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My Dog Got Neutered and Keeps Crying: What To Do & When To Worry

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A dog that just got neutered and keeps crying can be experiencing pain or a reaction to anesthesia. Pain medication, best practice post-surgery care, and your love can boost your dog’s recovery and reduce crying. 

Neutering is a surgical procedure that can cause discomfort and requires an anesthetic. Dogs react differently to anesthesia, but common reactions include crying, barking, and sleepiness. 

But when is your dog’s post-neutering crying normal, and when do you need to call the vet?

In this article, you will learn the answer to this question. You will also learn the procedure and effects of anesthesia, and practical tips to help you care for your dog after it gets neutered. 

Why Is My Dog Whining After Neutering? 

Newly neutered dogs cry due to pain, side effects of anesthesia or pain medication, confusion, feeling cold, or anxiety. 

There are many reasons why dogs whine and cry. When your dog gets neutered, they go through surgery. Pain from the surgery and anesthesia both affect their short-term well-being.

Here are common reasons why dogs cry after neutering: 

  1. Pain 
  2. Anesthesia side effect 
  3. Medication side effects 
  4. Confusion and Anxiety
  5. Feeling Cold 

There’s also a chance that the whining has nothing to do with the surgery.

1. Pain 

Dog in Pain while sleeping

Excessive crying after surgery can indicate that your dog is in pain. 

Here are some other common signs your dog is in pain:

  • Dog is unwilling or unable to move.
  • Dog cries when changing position. 
  • Dog cries when being lifted.
  • Dog shies away from family members.

Contact the vet if you suspect your dog is in pain. If that’s the case, your vet can prescribe pain meds or increase the dosage.

2. Anesthesia Side Effect 

Anesthesia

Anesthesia depresses brain function. It takes control of the nervous system while other medications render dogs unconscious. 

Anesthesia ensures that dogs don’t feel pain or have memories of the surgery.[1] 

It is a groundbreaking medical intervention, but it is not without risks or side effects. 

An estimated 1 in 100 000 animals react negatively to anesthesia. Some reactions are mild, but in rare cases, dogs have experienced a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. [2]

One of the most common anesthesia side effects is crying. This happens within the first hours after surgery[3]. Dogs can also be sleepy for 12 -24 hours after anesthesia.[4]

3. Side Effects of Medication

Dogs can cry as a side effect of pain medication. Speak to your vet about changing medications if you suspect the medication is not working or harming your dog. Vets can change the medication or dosage.[5]

4. Confusion and Anxiety  

Dog Confusion and anxiety

Dogs can cry when feeling confused and anxious after surgery. Some dogs experience dysphoria – temporary memory loss caused by anesthesia.[6] 

Dysphoria makes dogs unable to recognize their owners until the condition has worn off. This can be distressing and cause dogs to cry.

5. Feeling Cold 

Anesthesia can cause dogs to feel cold. Dogs have to regain temperature control after sedation.[7] 

During surgery, their body temperature is maintained using heaters and blankets. Keep your dog warm in the car ride home and make sure his recovery bed is cozy.  

What Happens When a Dog Is Neutered? 

Neutering is a surgical procedure in which both testicles are removed to sterilize a male dog. The surgery takes place under anesthetic.

A vet examines the dog before the procedure. If the dog is in good health, an anesthetic is administered. 

An intravenous catheter is then used to deliver anesthetic and fluids during the procedure. A breathing tube inserted in the dog’s windpipe (trachea) provides oxygen and anesthetic gas. 

The vet makes a small incision in front of the scrotum, removes the testicles, and stitches the incision closed with absorbable sutures.[8] 

How to Stop Your Dog from Crying After Being Neutered

Reduce your dog’s crying after neutering, follow the prescribed pain management, using a protective e-collar, and limiting physical activity until the dog is cleared by a vet. It also helps to make sure your dog is warm, comfortable, and receives your gentle affection.  

Dogs take 5 – 10 days to recover from neutering.[8]

Ask your vet about pain medication and administer it as prescribed to manage pain and reduce crying. Keep your dog warm and limit its movement to ease pain and reduce infection risk. 

