How Long Should A Dog Not Lick After Being Neutered

Neutering your dog is important for a variety of reasons, from reducing the risk of certain cancers to preventing unwanted puppies. However, after the surgery, it’s crucial to prevent your dog from licking their incision site. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s so important, what happens during a dog neutering surgery, how long it takes for a dog’s incision to heal, and tips for preventing your dog from licking their incision site.

The Importance of Neutering Your Dog

Before we dive into the specifics of post-neuter care, let’s talk about why neutering your dog is so important. Neutering is a surgical procedure that removes a dog’s testicles, typically in order to prevent reproduction. However, there are several other benefits to neutering as well.

First and foremost, neutering can reduce the risk of certain cancers in male dogs, such as testicular and prostate cancer. It can also help prevent aggression and roaming behavior, as well as reducing the risk of other health issues like perianal tumors and hernias.

Another important benefit of neutering your dog is that it can help control the pet overpopulation problem. Every year, millions of dogs end up in shelters, and many of them are euthanized because there simply aren’t enough homes for them. By neutering your dog, you’re doing your part to prevent unwanted litters and reduce the number of dogs in need of homes.

It’s also worth noting that neutering is a relatively simple and safe procedure, with minimal risks and a quick recovery time. If you’re concerned about the cost, many animal welfare organizations offer low-cost or even free neutering services for pet owners who can’t afford it.

What Happens During a Dog Neutering Surgery?

During a dog neutering surgery, the dog is generally put under anesthesia so that they don’t feel any pain or discomfort. The surgeon will make a small incision in the scrotum, remove the testicles, and then sew up the incision with dissolvable stitches.

After the surgery, your dog will usually be sent home with pain medication and instructions for aftercare. This is where preventing your dog from licking comes in.

It is important to keep your dog calm and quiet during the recovery period, as excessive activity can cause the incision to open up and delay healing. You may need to restrict your dog’s exercise and playtime for a few days or weeks, depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations.

In addition, you should monitor your dog’s incision site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs Lick Their Wounds After Being Neutered?

Dogs have a natural instinct to lick their wounds in order to clean and soothe them. However, licking can actually be quite dangerous for a dog who has just undergone a neutering surgery.

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Firstly, licking can slow down the healing process by introducing bacteria from the dog’s mouth onto the incision site. This can lead to infections, abscesses, and other complications.

Secondly, licking can irritate the incision site and cause the wound to re-open, which can be extremely painful for the dog and can lead to additional surgery if the wound does not heal properly.

It is important to prevent your dog from licking their wound after neutering surgery. One way to do this is by using an Elizabethan collar, also known as a cone, to prevent the dog from reaching the incision site. Another option is to use a bitter-tasting spray or ointment on the wound to discourage licking.

It is also important to monitor the incision site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Risks of Licking After Neutering Surgery

In addition to introducing bacteria and slowing down healing, licking can also be dangerous for other reasons. For example, if a dog licks their incision site often enough, they may end up removing the stitches or causing the wound to bleed.

Licking can also be a sign of discomfort or anxiety, so if your dog is licking excessively, it’s important to talk to your vet about whether they need additional pain relief or treatment for anxiety.

Another risk of licking after neutering surgery is the possibility of developing an infection. The mouth of a dog contains a lot of bacteria, and when they lick their incision site, they introduce these bacteria into the wound, which can lead to an infection. Infections can be serious and may require additional treatment, such as antibiotics or even surgery.

It’s also important to note that licking can delay the healing process. When a dog licks their incision site, they can irritate the wound and cause it to become inflamed, which can slow down the healing process. This can lead to a longer recovery time and may require additional visits to the vet.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog’s Incision to Heal After Neutering?

The healing time for a dog’s incision after neutering can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the dog, the location of the incision, and how well they follow post-operative care instructions.

In general, it can take up to two weeks for the incision to fully heal and for the stitches to dissolve. During this time, it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog and prevent them from licking or biting at the site.

