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How to Care for and Keep Dog Stitches Clean After Surgery

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.

Unless a dog is supervised post-operatively, e-collars or cones should be worn at all times to prevent chewing.

Unless a dog is supervised post-operatively, e-collars or cones should be worn at all times to prevent chewing.

Caring for Dog Stitches After Surgery

Whether your dog was just spayed, neutered, or had a recent laceration repair, he/she will be sent home with an incision closed with stitches, sutures, staples, and/or suture glue. Your veterinarian should have provided you with aftercare instructions, but you still may have the following questions:

  • How do I care for my dog's stitches?
  • How long do dissolvable stitches last and what is the healing time?
  • How do I keep stitches clean?
  • What if my dog chews, licks, or scratches the stitches out?
  • How long should my dog wear a cone?
  • Is this normal? What if the stitches bleed, ooze, or have pus?

Sometimes, you aren't even given the opportunity to talk to your vet after your dog’s surgery because the team has limited time and other patients to attend to. Let's review some of the most important aftercare instructions for dog spays, neuters, and surgical procedures.

Important

ALWAYS put an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) or cone on your dog when he/she is unsupervised after surgery.

How to Care for Your Dog's Surgical Incision

Table is based on a typical spay or neuter procedure.

TaskInstructions

Scheduling

Schedule the surgery on a day your dog can be supervised.

Recovery

Set up a comfortable, quiet space for your dog to recover.

Isolation

Keep your dog away from other dogs and household activity.

Leash Walks

Leash walk for potty breaks and prevent jumping and running; no running or free play.

No Jumping

No jumping up and down from furniture. Lift your dog up and down onto the couch or bed. Do not leave them unattended. Barricade staircases.

No Baths

Keep the wounds and stitches clean and dry (no bathing) unless otherwise instructed to do so.

Cones and E-Collars

Keep a cone or e-collar on at all times to prevent chewing, scratching, or licking.

Monitor the Incision

Monitor the incision for signs of infection (heat, swelling, pus, oozing, discharge).

Take Home Instructions

Only cover the incision or apply ointments if your vet advises you to do so.

Monitor Behavior

Monitor your dog for behavioral changes (lethargy, panting, discomfort).

Emergency Contacts

Keep your vet's contact and emergency numbers close by.

A typical spay scar, healing well.

A typical spay scar, healing well.

What Is the Healing Time for Dog Stitches?

In general, within 10-14 days a dog's incision is capable of withstanding tension and stretching. Now, 10-14 days is the average healing time-frame for a typical spay, but activity should be resumed gradually, and the site should be monitored until your next vet visit.

Healing time depends on the surgical procedure, the suture material, suture absorption time, and your dog's health and age. Stitches generally last long enough to promote the healing of tissue. So, whether your dog received absorbable stitches, non-absorbable stitches, or staples, you will need to take good care of the area as it heals.

The moment an injury takes place (surgery is classified as an injury), the immune system activates white blood cells which mobilize to the incision site. The skin will redden, bruise, and swell, but over time, scar tissue will form. Did you know? Incisions heal side-to-side, so this means that a 4" incision will heal at the same rate as a 1" incision.

The Stages of Wound Healing

Wound healing in stages.

Wound healing in stages.

How to Keep Dog Stitches Clean and Free From Infection After Surgery

Keeping the Incision Site Dry and Clean

You may feel compelled to give your dog a bath, but you may want to hold off if your dog has an incision that has to heal. This also means preventing your dog's incision from getting wet in the rain. Do not apply creams, ointments, or disinfectants unless your vet told you to do so. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide use is prohibited as these chemicals will damage the tissue. You can wipe your dog's body down with natural baby wipes or dog-approved wipes to keep them fresh (do not wipe around the surgical site).

No Bathing

Do not bathe your dog unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

Why Is My Dog's Wound or Incision Not Healing?

Here are some things to watch for that may impair healing. Common causes for prolonged healing times include the following:

  • Pre-Existing Health Conditions: diabetes, kidney and liver failure, hormonal imbalances, cancer
  • Excessive Activity: post-surgical activity (i.e. jumping and play)
  • Medications: i.e. corticosteroids, aspirin in high doses
  • Age: senior dogs take more time to heal
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, protein deficiencies

What Is a Suture Reaction?

In some cases, a dog's body may reject stitches rather than absorb them, triggering inflammation or a suture reaction and a prolonged healing time. A suture reaction is an inflammatory response by the body to a "foreign substance." This reaction may present as localized inflammation. The body is reacting to the foreign substance by either trying to dissolve it, break it down, or push it out. You will often see draining tracts and/or heat and redness.

