to leave them alone, only do so for short periods of time. Here’s what our vet told us:
“If you are going to leave your dog alone after being neutered then keep him crated. If you don’t have a crate, a small room will do as the key here is to restrict their movement as much as possibly in order to let the cut heal. I also recommend keeping your neutered or spayed dog away from any other pets in the house to reduce excitement, possible aggression and movement which could aggravate the wound.”
I hope this mix of vet’s advice and personal experience has helped you to better understand how soon you can take your dog for a walk after neutering or spaying. I am not a vet myself, so always take the last word from your own vet, as all dogs are individuals and will recover at different times.
We were lucky with Claude. He recovered very quickly and was out on his normal length walks just a few days after being neutered. Yours might not be the same.
The bottom line is; your dog is more than a pet, he’s a member of your family. When he comes out of surgery, he needs you to be there for him as he recovers. Make sure to follow your vet’s instructions on limiting activity, even though it’s not always easy as most dogs will want to walk after neutering (just like any other day!).
Give your puppy pal extra love and affection and make sure to follow up with your vet about any concerns you may have.
This will ensure your dog recovers and returns to their happy and healthy self before long.
Did You Know? We walk our French Bulldog twice a day, but did you know there’s a certain length of time you should really wait before walking them after eating. Click here to see how long after eating vet’s advise you walk your dog.