Spaying and neutering are the right thing to do. These procedures reduce unwanted litters, certain kinds of cancers and infections, and can sometimes calm certain behaviors. Still, it can be tough for pet owners to see their furry friends go through elective surgery. Many pet owners feel guilty, or worry their dog or cat might be angry with them. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry. Pets bounce back quickly, especially the younger they are. Neutering especially isn’t particularly invasive. In a few days, Fido or Fluffy should be back to normal. Here are a few tips for easing both their recovery and your worried mind:

  • Depending on your pet’s unique personality, he or she may want extra attention, or to be left alone to sleep off the anesthesia and discomfort. Pets have good instincts about what they need, so follow your furry friend’s signals.
  • Give her a safe, quiet space to recover indoors, even if she is typically an outdoor animal. She will need to be kept warm, protected from predators or overly playful friends, and to generally stay calm and still. You don’t want your pet jumping up and down off beds, sofas, or other high spots, or she might tear her stitches.
  • Your pet may be hungry when you bring him home, but may also be a little nauseated as the anesthesia wears off, just like humans can be. Offer food and water, but in small amounts until you are sure your furry friend’s stomach is settled. The last thing either you or your pets wants is to deal with throwing up while recovering.
  • Dogs and cats both may be tempted to lick the incision site. Try to distract your pet with positive reinforcement like treats. If he or she just won’t leave it alone, try an Elizabethan collar (aka “The Cone of Shame”).
  • Keep an eye out for redness, swelling, or discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, or any prolonged abnormal behavior from your pet. These could be a sign of infection.
  • Avoid bathing your pet to allow the incision to heal and to keep his or her body temperature up.

In a few days your pet will get the spring back in his step and can be allowed back with his friends, if yours is a multi pet household, or to play with you as usual. You’ll see he or she is no worse for the wear, and you can feel good that you contributed to a healthier, happier life for your pet, all while working against over poplation and overcrowded shelters.

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