Help! My Dog’s Neuter Incision Is Open

Help! My Dogs Neuter Incision is Open

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Incisions that swell a bit aren’t necessarily alarming. This can happen if the dog licks his wound too much or moves around too much. It is normal for a little blood to leak from the wound but watch the dog closely to see if it stops. You should take him to the vet if the gap gets bigger and blood continues to leak out.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Help! My Dog’s Neuter Incision looks Open“.

It is natural to be worried after taking your pup home following neutering surgery. 

Help! My Dog’s Neuter Incision Is Open

Hes still dazed and hes giving you the stink eye because you took him to the vet and on top of that the incision looks awful. 

You think so at least. Is there anything you can do? what to do if dogs neuter incision opens?

Understanding how long it takes for a wound to heal what it should look like whats normal etc. requires an intensive post-surgery care course. 

All your questions are answered here. 

As a reminder if your incision is just slightly open and there is a clear or pink discharge you should not be alarmed. 

Read on while you relax!

How does a dog behave straight after surgery?

You can expect your dog to be disoriented after surgery and not his usual self. 

Anesthesia can have long-lasting effects up to 24 hours depending on what he received. 

Nevertheless there is also the psychological trauma he has endured. 

Even though the dog does not know hes been castrated going to the vet and being handled by strangers will make him confused.

In addition he might be experiencing some discomfort as the anti-pain medication administered during the surgery wears off. 

Donot try to give your dog human painkillers since they may be dangerous for your pet. If your veterinarian prescribed you some medication make sure you administer it as directed. 

You should give your pet some water as soon as you arrive at home but only a little otherwise he might vomit. 

Approximately half of what he normally eats should be offered after a few hours. 

You need not be concerned if he does not have much of an appetite this is normal. Donot worry about it. 

The following day he should be able to eat and drink normally.

How long should a neuter wound take to heal?

Your dogs age and size determine the length of time it takes for a neuter wound to heal. 

When neutered at a young age around two months puppies bounce back very quickly. 

By the next day they’ll be back to normal and the wound will heal within a few days. 

Due to the smaller size of a dog there will be fewer wounds to heal.

It generally takes between 10 and 14 days for a neutering incision to fully heal. 

Usually vets postpone neutering surgery for large breed dogs until they are one year old because they mature later. 

It will take longer for the incision to heal as a result of the larger incision. 

After neutering male dogs recover faster than female dogs. In spaying internal organs are removed including the uterus so the wounds are difficult to heal. 

What should a properly healed wound look like?

When you get home look at the incision wound closely. In general if your vet was happy with how the wound looked when you were sent home thats how it will look when its healed.

As an example of a wound that is healing properly here is what it should look like:

  • There should not be any gaps between the edges of the incision
  • Bright pink or just a little reddish should be the skins color
  • There is no problem with a small clear or pink discharge
  • You should expect some bruising and swelling around the incision site
  • There may be a small amount of blood leaking but it should stop after a 24 hour

What are the signs that an incision isn’t healing properly?

Several times a day check the wound after neutering surgery. Your veterinarian probably advised you to do this. Especially if its your first puppy you may worry yourself sick if you do not know what to expect. Despite this complications with this type of surgery are rare so theres no need to worry.

The following signs indicate that the wound may be causing problems:

  • Reddening of the skin around the incision
  • It becomes hot to touch the wound and the surrounding area
  • Incisions dripping blood or fluids excessively
  • Yellowish discharge or pus
  • The smell of foulness 

What should I do if the incision opens?

Incisions that swell a bit are not necessarily alarming. This can happen if the dog licks his wound too much or moves around too much. 

It is normal for a little blood to leak from the wound but watch the dog closely to see if it stops. Let the dog rest if the bleeding stops and there is no further gaping. He can be checked out at the vet the next day.

You should take him to the vet if the gap gets bigger and blood continues to leak out. A brightly colored subcutaneous tissue or swelling of the incision indicates that something is obviously wrong. The dog should be taken to the ER if necessary.

How should I stop my dog from licking the wound?

With the anesthetic wearing off the dog will be more inclined to lick the incision site as he feels pain and discomfort. Since he might open or become infected if he licks the wound you have to keep him under close supervision at all times.

Until the dogs wound has healed completely the vet probably gave him an Elizabethan cone aka the cone of shame. Dogs can be quite vocal about their displeasure however so this is easier said than done. The e-cone is for your dogs benefit so ignore his protests.

With that thing on some pet owners worry that the dog would not be able to eat. If you want to make eating easier for him you can raise his bowl on a small crate or something of the sort if you want to wear a cone around his neck.

When you take his cone off while he eats or goes potty keep him on a leash and keep him insight. The command to leave the wound should be given immediately if there is any attempt to lick at it.

When hes finished eating replace the collar.

What should I do if my dog can’t tolerate an e-collar?

Veterinarians often recommend Elizabethan collars for recovery dogs; however pets hate it when a lampshade is put over their necks. Know that there are options if you cannot stand to see your pooch in distress. Unlike e-cones inflatable collars are softer and do not restrict the dogs peripheral vision like traditional collars. 

Kong cushions for example are lightweight and comfortable to use. Furthermore its sturdy enough that the dog would not be able to destroy it unless of course he is very determined.

Soft cones are quite similar to cones of shame but they are made of soft plastic rather than hard plastic. In addition to being soft and padded the Comfy Cone allows the dog greater freedom of movement. 

For dogs that are more mellow these alternatives work well. Just so that he can lick that wound a rambunctious dog will twist his body in ways that seem impossible.

Post-surgical dog suits are another great alternative that covers the wound area so the dog cannot lick it. There is no risk of the dog ripping the suit open since it is like a onesie with a cap on the back.

A repurposed T-shirt can be made if you are good at working with your hands. Your upper legs are already drilled and you will need to make two additional holes for the lower legs. A safety pin or cap can be used to close the shirt. The problem with these shirts is that you can not keep an eye on the incision wound to see how its healing.

Should I exercise with my dog?

Dogs that have undergone neutering do not need to exercise after they have recovered. Instead the dog should be given a lot of rest and a lot of rest to prevent the wound from opening up. 

We recommend isolating the dog from other pets in the house and not letting him play or jump. You should barricade staircases in your house so your pet does not go up and down them. 

The dog may need to be created if necessary but ensure that hes comfortable. Make sure he has food water and toys he likes. Now would be the perfect time to give him a new toy preferably a puzzle so he will be distracted from the irritating suture he can not reach.

Also do not allow your dog to rub against rough surfaces as this could lead to the wound re-opening or getting infected.

Should I clean the wound and if so how?

During the first week following neutering surgery dogs should not be bathed. Additionally you should make sure that the wound does not get wet such as if it rains. 

It is not necessary to clean a wound that is healing properly. The wound can be cleaned with cotton balls or pads and plain warm water if it appears dirty despite your best efforts. Dislodging blood crust might trigger bleeding again so do not try to dislodge it. 

Donot use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on your incision. If you want a strong disinfectant that does not sting use beta-dine instead.

Dabbing the antiseptic is better than rubbing it on the wound.


Make sure someone is going to watch over your dog 24/7 at least for the first few days when you schedule his neutering surgery. Your dog may open the wound if he licks it. Donot let him lick it.

The wound may appear to have a small gap so do not be alarmed. Monitor it carefully over the next few hours. In the absence of bleeding or puss you can probably wait until the next day to see the vet if you’re still concerned.

Wounds that open up constantly swell and become bright red and hot should be considered alarming. See your veterinarian immediately.

You should rest a lot avoid physical exertion and give lots of love and affection to your dog after neutering. 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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