Abdominal surgeries are closed in layers, so several types of suture material might be used to close the incision. If the suture reaction is deep, your veterinarian may have to go in and replace the suture material with another type. If the suture reaction is superficial and easily accessible, it may be a simple matter of removing the sutures and using suture glue or surgical staples depending on the stage of healing.

The type of procedure determines the extent of the aftercare.

The type of procedure determines the extent of the aftercare.

Consider the Type and Severity of the Surgery

It's important to consider the invasiveness and severity of your dog's procedure to gauge healing time (always follow your veterinarian's aftercare instructions):

  • Dog Neuters: Many puppies that are neutered at two months of age will bounce back the next day, and healing will seem almost immediate as their incision site is small. You should still allow for a minimum of seven days for healing. Neutering in adult male dogs is less invasive than a spay surgery, however, post-operative care should still be followed for seven days minimum.
  • Dog Spays: As for an adult female dog who is spayed, a minimum of seven days is mandatory, as the procedure is more invasive, the surgical incision is larger, and healing time is prolonged. A dog's age and size is a huge factor in female dog spays. Large female dogs, older female dogs, and deep-chested dogs tend to have more difficult spays, require longer recovery times, and may be more sensitive post-operatively.
  • Orthopedic Surgery: Knee surgery in dogs, which is quite common, requires rehabilitation. Your dog's incision may start to improve at the one week mark but mobility must be limited, so this type of healing will be parsed out according to your veterinarian's designated rechecks. By two weeks, the wound should have closed, however, there will often be a two-week recheck and a six-week recheck. Immobilizing dogs who have undergone orthopedic surgery is a must as is keeping the surgical site clean. Bone plates can become infected and must then be removed in a second surgery.
  • Mass Removals: When a large mass is removed, not much tissue may remain to close the incision. In this case, there may be lots of tension which can ultimately cause the incision to open up despite being stitched. To prevent this, your vet may use a special tension-relieving pattern to stitch up the area. Mass removal wounds should also be given a minimum of seven days healing time.
  • Emergency Surgeries: Emergency surgeries often involve a dog that is already compromised on a systemic level, and recovery can be much longer than one week. Each case will vary, so be sure to consult with your veterinarian for week-by-week instructions as some medical emergencies require extensive post-operative care.

Compare Healthy and Infected Surgical Incisions

What Type of Stitches Does My Dog Have?

There are different ways to close an incision in dogs. Just as you stitch pieces of cloth together, a dog's skin can be sutured with needle and thread. The thread is usually made of synthetic material, but non-synthetic suture exists for specific procedures. Stitches can be absorbable or non-absorbable. In the case of absorbable stitches, the dog's body will naturally break down and absorb the suture material over time.

Depending on the type of incision, the stitches may be used to close just skin or several layers of tissue. For instance, in a simple laceration involving just a superficial skin tear, the edges of the skin are stitched together. In the case of a major surgery, the vet may need to stitch up muscles, the subcutaneous layer made of fat and connective tissue, and then finally skin, meaning there will be several rows of sutures in a single incision site.

Diagram of an uninterrupted suture pattern.

Diagram of an uninterrupted suture pattern.

Types of Stitches or Sutures Used in Dog Surgeries

TypeUseCare/Healing TimeMaterial

Absorbable Stitches

Muscle and subcutaneous layers and organs, like the intestine. Soft tissue (bladders). Not used for tendons or ligaments.

Does not need to be removed unless suture reaction occurs.

synthetic (polyester) or organic (collagen)

Non-Absorbable Stitches

Good for cardiovascular repair. Not for gastric or bladder surgery. Excellent for skin closure, ligaments, and tendons.

Needs to be removed by veterinary clinic generally 10 to 14 days after procedure.

synthetic (nylon) or organic (cotton, silk)

Surgical Staples

Faster than suturing. Closes incisions of the skin, clamps vessels internally, sternum closure in open chest surgery.

Generally removed 10 to 14 days later (if accessible) using a specialized staple remover.

titanium or stainless steel

Suture Glue

Allows wounds to heal more cosmetically. Acts as an additional wound barrier.

Falls off naturally on average within 7-10 days; keep dry.

cyanoacrylate

Suture glue being used on a boa.

Suture glue being used on a boa.

How Long Do Dissolvable Stitches Last?