It’s also important to monitor your dog’s behavior during the healing process. Some dogs may experience discomfort or pain, which can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your veterinarian. Additionally, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

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After the incision has fully healed, your dog can resume their normal activities. However, it’s important to gradually reintroduce exercise and playtime to prevent any strain on the incision site. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on when it’s safe to resume normal activities.

Tips for Preventing Your Dog from Licking Their Incision

Preventing your dog from licking their incision site can be a challenge, but there are several strategies you can use to help:

  • Use an e-collar, or “cone of shame,” to prevent your dog from reaching the incision
  • Give your dog regular breaks outside of the e-collar and supervise them closely during this time
  • Use anti-lick sprays or natural remedies like bitter apple spray to discourage licking
  • Try distracting your dog with toys, treats, or interactive puzzles to keep their minds occupied

It’s important to note that excessive licking of an incision site can lead to infection and delay the healing process. If you notice your dog persistently licking their incision, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They may recommend additional measures, such as a medical collar or medication, to prevent further complications.

Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame” After Neutering

If your dog cannot tolerate an e-collar, there are several alternatives that you may want to consider. For example, some dogs may do well with a soft, inflatable collar that restricts movement but is less restrictive than a traditional cone.

You can also try using a surgical garment specifically designed for dogs, which can provide full coverage and compression to the incision site without restricting movement or causing discomfort.

Another alternative to the traditional cone is a recovery suit for dogs. These suits cover the incision site and prevent your dog from licking or biting at the area, while still allowing them to move around freely. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and can be a great option for dogs who are uncomfortable with the traditional cone.

How to Spot Signs of Infection in Your Dog’s Neuter Incision

Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible for your dog to develop an infection after their neutering surgery. Some common signs of infection include:

  • Swelling or redness around the incision site
  • Pus or discharge coming from the incision
  • Unusual odor coming from the incision site
  • Fever or lethargy

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to contact your vet right away. They may recommend additional treatment, like antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.

It’s important to note that some dogs may not show any obvious signs of infection, so it’s important to keep an eye on the incision site and monitor your dog’s behavior. If you notice any changes in their behavior or if they seem to be in pain, it’s best to contact your vet.

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Additionally, it’s important to follow your vet’s post-operative instructions carefully to help prevent infection. This may include keeping your dog calm and quiet during the recovery period, limiting their activity, and keeping the incision site clean and dry.

When to Call Your Vet About Your Dog’s Healing Process After Neutering

If you have any concerns about your dog’s healing process after neutering, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Some signs that you may want to contact your vet about include:

  • Excessive licking or chewing at the incision site
  • Bleeding or discharge from the incision
  • Pain or discomfort when lying down or walking
  • Signs of infection (as listed above)

Your vet will be able to examine your dog and recommend any necessary treatment or further care.

It’s important to note that some degree of swelling and redness around the incision site is normal after neutering. However, if you notice that the swelling is increasing or spreading, or if the redness is accompanied by warmth or tenderness, it may be a sign of infection and you should contact your vet immediately.


Neutering is an important procedure for many dogs, but it’s crucial to ensure that your dog’s incision heals properly in order to prevent complications and ensure a quick recovery. By following the tips and strategies outlined above, you can help prevent your dog from licking their incision site and promote healing in the days and weeks after their neutering surgery.

It’s important to note that every dog is different and may require different levels of care after their neutering surgery. Some dogs may experience more pain or discomfort than others, and may require additional pain management medication or a longer recovery period. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s individual needs and follow their recommendations for post-operative care.

Additionally, neutering can have many benefits beyond preventing unwanted litters. It can also reduce the risk of certain health issues such as testicular cancer and prostate problems. Neutered dogs may also exhibit fewer behavioral issues such as aggression and roaming. It’s important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of neutering with your veterinarian to determine if it’s the right choice for your dog.

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