Sterilization surgery (spay or neuter) is a part of almost every American dog’s life. Spaying or neutering your pet is a foolproof way to avoid unwanted puppies, but it’s also a significant surgery for your dog! Maintaining your dog’s quality of life during these tough periods can be a challenge.

One of the hardest parts of recovering from surgery? Exercise.

Physical activity helps keep dogs fit and healthy, both in body and mind. That’s why it’s so important to get back to exercising your dog after surgery! In fact, light activity after spay or neuter surgeries can actually help recovery. It’s also important to note that many neutered males are prone to weight gain after neutering – so keeping up their activity level is extra important!

However, post-surgery periods often require careful management of your pet’s exercise regimen. Here are some tips for exercising your dog after surgery.

exercising your dog
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Principals of Recovery

There’s no set rulebook for every dog. However, here are a few principals to keep in mind after injury:

  • Look for alternatives to exercise. Recently spayed dogs especially require time off or reduced exercise. Neuters are less invasive surgeries so you might be able to return to exercising your dog more quickly. Mental stimulation, like nosework or training games, can help keep your dog sane. This will also prevent him from hurting himself due to bouts of pent up energy during and after time off. Tricks and games are great fun and often easy on your pet’s recovering body. They can be a great first step.
  • Consider the type of surgery. As stated above, returning your dog to activity will differ based on the type of surgery. Spays are usually more invasive than neuters so a recently spayed female dog will need more rest time than a neutered dog. There is also a growing variety of options available, such as ovary-sparing spays, which may have different recovery times.
  • Ask for help. Do not assume you know the answer. Ask your vet! He or she will be happy to help. Since almost all dogs get spayed or neutered eventually, your vet will have a good game plan for helping your pup get back to full activity!
exercising your dog after injury
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Injury Specific Tips

Not all injuries are created equal. While most require changes to your pet’s exercise regimen, some call for more ginger reintroduction methods than others. Below are some common injuries that you may encounter and how to help your pet recoup.

Remember to always discuss your plan with a veterinarian to make sure you’re on the right track.

Basic Spay and Neuter Recovery Tips

Most dog owners will have to help their pets cope with these surgeries. Neutering, performed on male dogs, is less invasive than spaying, performed on female dogs. However, both surgeries require stitches and care must be taken to allow the wounds to heal properly.

  • Maintain gentle exercise. After surgery, most dogs will be allowed to go for light walks on-leash. This will let their wounds heal while hopefully providing them enough exercise to keep from going stir-crazy. Make sure the walks are gentle and prevent your dog from jumping and bounding.
  • Keep an eye on the incision. Exercising your dog should not interfere with wound healing. Watch your dog’s stitches and make sure that they do not appear red or irritated post-exercise. If they do, decrease intensity and duration and contact your vet if needed.
  • Wait until you get the all clear to resume normal activity. Wounds take awhile to heal. Do not be tricked into letting your pet bound back into action too soon. This could drastically slow their progress in the long run! Two weeks of restricted activity is a rule of thumb, but do not allow your dog to return to normal exercise until you get the go-ahead from your vet.

Moving Forward

Figuring out the delicate balance of exercise and rest can be a daunting task. There are many types of injuries, dogs, and circumstances to take into account. However, returning your dog to healthy amounts of physical activity is an essential part of caring for him.

Keep these basic principals in mind and above all, do not be afraid to ask your vet and other professionals for help. You will be taking a proactive step to help keep your dog happy and healthy for long to come.

Author

Kayla Fratt is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from Colorado. She has spent most of her adult life training troublesome dogs in shelters, private settings, and online. She owns Journey Dog Training, an online pet behavior help service that focuses on helping people around the world with their pets. Kayla loves working with tricky dogs almost as much as she loves hiking, running, and skiing with her Border Collie, Barley. You can learn more about Kayla and explore her training programs at JourneyDogTraining.com or by following Journey Dog Training on YouTube and Facebook.

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