What to expect after dog is fixed?

Question:

My pups are going in for spay/neuter surgery. Should I expect “normal behavior” once the anesthesia wears off? How about long term?

Answer:

Let’s go over some short-term and long-term behavioral issues.

Short-term, dogs may not be themselves for the first 24-48 hrs after anesthesia and surgery. They may be a bit lethargic or sleepy, until the drugs wear off completely. They may have a slight decrease in appetite and may be tender around the surgery site.

They may wonder what these stitches on their belly are and may want to lick them. To prevent any infection or open incision, we advise keeping an E-collar (plastic cone) around their neck for two weeks, until the sutures are removed.

One of the most common long-term consequences of spaying and neutering is weight gain, which is why we would recommend switching to a light diet once your pups are fully grown.

Long-term behavior changes are usually positive if the spay or neuter was performed at a young age. For example, male dogs may become less aggressive. If the dog were neutered at an older age, then old habits may be harder to break.

So overall, there are few bad behavioral consequences. We expect normal, age-appropriate, behavioral development for dogs after spay or neuter surgery. This means that some dogs will “calm down” over the next few months, while others may take years to calm down.