How Long to Keep the Cone On a Dog After Neutering?

dog with a cone on after getting neutered

The general rule of thumb for how long you should keep a cone on your dog after neutering is approximately 14 days. This may seem like an absurd amount of time, but this is the average time it takes for the incision to heal.

Neutering your dog is an essential part of pet ownership nowadays. In fact, in some cities, it’s a requirement!

Most dog owners know little about the neutering process. One of the most common questions they ask is how long should you keep a cone on your dog after neutering them.

Always seek advice from your vet when unsure, but most dogs will need to stay in the cone for at least two weeks.

The Incision Needs Time to Heal

A few days after neutering, the incisions will itch, and your dog will be tempted to scratch at the stitches.

This is why wearing a cone is essential for the healing process. Keeping the cone on for at least 14 days will help prevent your dog from ripping out the stitches and opening the wound.

Additionally, your dog shouldn’t be moving around too much. Short walks outside on a leash are fine, but they shouldn’t be doing any extreme exercise, such as running and jumping around.

After one week, you can temporarily take off the cone (only for a few minutes) as long as they are in your direct line of sight at all times. Make sure you’re close enough to prevent them from tampering with their stitches.

Many dog owners take off the cone when it’s mealtime, since it’s hard (and unpleasant) for dogs to eat with a cone on.

But, if you feel as if your dog will scratch or bite at the stitches the moment the cone comes off, then it’s better to leave it on. To make eating more comfortable, elevate their food and water bowls. They’ll be able to eat and drink out of them like normal.

Is Neutering Worth The Trouble?

The short answer, YES!

There are many reasons you should neuter your dog. Neutering, or “fixing,” applies to both females and males. To be more specific, castration is the male version of neutering, while spaying is the female version.

The neuter surgery removes all (or most of) the dog’s reproductive organs, which prevents your dog from having offspring.

Spaying takes a little more time since they remove more reproductive organs, but both males and females take the same amount of time to heal.

Here are a few of the many reasons neutering is worth the trouble.

1. Prevent Breeding

This is the most common reason most pet owners neuter their pets. Once a pet is fixed, it won’t be able to impregnate a female dog or get pregnant. This is, understandably, a huge relief for pet owners.

Neutering is mostly done for population control, so fewer dogs will be without a home. A litter of puppies is expensive, not to mention the cost of pregnancy care the female dog will go through.

Most families won’t be able to afford to raise the puppies, which then end up going to shelters or being abandoned on the streets. Some shelters even euthanize healthy pets just because there aren’t enough resources to take care of them.

To avoid this situation, a lot of big cities require pets to be neutered.

2. Halts Unwanted Sexual Behaviors

When dogs reach puberty, they start manifesting normal sexual behaviors such as mounting and roaming.

While these behaviors may not be completely terminated, depending on how old your pet was when they were neutered, these urges will certainly be reduced when your dog is neutered.

Additionally, some male dogs can get aggressive when searching for a female mate. Neutering can help the male become less aggressive due to less testosterone being produced.

3. Decreases the Risk of Cancer

Like humans, dogs are at risk of diseases affecting their genitals, such as testicular cancer and ovary cancer. Neutering helps prevent, or eliminate, their risk of this type of cancer.

Ensure Proper Healing While Wearing The Cone

The cone will help prevent the dog from biting or scratching the incision, but you can do a few other things to ensure proper healing.

1. Restrict Exercise

It’s perfectly fine to take your pet on short walks where they won’t be doing any jumping or running. But make sure to keep your dog on a leash.

Excessive exercise could rip open your pet’s stitches. Better to be safe than sorry!

2. No Baths

After your dog is neutered, your priority is to keep the stitches safe. Bathing your dog would get the wound wet, which could lead to an infection.

You need to keep the stitches dry and clean at all times to ensure everything heals properly and to reduce the chance of an infection.

3. Wear the Cone!

It’s no secret that dogs don’t enjoy wearing the cone of shame, but unfortunately for them, it’s a necessity.

A cone prevents your dog from licking or ripping out their stitches. Unlike humans, who know that you shouldn’t mess with stitches, dogs don’t understand that picking at their stitches does more harm than good.

For both males and females, the average recovery time for a neuter surgery is about 10 to 14 days. So, your pet should keep the cone on for at least this amount of time.

4. Check Incision Twice Per Day

To prevent infection, make a habit of checking the incision at least twice per day – once in the morning and again at night.

This helps monitor your dog’s progress on their surgery and makes sure everything is going as it should be.

This would also be an excellent time to comfort your dog and make sure they know they are loved.

5. Go To The Vet When Something Seems Odd

Since neutering is a surgery, you should be vigilant about your dog’s health. If something seems odd about the surgery site, make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately.

Abnormal symptoms include a foul smell, swelling, and discharge from the incision. Also, keep tabs on how your dog is acting. Neutering can cause some soreness, but there shouldn’t be any unbearable pain. If your dog is frequently whimpering, whining, or crying, take them to the veterinarian (before you do, make sure it’s not because they want the cone off).

It also helps to know that when a dog is in pain, they may lash out or become more aggressive than usual. If your dog is suddenly more aggressive or moody, it wouldn’t hurt to take them to the veterinarian.

6. Monitor Your Dog

As we all know, when a wound is healing, it starts to itch. This will happen to your dog. But, since they’re wearing a cone and won’t be able to scratch it, they may start to get frustrated.

Watch out for your dog trying to scratch at their stitches in weird ways, such as crawling on the floor or other surfaces or objects.

Healing Takes Time

As you can tell, healing takes time. Although the cone is critical in the healing process, it’s not the only thing. Remember, your dog is uncomfortable and they don’t know why. Be sure to follow those six tips to make this process as easy as possible for your pup.

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