Exercise after spaying or neutering a dog

The recovery time for a dog after being desexed is dependent on whether they are a male or a female. The desexing operation for a female dog is more involved and recovery time will be longer.

It is important for both genders to limit activity such as walking, running, playing and jumping after being desexed to avoid injury or tearing their stitches. Light exercise can actually help with the healing process.

We will discuss exercise after neutering and spaying below.

How long after neutering can I walk my male dog

The operation for male dogs is not as involved as it only requires the testicles to be removed. This is referred to as castration. Exercise for a male dog after desexing should be limited for a week with walks on a leash and no rough play.

However, male dogs generally are fine to return to their normal activity relatively soon after neutering. Generally, this would be within two weeks. Check with your vet if you have any concerns.

The skin incision should have healed within 14 days. Some vets may use dissolving stitches. If they haven’t you will need to take your dog back to have them removed.

During these first two weeks, it is best to limit exercise to casual short walks gradually increasing the time. After two weeks your dog should be fine for returning to the types of activities they were doing prior to the operation. This can include jumping, playing, and running.

Don’t immediately jump into high energy activities as your dog will have loss a little bit of fitness and conditioning from the two weeks of little activity. Gradually build back up to prevent any injuries.

How long after spaying can I walk my female dog

With a female dog, the surgery is done in the abdomen and is a major surgical procedure. Spaying is a routine operation. If you have any concerns during the postoperative period don’t hesitate to speak to your vet.

The skin incision will be healed within about 14 days. However, the inner wall of the abdomen will still be healing. For the two or three days after spaying it is best not to leave your dog alone if possible. This is the most critical time in the healing process.

After the two week period, you can gradually increase the distance of the walks. It is best not to rush back into excessive activity such as rough play, running, and jumping. Ideally, keeping your female dog on a leash or making sure she isn’t too active when off-leash for about four weeks after desexing.

How long after spaying or neutering can my dog play or exercise

In both cases, the skin incision will be fully healed within two weeks. With a female dog, the healing process within the abdomen will still be taking place.

For a female dog, it is best to give no exercise during the first two weeks and for the following two weeks, on-leash exercise is recommended. Even going into the yard to go toilet is probably best done on a leash to prevent them from charging around.

Running, jumping or over-excited play should be avoided. The last thing you want is your dog to pull the stitches resulting in an unexpected trip to the vet. You may want to consider having your dog in a crate to help prevent them from being too active.

exercise after spayingMonitor your dog during these first few weeks to ensure there is no infection around the wound or they are showing any ill effects while recovering.

Consult with your vet should you have any concerns. Your vet will most likely give your dog pain relief, so they probably will be feeling ok. You may assume that your dog may want to rest after surgery. Often they may still want to be active and play.

For female dogs, their metabolism will slow up after spaying. You should reduce their daily food consumption by as much as 25 percent fewer calories than before the operation to maintain her body weight.

Dog too active after spay

This period with no or little exercise can be frustrating for a dog. Especially a high energy or very active dog. You don’t want your dog to be too active after being spayed.

It is important to provide mental stimulation more so they ever during this time to prevent boredom. Read “Mental stimulation and mind enrichment for dogs” for more information. Mental exercise can help burn and tire a dog just as well as physical activity.

Puzzle toys are probably one of the best ways of providing this much needed mental enrichment. For my most recommended interactive puzzle toys see here.

Chewing is also very beneficial for your dog during this period. Chewing not only helps to keep a dog occupied. When a dog chews it releases endorphins to the brain giving them a relaxing and calming feeling. To learn more about the benefits of chew toys here.

Care of the incision area

Some veterinarians will use dissolvable sutures and “skin glue” that absorbs away after two weeks.  Other vets will use silk, nylon or metal sutures that require a return visit to the vet’s office for removal after 10-14 days.

In either case, it is crucial to ensure the stitches don’t get wet. This obviously means no water activities or bathing until after the sutures are removed. It also means not letting them lay on wet grass.

Your dog must not be allowed to lick, scratch or disturb the incision area. Any disruption could lead to infection or the need to re-suture. If necessary, you may need to put a cone on them to stop them from doing this.

There may be some swelling, redness and the development of hard tissue as the incision area begins to heal. This is normal. Bleeding or other discharge could be a sign of infection and should be quickly seen by your vet. Don’t put any cream or anything on the wound without checking with your vet first.

Dogs may initially be drowsy or sluggish after surgery but should improve within 24-48 hours. Consult your vet if they do not improve within a couple of days . Also be aware of any lack of appetite, failure to go to the toilet, decreased mobility or a lethargic appearance. These could be signs that something is not right.

In summary – Exercise after spaying a dog

It is recommended that your dog is not given exercise for the first two weeks after the desexing procedure and limited exercise, preferably on a leash for the following two weeks.

It is important to provide mental stimulation to prevent your dog from becoming bored and frustrated while on a limited exercise period. Mental exercise and chewing can tire a dog in much the same way as physical activity and help to keep them calm.


  • Joseph Coleman

    A lifelong writer and proud dog dad. Joseph started this blog dedicated to helping other dog owners find accurate information on how to keep their pets at their healthiest through exercise and nutrition. His passion for all things canine shines through in his writing, and he believes that every dog deserves the best possible care. If you're a dog owner looking for reliable advice on how to keep your pup healthy and happy, be sure to check out Joseph's work.