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Do dogs get depressed after being neutered?

Do dogs get depressed after being neutered?

Neutering is a procedure that is often recommended for pet dogs. It’s easy to see understand why given the benefits of the procedure.

First off, neutering your dog means you don’t have to worry about puppies anymore. Although puppies are adorable, caring for an entire litter is not something every pet owner is capable of.

If you cannot afford to care for puppies, opting to neuter your adult dog is the responsible decision.

Neutering also presents some useful health benefits. Neutered dogs are less likely to develop prostate disease. They also have a greater chance of avoiding testicular cancer.

Still, neutering can have some downsides. It can bring about changes in your dog’s behavior that can be troubling. Feel free to continue reading if you’re curious about the changes that neutering might cause.

Do Dogs Get Depressed After Being Neutered?

I remember talking to a friend the first time I was caring for my own dog. The topic of neutering dogs was brought up during the conversation and they told me that it could change my pet.

To be honest, I was scared to hear that. Prior to that conversation, I never thought twice about neutering my dog. That talk caused me to harbor some doubt.

I sought clarification from my veterinarian and they confirmed that neutering can indeed cause behavior and mood changes in dogs. Those mood changes aren’t automatically bad. It’s possible that your dog might become calmer after the procedure.

However, the mood changes can also be negative. Your dog might suddenly become more aggressive after neutering. Dogs might also suffer from depression after they are neutered.

Why Is My Dog Depressed After Being Neutered?

Depression is indeed one of the potential side effects your dog might experience after he is neutered. So, why does that happen? I’ve gone ahead and detailed the potential explanations below.

Hormonal Imbalance

Your dog’s reproductive organs play a role in maintaining the hormonal balance of its body. After those organs are removed, there’s a chance that your pet’s hormones will be all out of whack.

Hormonal imbalance can cause a variety of changes. Like I said earlier, it can cause your dog to become more aggressive.

The hormonal imbalance can also cause your dog to experience a bout of depression. That depression will likely persist until your dog’s hormones return to regular levels.

Lingering Pain

Dogs in pain will be in no mood to hop around and play. They will just curl up and try to endure the pain as much as possible.

Neutering should not be a painful procedure. Even so, your pet may experience some degree of post-surgery discomfort. Until that pain goes away, your pet will likely be in a gloomy mood.


When was the last time you had surgery? If you’ve undergone a procedure before, you’re likely familiar with how stressful it can be. Prepping for surgery can be stressful even if you know what to expect.

Now, imagine what the experience is like for your dog. He’s going to a place he’s not familiar with and he also has to interact with strangers. On top of that, he doesn’t know exactly what’s going on.

Neutering may not be a painful procedure for your pet, but it can still be stressful. Don’t be surprised if dealing with all that stress causes your dog to feel depressed.

What to Expect After Neutering a Dog?

The hours and days right after your dog is neutered can be pretty weird. Prepare yourself by knowing what is likely to happen after the procedure is completed.

Neutered Dogs Don’t Stay at the Vet for Too Long

Don’t book your dog’s neutering on the same day you have work or other errands to run. During this time, you should make yourself available for your dog.

Stay at the clinic throughout the procedure so you can know right away when it’s over. You should also be ready to take your dog home soon.

More often than not, newly neutered dogs are discharged from the clinic on the same day they underwent the procedure. At most, you may have to wait until the next day to take your dog home.

Behavioral Changes

Count on your dog’s typical behavior changing to some degree after he is neutered. As we’ve already mentioned, your dog may suffer from depression after the procedure. He could also become more anxious or aggressive.

The changes to his behavior could also manifest physically. You may notice that he is not as energetic as before. Even food, may not do much to excite your pet.

Rest assured that those changes are normal. That said, you should still take note of those changes and how long they last.


Your dog may vomit after he eats his first meal post-surgery. That is not a common occurrence, but it’s also not a sign that your dog is in mortal danger.

Vomiting can be caused by over-eating and drinking too much. Now, if that vomiting persists long after the procedure, you should consult with your veterinarian.

Lack of Defecation

Dog owners should also know that their pet’s pooping habits can change after surgery. To be more specific, newly neutered dogs may not poop at all.

Your dog may not expel solid waste for up to three days after neutering. That is still within the range of normal changes following the procedure. If your dog still isn’t pooping after three days, then there might be something wrong.

How Do I Comfort My Dog After Neutering?

A neutered dog is going to need his master’s help during the first few days after the surgery. Help your pet out by heeding the recommendations below.

Prepare a Rest Area for Your Dog

Your dog will want to sleep often after getting neutered. Make his sleeping time more comfortable by preparing a rest area.

Wash his bed if he has one and place it in a spot he frequents. Adjust the temperature so it’s just right for your pet as well.

Also, put your dog’s food and water bowls near his rest area. That way, he won’t have to walk around too much just to eat or drink.

Ease Up on Any Activities

The best thing for your pet following surgery is plenty of rest. Don’t worry about exercise for now and let your dog sleep in. You should also avoid playing with your dog while he is still recovering.

Monitor Your Dog’s Food and Water Intake

Dogs shouldn’t eat or drink too much right after being neutered. As I mentioned earlier, eating or drinking excessively can cause your newly neutered dog to vomit.

For now, watch over how much your dog eats and drinks. You should also shy away from the treats for a while.

Give Your Dog Any Prescribed Medication

The veterinarian may also provide you with another way to comfort your dog. Following the surgery, they may hand over some medicine. That medicine should help ease any pain and discomfort that your dog might experience.

Stick to the vet’s instructions for giving the medicine to your dog and no issues should arise.

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Recover After Being Neutered?

Generally speaking, dogs don’t need that much time to recover from neutering. Your dog might already be back to normal just 24 hours after the procedure. There’s also a chance that he will exhibit post-surgery symptoms for two to three days.

If your pet is still dealing with symptoms after three days, you should bring him back to the veterinarian.

By the way, you don’t want your dog running around even though he is back to normal. His surgical wounds may still be healing and they could open up if your dog is too active. Avoid playing too much with your dog for at least 10 days after the surgery so his wounds can heal completely.