Show your dog some love and gentle affection to ease post-anesthesia-related anxiety. Talk to your dog in a soothing voice and stroke it gently. Ask the vet about sedatives if your dog is struggling with anxiety. 

Offer your dogs a small comforting meal and water, but don’t worry if your dog doesn’t have an appetite.  

Related: Dog Panting After Surgery: 3 Reasons Why & Aftercare Tips

What Happens When a Dog Is Neutered

How to Boost a Neutered Dog’s Recovery At Home 

The time it takes for neutered dogs to recover from surgery depends on the post-surgical care. The at-home recovery goals are to minimize the risk of infection, follow the prescribed pain management protocol, and monitor for complications. 

Helping your dog recover from neutering boils down to three simple at-home recovery goals: 

  1. Minimize the risk of infection. 
  2. Manage pain and promote healing. 
  3. Look out for complications. 

1. Minimize Risk of Infection

Follow the vet’s instructions for giving antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Always finish a course of antibiotics. 

Ensure your dog wears a prescribed cone or E-collar to stop it from licking or biting the incision. 

Make sure your dog’s bed and bedding are clean. Do not bathe your dog or allow the incision to get wet for the first two weeks or until the vet says it is safe.[5]  

2. Manage Pain and Promote Healing 

Medication Side Effect

Give your dog pain medication as prescribed by the vet. Restrict your dog’s physical activity and give your dog a calm and cozy space to recover.   

Contact the vet if your dog has not been prescribed pain medication and is crying. Do not give your dog pain medication you have at home without consulting a vet first. 

Speak to your vet about changing the medication or dosage if your dog is whining in pain despite being on pain medication.  

Limit your dog’s physical activity[9] for two weeks to aid the healing process:  

  • No jumping 
  • No running
  • No climbing stairs
  • No playing with other dogs
  • No playing rough with family members 

When taking your dog out for a potty break, use a short leash and avoid areas with stairs or carry your dog over them.[10]

Ask the vet about sedatives if you are struggling to restrict your dog’s physical activities.

It can help to keep your dog in a confined space, like a small room or dog pen. 

Use clean bedding to reduce the risk of post-surgical infection and place your dog’s bed far from other pets and young children. If possible, set it up near you or another family member in a calm space, like a quiet home office. Keeping your dog near to you also allows you to monitor it closely for any signs of complication. 

3. Look Out For Complications 

Look Out For Complications

Monitor your dog’s potty breaks and look out for unusual behavior or sudden health problems. 

Call the vet if the following problems arise:

  • The Incision: Get your dog to the vet if the incision has opened, redness and swelling have increased, or if a discharge or foul odor is coming from the incision.
  • Urination: Call the vet if your dog doesn’t urinate within the first 12 hours at home. 
  • Defecation: Contact the vet if you notice your dog straining to defecate, but don’t worry if your dog doesn’t defecate in the first 48 hours. Anesthesia and medication can slow down the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Sleep: Call the vet if your dog sleeps excessively and is not walking up easily 24 hours after surgery.
  • Prolonged pain: Call the vet if your dog is still in pain after a week. For most dogs, discomfort is gone after a week.
  • Eating: Get your dog to the vet if it is vomiting after every meal, but don’t worry if he doesn’t eat much in the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Rare reactions: Get to the vet if your dog has a seizure, collapses, or is struggling to see. These can be signs of rare adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Related: Dog Shaking After Surgery

Conclusion

Dogs cry after neutering because they’re in pain. The surgery itself and the following restriction also causes frustrations, resulting in crying and whining. Side effects of sedation and pain medication can also alter your dog’s regular behavior, causing the crying.

Responsible veterinary practices take every precaution to ensure a dog’s well-being during surgery. When you take your dog home, the responsibility of managing your dog’s pain and boosting his healing process lies with you. 

The good news is that you now know what to do. If you have any doubts, your vet is a phone call away. 

About Monique Warner

Monique is an avid dog lover who grew up with dogs, cats, and budgies as pets. She has worked as a pet sitter and dog walker. With her passion for dogs and pets alike, she writes articles with the intention of helping pet owners solve their biggest struggles.

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