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Hernia In Dogs After Spaying (Treatmet, Recovery, Prevention, & More)

Key Takeaways

  • It is possible for dogs to have hernia after getting spayed. The most common cause for this is improper healing.
  • Hernias are tiny portions of an internal organ that poke out of the abdominal wall. It can happen after birth, surgeries, or a traumatic injury.
  • A vet will determine how to treat hernia based on his diagnosis. He may prescribe medications, or even do surgery.

Hernia in dogs after spaying is in fact a common incident. This is due to bad recovery process which disrupts the healing of the spay wound and the area around it.

There are several preventative measures you can take to help improve your pup’s health in the long term. Dog neutering or spaying is one of the best for them. If you don’t intend to breed your dog, I highly suggest you have your pooch neutered. 

This can prevent many problems like reproductive cancers and infections. Spayed dogs avoid many health conditions that an intact female dog will suffer from. However, all surgeries come with risks. One of those is a hernia after spaying. Read more as I go over what hernia is, how it can happen, and what you can do to help save your pet from this discomfort.


Spaying is the name for removing the entire reproductive system of your dog. This removes her uterus and ovaries entirely. Spaying can help keep your dog from going into heat and the risk of an accidental litter of puppies. This can also help prevent cancers and uterine infections. 

It is generally best to have your dog spayed before her first heat. This can be between 4 months for a small breed or 2 years for a giant like a Great Dane. Like all surgeries, spay surgery does have some risks. Since the surgery requires opening up the abdomen, there will be a risk of a hernia.

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What is a Hernia?

A hernia is when a small portion of an organ ends up outside the abdominal wall. 

Vet holding a puppy with hernia.

Some dogs are born with a small hole where their umbilical cord was located. A small part of the intestine or other abdominal organs can poke out. These are called umbilical hernia and typically seen not long after birth and will be located in the middle of the belly. 

Hernias can also happen after traumatic injuries like being hit by a car or being attacked by another dog. Finally, the layers of an incision to the abdominal wall can open up and cause a hernia [1]. 

Hernia After a Spay

Female dogs need to be kept quiet and calm after spay surgery. Your dog should wear a cone or some other device to keep your pup from touching the incision and possibly ripping out the stitches, avoiding post surgical complications

Some hernias can be caused by poor care by the surgical staff. However, the most common reason is the dog overexerting herself.

Your dog should also only be exercised while on a lead. This helps prevent your dog from overexerting herself and tearing her stitches and not healing properly. The most common cause for hernia in a dog after spay is too much exercise. This can include jumping or trying to run. Acute hernia could happen if your dog keeps tearing her stitches.

Dog with cone lying on pet bed after surgery.

A careful pet owner should make sure their dog is kept in an area where she can’t hurt herself while she recovers from spay surgery. For maximum comfort, provide the best dog crate your pup can have. You should also be sure that your dog doesn’t try to jump on the furniture. 

A spayed dog should have her incision checked regularly. If your dog keeps irritating the stitches and won’t tolerate an e-collar or cone, have your dog wear a onesie or dressing to help protect the incision. 

Telling if Your Dog has a Hernia

Finding a hernia in your dog after a spay surgery is a stressful experience. You may find a lump on your dog’s abdomen near the incision line. This is painful, so your pup may be upset—some dogs may need pain medication for this. When you check your dog’s incision closely and discover a hernia, you will need to take your dog to the vet. 

The cost can be a barrier, but today best pet insurance can help you get your pup the care she needs. Your vet can help decide what will be the best course of action.

A second surgery to repair the hernia may be required. Your vet can help determine if this is needed. 

Swelling can happen to an incision. Hernias tend to feel soft, while swelling can feel more firm. Since there are numerous causes for swelling after surgery, take your dog to the vet. 

Hernias can also change size and shape, unlike most inflammation after surgery. If you see the lump change in size, take the dog to the vet. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you notice your dog having trouble breathing or is vomiting, it is time to take her to the veterinarian immediately. This can mean an organ is being damaged. 

If the healing process seems to be slow, you should also schedule a check-up. There may be an unseen complication.

Other worrying symptoms include lack of appetite, trouble urinating, and the dog not being able to poop. All of these can harm your dog. 

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Most hernias are diagnosed radiographically. X-rays are the most common and accurate option. This lets your vet get a good look at what is going on with your dog. 

Many pet owners may be tempted to cut costs, but trust your vet. 


Even if your dog seems fine, hernias can be serious. Always take the dog to the vet. Your vet can tell what hernia treatment is needed.  

Spayed dogs can have many complications after surgery. Good dog owners will always keep on top of health problems so they can be fixed early.

Some hernias may require emergency surgery. Even if your dog seems fine, the hernia could get worse quickly. Other hernias can be managed with medication. The vet can see how your dog is healing and tell if she needs more help. 


If the hernia is caught early, your dog should be fine. While there are risks with surgery and medications, your vet will help make the risks as low as possible. 

If your dog required another surgery, it may be 4-6 weeks before she is recovered. Younger dogs will typically bounce back better than older dogs. 

If your dog needs medication such as anti-inflammatories, then it should be around a month. However, your vet will be able to give you a better time frame for the healing process depending on how your dog responds to the medicine.

Your dog will likely need one or two follow-up appointments to check how she is healing. You will likely have this scheduled a few weeks after treatment, but your vet will help you schedule the follow-ups. 

Hernias in Other Animals

Hernias are somewhat common in mammals. Since they can occur anytime an organ pushes past tissue or muscle, they are found in many animals.

Cats can experience hernias after surgery. Many animals can be born with hernias thanks to birth defects.

The diaphragm is essential to lung function and separates the intestines from the lungs. Sometimes animals can be born with or develop a hole in the diaphragm which can cause an organ to push up where it shouldn’t be. It can cause shortness of breath or heart problems since the lungs or heart can be compressed. Surgery is needed in most cases. 

Other hernias can develop around the body. Dogs can get perineal hernias located near the animal’s anus. This can cause issues with pooping, so if you see that, take the dog to the vet immediately. 

Humans can also get hernias. They are caused by the same issues that can cause hernias in your dog. You will likely notice it more quickly since you can feel the pain and express this to a doctor. 

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The best prevention is to keep your dog calm after surgery. However, this can be hard with energetic breeds. 

Engaging your dog mentally can help. Puzzle feeders and the best dog toys can be great ways to keep your dog calm and occupied. A gentle walk once your dog is feeling better can also help.

Be careful though, some dogs that are still on pain control can overexert themselves easily. Keep walks short until you are sure your dog is fine. 

You should also have a good space prepared for your dog to recover. Ideally, make sure she can’t jump on any furniture since she could rip her stitches jumping up and down. 


How do I know if my dog has a hernia after being spayed?

The most obvious sign is a lump near the incision. The lump will be soft and may change shape. Some hernias aren’t visible, so you may see signs of pain or problems with basic functions like breathing, eating, and eliminating.

Is it normal for my dog to have a lump after being spayed?

Surgical incisions can appear to have a lump thanks to inflammation. These do not get larger over time or feel soft. If you notice either of these at the incision site, take the dog to the vet.

Can a dog hernia heal itself?

If your female dog has a hernia, it needs to go to the vet. Your vet may say you just need to let it heal, or your pup may need medicine or surgery to heal. Always trust your vet to keep your dog healthy. 

What should a dog’s stomach look like after being spayed?

In the first few days, the incision site may be a bit red or swollen. As your dog heals, this should clear up nicely. If you don’t see signs of healing or a lump develops, take the dog in for a check-up.

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