neutering your dog

What to Expect When Neutering Your Dog

What can I expect when neutering my dog? Is it me, or does this question only come to mind the day your male dog is getting neutered?

As first-time dog-parents, Juan and I had no idea what to expect. It was such a standard, routine procedure, so we weren’t too concerned, and we didn’t think to do a ton of research on the topic. We trusted our breeder and our vets implicitly. Plus, our contract with the breeder required us neuter Henry between 10-12 months. This time frame was encouraged for proper hormonal development, and to avoid any health issues in the future.

So, what can you expect when neutering your dog? Let me be clear, this post is not meant to be educational in terms of medical information, but rather a recounting of what we as dog parents experienced after neutering Henry. This blog post offers an emotional and practical perspective of how the recovery process went.

Disclaimer: If you’re going through this experience soon with your dog, I’ve linked a couple of products within this blog post that I found to be helpful during recovery. Please keep in mind that some of the links included in this blog post are affiliate links and if you go through them to buy something, I will earn a commission. I link companies and their products because in my opinion, they’re good quality. The decision to purchase something is completely and totally up to you.

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Neutering Your Dog

What to Expect When Neutering Your Dog

How To Prepare For The Operation

Crunching The Numbers

I feel lucky to keep in touch with our breeder. Throughout the first year, she sent us little reminders like when to change food, or when to book the next round of vaccines. A month before neutering Henry, we received a message from our breeder to start planning with the vet.

The vet clinic provided an estimate. In our case, it was 740.00$CAD (taxes in). This included an umbilical hernia surgery (130.00$CAD), the surgery itself (292.00$CAD) the plastic cone (20.00$CAD), a blood test (146.00$) and other routine medications. For those who have pet insurance, this procedure isn’t covered seeing as it is a routine, planned event. I highly recommend pet insuracne, by the way. It’s helped us on numerous occasions; you can read all about it here.

That said, one of the main factors to expect when neutering your dog is definitely financial.

Post-Surgery Comfort

Another factor to consider is your dog’s comfort post-surgery. In fact, there are more comfortable alternatives to the plastic cone [of shame]! Thanks to the wonderful dog community on Instagram, we discovered the donut and surgical suit! The “donut” (a.k.a. protective inflatable collar or cloud collar) was a great option for Henry. It’s basically like one of those airplane neck pillows, but for dogs. Here’s the one we used.

Other recommendations included the surgery suit, a full body suit that covers the operated area to prevent your dog from licking. Your dog can also wear nothing if they’re not “groomers”…unfortunately for us, Henry likes to make sure he’s extra clean.

**Little side note for the donut, especially for cavaliers, make sure to brush their ears every day when they’re wearing it…Henry got so many mats, that was the only downside to the donut…I’ve linked a variety of different combs here!**

neutering your dog
neutering your dog

The Big Snip

Going To The Vet During COVID

The day before neutering Henry, our clinic called us to confirm our appointment, as they usually do. Clinique Vétérinaire Rive-Sud is honestly the best and most attentive clinic, they look after Henry so well! They suggested we bring him in the night before his operation, for practicality. Because he’d be staying overnight after his operation, this meant a whole two days without the Smol! (Not mad about the little break LOL) They called us the day after we dropped him off to confirm all went well! Little did we know that the easy part was done.

Going to the vet during COVID times is a little weird: they have you wait outside, and pick up your pet at a designated door. We waited in front of door number 1 and I could already hear Henry’s little barks from behind the glass. They initially brought him outside without a cone (I think they were taking him out to do his business at the same time we happened to show up). He stayed with us, as we waited for further instructions.

The Recovery Period 

Boy was he happy to see us, at first glance he seemed perfectly normal, but I’m sure he knew something wasn’t right. During the time we were waiting for the vet—without a cone—the first thing Henry did was “scoot” on the pavement in the parking lot and try to lick his wounds. Naturally, we jumped on him to get him to stop, and I immediately asked the vet technician if he’d opened his stitches.The last thing we wanted was infection.

