A day in the life of a bitch spay

Updated: Feb 9

This is one of the most common operations we see in practice, it is also known as neutering.


The patient will arrive at the surgery and is dropped off in the morning and usually will be ready to go home later that afternoon. It is very unlikely a sleep over at the vets will be required.


Many clients I'm sure will wonder what actually happens when they drop off their fury friend and leave her for the day. I will give you a time frame of what happens at my practice which is pretty standard in all practices to give you a wee insight.




  • 9am- Your wee girl has had no food from 9pm the night before and she arrives with you at the practice. She is greeted by one of the Veterinary nurses who quickly makes friends with their patient for the day. The nurse will go through a consent form with the owner explaining the general anaesthetic, surgical procedures that will be carried out and any applicable costs or other procedures required.

  • 9:10am- She is weighed and placed in a comfy kennel, which is labeled with her name and owners details.

  • 9:30- The vet will prepare some sedation medication based on the dogs weight, this also includes a pain killer. This injection is given usually into the dogs muscle and afterwards plenty of reassuring cuddles are given by the nurse. The dog is placed back in her comfy bed for the sedation to take effect.

  • 10:00- She is suitably drowsy now and we will carry her to a special table where we can induce the general anaesthetic. As the dog is drowsy now she is usually not really aware of this step and in a relaxing world of snooze. A small area of fur is clipped from a front leg and an injection is given into her vein- this is an anaesthetic drug which lasts long enough to place a rubber tube down the dogs throat. This tube delivers the anaesthetic drugs throughout the surgery.

dog under anaesthetic
  • 10:10- We clip the hair in the site of the surgery using electric clippers and then give the area a good clean with a solution called hibi scrub which makes the skin sterile for the procedure. The majority of the hair over the lower tummy is clipped off.

  • 10:30-The Vet will scrub their hands with special solution to kill any germs and put on surgical gloves, the dog is moved in the the surgical theatre and is laid on her back. The nurse will continuously monitor the dogs heart rate, breathing rate and a few other parameters that help her maintain the correct depth on anaesthetic gas to provide throughout the operation.

  • 10:40- The Vet will carry out the surgery. This involves an incision in the lower abdomen. Both ovaries and the womb is removed and then the wound stitched up.

  • 11.10-The nurse will turn off the anaesthetic gas and give the dog oxygen until she starts to wake up. Once the tube has been removed from the dogs throat we place her carefully back

in her kennel, making sure the room is nice and warm and she is tucked up in a blanket. The nurse will sit with her as he becomes more awake giving lots of gentle strokes and reassurance.

  • 11:45- The wee one is awake and sitting in her kennel, still a bit wobbly on her feet from the anaesthetic and we continue to monitor her and need to keep an eye on her for the next few hours until we are happy the anaesthetic has worn off .

  • 2:00pm- We offer her a bite to eat and some water and check her wound and take her outside to use the bathroom.

  • 3:00-4:00pm- Its home time!!! The owner arrives and the nurse will discuss the procedure and medication she will need for the next few days.

She will need to go home with a 'cone of shame' as we don't want her licking at her wound and causing an infection. She will need to take it easy for 7-10 days with limited exercise and plenty of rest. The nurse will arrange a post op check for a few days time so we can check the wound is healing well and answer any further questions.The wee one will probably be quite quiet the day of surgery when you get home and will like to take it easy. A nice relaxing evening in front of the TV is probably what she will fancy.

Some dogs can get quite distressed with the buster collar and they can bash into things, scrape walls and your legs!! some people prefer these body suits to prevent their dogs licking at the wounds. We have had many owners opt for these over the 'cone of shame'.


So that's it, a routine procedure, in and out on the same day and a relatively quick recovery time.

This procedure is advised from around 6 months of age- usually a bit later in bigger dogs. If a dog comes in to season before she is spayed then usually it is recommended you wait 3 months before surgery. This means all the blood vessels are at their smallest and makes the surgery safer.


Sometimes after a dog has been in season, 2-3 months later they can have a 'false pregnancy' where the dogs body believes it is pregnant when it isn't. It is triggered by the changes in hormones. The bitch may show a change in behaviour and even produce milk. You should not get your dog spayed during a false pregnancy and wait until it has finished.


Getting a female dog spayed has a number of heath benefits and if you are not planning on breeding your dog is advisable. Some of the benefits are listed bellow.

  • Eliminate the risk of pyometra (womb infection, click for more info)

  • Eliminate risk of ovarian and womb cancer

  • Reduces chance of malignant mammary cancer

  • Stops unwanted pregnancy

  • Stops bleeding during season and behavioural changes

  • Stops false pregnancy

So in a nut shell I personally advise owners that have no intention of breeding their dog that getting their female dog spayed is definitely worth some careful consideration based on the health benefits listed above. I hope this post helps give you an insight into what actually happens when you drop your beloved pet off , as I know what an anxious time it is for the owners and I hope this gives you some reassurance.




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