Neutering is often the best thing you can do for your pup. If you have no plans to breed your dog, neutering can lower their chances of developing various cancers, prostate problems, and other health complications. But it can also lead to behavioral changes.
It’s common for recently neutered dogs to act fearful, hostel, or even aroused. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your pup through this trying time. It’s time to grab the recovery cone and get the facts to help your dog start feeling like itself again.
Is your dog acting weird after neutering? Read on to find out why and what you can do.
What Behavioral Changes Can You Expect?
Strange behavior after neutering dog is exhibited in a variety of ways. So, while one dog may gravitate toward their bed and avoid playtime, another may exhibit combative or nervous behavior. Additionally, if you notice strange dog behavior after neutering, don’t ignore the fact that they may be experiencing issues separate from the neutering. To learn more, visit our post answering the question, “why is my dog acting weird?”
Generally, there are four frequently occurring behaviors to look out for:
Additionally, your dog may act more excitable or even confused upon first coming out of the veterinary office. While this behavior may be a short-term result of the anesthesia or pain medication, it could also hint toward a more long-term behavioral change.
Immediately after surgery, dogs are often irritable. It’s easy to imagine being a little testy after waking up from an extended nap, and they often will feel disoriented and confused.
The problems arise when the aggressive behavior lingers for days or even weeks after the surgery. In these cases, this type of behavior may be a result of any of the following:
- Post-surgical pain – The vet will administer long-lasting pain killers to keep your dog comfortable after the surgery. These drugs typically wear off after 12-24. However, your vet may also prescribe additional painkillers to give your dog at home. It’s expected for discomfort to last for a few days after surgery but if your dog continues to feel pain after a week, it may be a sign that something more serious is occurring. As such, consult your vet if you notice redness, swelling, or discharge near the surgery site.
- Stranger danger – After a stressful surgery, your dog may be a little wearier around people they don’t know. This can manifest as barking at strangers on the street, growling at new people in your home, or even trying to bite you or other house guests.
- Male dog issues – Following the procedure, some dogs, particularly those that are male, may have aggression issues around other male dogs. That’s because when a male dog is neutered, testosterone production stops, which may make it difficult for your dog to connect to other good boys.
However, most dog aggression is not a result of hormonal imbalance but a type of fear reaction. Growling, barking, or acting intimidating could be your pup’s way of trying to act tough when they’re actually agitated and panicked.
As such, keep a close eye on your dog in the weeks after their surgery to help identify what triggers their aggressive behavior.
Is your dog spending more time in its bed than usual or are you finding vomit in the living room when you wake up in the morning? Nausea is a frequent post-surgery side effect in dogs as well as humans. As with all puppy health problems it should be closely monitored for the safety of your pooch.
Some key reasons for nausea after neutering include:
- Anesthetic – The anesthetic used to keep your dog unconscious and comfortable during surgery can cause some serious stomach problems. These powerful drugs are known to upset puppy tummies and even cause vomiting. It can take several hours for the anesthesia to completely leave your pup’s body. In the meantime, you may have one sick puppy on your hands.
- Empty stomach – Your vet most likely asked you not to feed your dog before coming in for the surgery. This preventative measure can also lead to nausea following the operation. With an empty stomach, your dog might try to scarf down a full bowl of food as quickly as possible. Avoid this by providing small amounts of food over a long period until you’re certain the nausea has passed.
It’s normal for your dog to experience nausea the first day after surgery. However, if vomiting persists, you should consult with your vet immediately. Consistent vomiting can lead to dehydration and may be accompanied by abdominal pain, feelings of depression, weakness, and poor appetite.
A dog needs to rest after surgery. While neutering is a minimally invasive procedure that’s performed daily in veterinary offices, it can still take a lot out of a dog. Don’t be surprised if your pup wants to take an extra-long nap or even sleeps through the rest of the day.
But, if your pup exhibits low energy levels for several days following the surgery, it may indicate that something is inhibiting the recovery process. Likewise, there may be an underlying issue if the lethargy begins to manifest in other ways, like:
- Depression – Dogs can start to feel down in the dumps for any number of reasons. Depression in dogs often manifests as disinterest in activities they previously enjoyed, such as playing fetch in the backyard or going on walks. Monitor your pup closely. If they’re spending too much time laying on their belly and avoiding their favorite chew toys, you may be dealing with doggy depression.
