Programs & Services

Spay/Neuter Surgery Discharge Instructions

Click here to download a printable PDF version of the Sacramento SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic Discharge Instructions

Surgeons performing spay/neuter surgeries

Post Operative Instructions

  1. No running, jumping, playing swimming or other strenuous activity for 7 to 10 days.  Keep your pet quiet.  Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry and warm.  No baths during the recovery period.  Dogs must be walked on a leash and cats kept indoors.
  2. Check the incision site twice daily.  There should be no drainage.  Redness and swelling should be minimal.  Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision.  Bitter Apple may be used around BUT NOT ON the incision to discourage licking or biting at the incision line  If your animal is to be left alone at any time, we suggest that you purchase an E-Collar from the spay/neuter clinic or your local pet store.  The edge of the collar needs to be long enough to go past the tip of the nose.  The E-Collar will prohibit the pet from licking, biting or pulling at the suture area.
  3. Appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery.  Start by offering a small amount of water after 6PM.  If your pet keeps the water down, feed 1/3 to 1/2 normal feeding after 7PM.  If your pet vomits, then don’t feed again until tomorrow morning.  Do NOT change your pet’s diet at this time and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other people food during the recovery period.  This could mask post-surgical complications.
  4. There are no sutures to be removed unless otherwise specified.
  5. Your pet has received pain medication(s) that should help with pain control during the first 24 hours after surgery.  If your pet needs additional pain medication, please contact this office or your regular veterinarian for advice.
  6. If there are any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please contact this office at or call (916) 504-2812.  If there is an after hours emergency, contact your regular veterinarian.  Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours post-op, diarrhea or vomiting is not normal.  If any of these occur, your pet should be seen by a veterinarian.  Dogs may have a slight cough for a few days after surgery because of the endotracheal tube used during surgery.
  7. Male cats should have their cat litter replaced with shredded newspaper or pelleted recycled paper-type litter for 3 days after surgery.
  8. Female cats and dogs that are in heat need to be kept away from male cats and dogs for 10 days after surgery.
  9. Your pet may have received a green tattoo at or near her spay incision.  This is to show that she has been spayed and to prevent her from undergoing an unnecessary surgery in the future.


There may be additional instructions for your pet as outlined by our staff when your animal is picked up.

Please note that the Sacramento SPCA will treat at our clinic, at minimal cost, any post-operative complications resulting directly from the surgery if the above post-operative instructions are followed in full.  Your regular veterinarian must address illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery.  Please call for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern.  We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-op instructions or for contagious diseases for which the animal was not previously properly vaccinated.

If pets are left 15 minutes after the designated pick up time, a late fee of $7.50 will be added to your bill.

If pets are left 30 minutes after the designated pick up time, a boarding fee of $15.00 will be added to your bill.  You will be required to pick up your pet the following morning.