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If you’re thinking about neutering your cat or dog you may be wondering what’s involved and how you might make the process as easy as possible. We also have other articles on the benefits of neutering cats and neutering dogs and what changes you might see afterwards if you’re interested. For now though let’s see what you can do to help before and after the day itself.
Talk to your vet/nurse team. Make sure you understand exactly what is involved and why they might be asking you to do certain things.
Follow the pre-operative advice. You might be told to withhold food from the night before and water from the morning of the op. This is important for anaesthetic safety so make sure food is out of reach. Don’t feel guilty. It’s one night and it’s most certainly for their own good.
Keep your cat in! Even if your cat is always home in the morning you can bet that the day you really need them to be there they will be off galavanting round the neighbourhood. It might be a pain to keep them in but we have to cancel and delay plenty of cat neutering operations because of cats that have gone out at exactly the wrong time!
Toys, blankets and home comforts. Ask your vet if they’re happy for you to take your pet’s own bed or their favourite toy in with them. The smell of home can help them feel happier while they are away from you.
The cone of shame! You may be asked to put a surgical collar on your pet. These are notoriously annoying for everyone concerned but the few days they need to be worn are small fry compared to an opened up abdominal wound and all the complications as well as the extra expense that come with it.
Exercise. You might be told to keep your cat in for one or more nights after the op and your dog may not be allowed off the lead for a couple of weeks. Neutering female pets may be routine but is still fairly major abdominal surgery even if done with keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). Follow this advice to help them heal properly, The better the recovery the quicker they’ll be back tearing round the park.
Go for your post-op checks. These are important for spotting whether there are any issues with the wound or signs of infection.
Give the medication you are given. You may be given pain-relief medication for your pet post-op. Your vet will try and make sure this is as easy to give as possible. Do your best because cats and dogs that are pain-free will bounce back much quicker than those that can’t face the idea of moving or eating.
Be prepared for their friend to act differently. If you have other pets in the house they sometimes act quite differently when the other pet comes home. The hospital environment makes them smell weird and the cone can scare other pets. Give it a day or two and they’ll soon be friends again. Don’t force it.
Talk to your vet about feeding. Your pet may need some special, easily digested food the night of the operation but longer term it might be time to change to a food for neutered cats or dogs. Don’t ever change food without talking to your vet. Especially if your pet is still growing.
It’s totally normal as an owner to feel guilty about neutering their pet. Imagine how guilty I felt when it was actually me that castrated both my beautiful dogs, Pan and Badger! The thing to remember is that it is soon over and the benefits for both you and your pets are many.