She assured us everything was alright, and took us through the additional instructions. We’d have to give him anti-inflammatories for the first 4 days, and the recovery period would take 10-14 days…and we weren’t allowed to get the stitches wet, so we’d have a nice smelly Henry for 2 weeks. Fun.

Rest & Recovery After Neutering Your Dog

The First Night Struggles

The first night after neutering your dog will be the toughest. Henry slept with his plastic cone, in our bed as usual. Poor thing, they had to give him the bigger cone, meant for bigger dogs, because he’s too smart for his own good. He figured out how to lick himself with the small cone. It felt like the first days of puppyhood all over again. Henry wasn’t crying or anything, I think he was just very uncomfortable and struggling to find a good way to sleep, which of course woke us up every few minutes.

The Toughest Part Of Neutering Our Dog

Keeping Henry calm was the most difficult part of this whole neutering process. We called the vet on three different occasions: coming back from rainy walks, we thought his stitches were infected and we were worried about a weird bump under his hernia stitches.

Spoiler alert, there was no infection nor need to worry about the bump. Everything was normal. I’ll spare you the pictures in this blog post, but if you’re curious to know what it looked like and why we were worried, feel free to email or DM me!

**Dog mom tip: consider getting yourself a ramp, like this, this helped SO much to control the jumping on and off the couch and the bed. 

neutering your dog
neutering your dog

So, What Can You Expect When Neutering Your Dog?

Although a routine procedure, getting Henry neutered was a tiring process for us, reminiscent of the early puppy months.

Be prepared for the financial aspect of the procedure, as well as your dog’s comfort. He’ll need a lot of love of attention. This may come with a couple of sleepless nights. Although the recovery period is about 10 days, they bounce back pretty quickly and they’re back to their normal selves in no time!

All in all, we’re both very happy we got him neutered, especially because the ONE thing we hoped it would change, more than anything, actually happened: he stopped marking! He no longer tries to mark inside, and he now asks for the door to go outside. We do bring belly bands with us when we go somewhere new, however. 

If I had to do anything differently, it would be to plan for more things to chew on to keep Henry calm and relieve his stress, and mostly to take his mind off the licking. I linked a few products that helped get us through the last couple weeks, below, as well as some suggestions I got. Here’s hoping they can help you too! 

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  1. Thanks again for this iNsightful information! I had forgotten about my experience with lupO!! I hope henry continues to heal and seal back his skin!!???

  2. Thanks!! It was such a process, but I’m so glad that Henry’s all back to normal!

  3. Thank you So much for sharing what helped you WE are going to be fixing isla our femal cavalieR and are a little nervous this blog definitely helped us to know what to expect and things to prepare thanks so much!

  4. So happy this helped you! Good luck with Isla, and feel free to reach out if ever you have any questions or just need to vent 😉

  5. Thank you so much for this excellent blog! You guys are the best! Our male Bella will be having his hernia surgery next month. I get really worried about him; but your blog has truly helped us prepare. I hope our bella has less occasional accidents after he heals too. Or maybe it’s just the puppy in him since he is just under 1 year old. We hope Henry is all well now. Thank you so much for sharing all your great ideas!

  6. Have you noticed any differences in Henry’s size, weight, coat? I have a 6 month Cavi that marks all the time, and has become a belly BANDEr. Of course my vet says to come get him neutered, but I’m willing to wait another 6 months if it means he will have more time to finish growing. I’ve heard lots of people reccomend not until 2 years even. I’ve heard that some people noticed that post-spay, their females gained more weight, and coats changed texture. I’m just curious if owners of neutered male cavs have noticed this too. I’m just trying to do my research for when I do decide to neuter my Theo.

  7. We only really noticed a change in marking, he doesn’t mark anywhere in the house anymore, which is great! His coat is still soft, his size is normal and he’s between 13-15lbs (on the smaller side for a male cav). He’s very healthy! We neutered him at 1 year old, our breeder recommended between 10-12months until they’ve grown more. They wouldn’t recommend 6 months. There are lots of schools of thought, but in the end you do what’s best for your dog!


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