- Disinterest in food – A weak appetite is one of the most common signifiers of an animal in distress. Dogs are typically voracious eaters, happy to chow down on whatever is in their bowl (and whatever table scraps they can get their paws on). If your dog starts skipping meals, it’s time to get the professionals involved.
Judge your dog by how they acted before the surgery. If they’ve always preferred an evening on the couch over an extra-long walk, perhaps their low energy is nothing new. But if your marathon runner pup hasn’t left the doggy bed, it could be cause for concern.
On the other end of the dog mental health spectrum, there’s nervousness and unease. It may surprise you that these people-pleasing, loyal companions deal with feelings of uncertainty regularly, but it’s actually a regular occurrence among furry friends.
After surgery, your dog’s fear drive may be significantly heightened, resulting in problems like:
- Separation unease – Is your puppy finding it hard to be alone? After being neutered some dogs suffer from separation unease and are unable to relax without their human companion nearby. This can make it rather difficult to go to work, buy groceries, or do just about anything without your dog.
- Excessive barking – Nervousness can manifest in strange ways. While it’s not uncommon to see a dog bark at a car, a mail person, or another dog on the street, nervous dogs often bark at nothing. Woofing or even scratching at the walls is a sure sign of nervousness and discomfort.
- Hiding – While this is typically thought of as a feline behavior, some dogs seek out hiding spots when they’re dealing with emotional trouble. Whether they’re behind the bed, under the desk, or tucked behind some furniture, you can let your dog enjoy their hiding space for a while, but if it goes on too long, consider seeking veterinary support.
Once you’ve picked up your pup from the vet and tucked them into their bed, it may be beneficial to give your dog space to calm down after the surgery and adjust to any hormonal changes they may be experiencing. If they’re already prone to skittish or loner behavior, it may heighten during this time.
Be patient, give your pup plenty of TLC when they’re in the mood, and they’ll most likely return to their snuggly selves when they’re fully recovered. Maybe even treat them to our dog birthday cake recipe!
How To Help Your Dog After Neutering
Knowing what’s bothering your pup is just the first step. If you’re like most dog owners, you’ll want to take an active step toward relieving your pup of their discomfort. While some aspects of post-surgery pain and stress are a waiting game, there’s plenty you can do in the meantime to make the whole ordeal easier for your pooch.
Consider these ways to help your dog after neutering:
- Natural supplements – Today, dogs can enjoy the benefits of hemp oil without any worry of psychoactivity. Hemp CBD dog treats may be a great way to ease nervousness and offer a variety of health benefits to your pup. Plus, CBD for dogs is a safe and natural option.
- Create a comfortable environment – For the best possible recovery, your dog needs rest and relaxation. That means no screaming kids, no wild parties, and no rough play. Ensure your pooch’s doggy bed is extra fluffy, pick out a few stuffed animals, and don’t be stingy with the treats. This is your dog’s time to truly kick back and act like a couch pup-tato.
- Proper protection and care – It may be a sad sight to see your dog waddle around the house wearing a cone or a recovery suit, but it’s for their own good. Don’t give in to those big beautiful puppy eyes—if you skip the protection, your dog may mess with the surgery site and potentially rip their stitches, which can cause more pain and lead to another, potentially uncomfortable, visit to the vet. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the incision to ensure it’s healing properly.
- Request additional help – If your dog’s strange behavior is making you nervous, it never hurts to ask a professional. While you can always bring your dog to the vet in the case of an emergency, simply calling or consulting with a vet can be enough to set your mind at ease. Plus, you may be able to pick up a few more tricks to aid your dog in their recovery.
Remember, most strange behavior after neutering is the result of mental and emotional discomfort, as opposed to physical. While this is still a serious issue and can manifest in physical ways, it also means that if you take care of your dog and give them the support they need, they can make a fast and full recovery.
Now’s the time to show your four-legged friend that you’re their best friend, too.
Take Your Dog From Strange to Serene with Canna-Pet
After neutering, dog behavior can change in a variety of ways. With a little understanding of what your dog is going through, plus some simple tips to assist them in their time of need, you can keep their downtime to a minimum.
If you’re looking for the best way to cheer up your pup and aid in their recovery, consider Canna-Pet.
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- Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital. How long will my dog be in pain after neutering? https://www.sharonlakes.com/site/blog-south-charlotte-vet/2021/06/15/manage-dog-pain-after-neutering
- Dog Corner. Why Is My Dog Acting Weird After Being Neutered?. https://dogcorner.net/why-is-my-dog-acting-weird-after-being-neutered/