According to the Journal of Dairy, Veterinary & Animal Research:

"Synthetic absorbable sutures loose most of their tensile strength within 60 days and eventually disappear from the tissues because they have been hydrolyzed."

What does this mean? Most absorbable sutures require 60 days to be completely absorbed by the body (hydrolyzed). Not to fear, absorbable stitches lose (dissolve) between 50% of their strength by 7-10 days, meaning the body is well on its way to healing.

Surgical Adhesives or Suture Glue

In some cases, your vet may use surgical adhesives to close the wound. Suture glue cannot be used near the eyes and is not suitable for oozing or contaminated wounds. Also, incisions closed with adhesives are more prone to opening up if they get wet. Adhesives are used to close very small incisions or act as secondary reinforcement for a top suture layer. Surgical glue is gradually removed by the body within 10 days on average.

Typical fracture repair or TPLO surgical incision on a recovering dog.

Typical fracture repair or TPLO surgical incision on a recovering dog.

How to Stop Your Dog From Licking at Stitches and Pulling Them Out

Your vet sent you home with an Elizabethan collar (also known as the "cone" or more humorously, "the cone of shame") for a good reason: to help protect the area from excessive licking. Excessive licking may cause your dog to pull out the stitches or even introduce bacteria to the site, causing an infection. There are several techniques that you can use to prevent your dog from licking:

  • Elizabethan collars (e-collars), cones, or similar devices
  • t-shirts and socks (if approved by your veterinarian)
  • supervision and commands such as "leave it"
  • vet-approved anti-lick strips or sprays
  • dog puzzles and distracting toys (frozen kong treats)
  • sedation or tranquilizers in extreme cases

Dog saliva is not antibacterial and dogs should not be allowed to lick at their incision site.

Can I Cover My Dog's Stitches?

Depending on the location and type of incision, you can ask your vet about using a bandage to keep your dog from licking the area. If the incision is near the abdomen or shoulder area, you can try to discourage licking by putting a t-shirt on your dog. Simply put your dog's head and front legs through the head and armholes of the shirt. If the problem area is the foot, you can ask your vet about placing a sock on the area. Of course, avoid doing so if you own a dog who would eat the sock or shirt and be at risk of an intestinal obstruction!

Healing times are subject to change depending on the procedure and patient.

Healing times are subject to change depending on the procedure and patient.

How to Stop Your Dog From Scratching at Stitches and Opening Them Up

As the wound heals and the fur starts growing back, the area starts to get itchy. The Elizabethan collar may not be helpful in this case, as it prevents licking, but won't do much for scratching. Monitor your dog closely for scratching, and if possible, find a way to discourage scratching by using a command such as "leave it."

Crating your dog when you are not around may be helpful if it's snug enough to discourage scratching. Depending on where the incision is, letting your dog wear a t-shirt may also help to discourage scratching. This can be good for incisions on the abdomen and shoulders; check with your vet, as some procedures require the wound to air. Remember that dogs are capable of scratching their front legs with their back legs, so if your dog has an incision behind the front legs, he/she may cause significant damage by scratching!

Keeping an e-collar on your dog is the best way to prevent post-operative complications.

Keeping an e-collar on your dog is the best way to prevent post-operative complications.

How Long Should a Dog Wear a Cone After Stitches?

Keep your dog's cone on for as long as your veterinarian has recommended activity restriction—generally 7-14 days. Neck collars for well-behaved dogs may be more appropriate, as are inflatable donut collars for small, mellow dogs that can be closely monitored. Just know that no collar or cone is foolproof, and dogs can get around the tip of cones with their tongue. Some dogs may react terribly to cones. It is okay to remove a cone while your dog eats if they are struggling to do so, but only if you are monitoring them 100% of the time. You may prefer to hand feed them or elevate their bowl.

Important: Restrict a Hyper Dog's Activity After Surgery

Limiting Activity

Yes, those staples and stitches are strong, but if your dog moves in a way that puts tension on the area or stretches it excessively, this may impair healing and the sutures are at risk of opening and bleeding. Depending on the incision, your vet may recommend activity restriction for anywhere between 7 and 14 days or even longer. How to limit activity:

  • Always take your dog out for potty breaks on a leash.
  • Discourage running around and jumping especially during the first days. Jumping up and down in the house or on furniture may cause swelling and pain.
  • Barricade stairs or carry your dog up and down depending on necessity.
  • Avoid long walks and rough-housing with other dogs.
  • Your vet may recommend cage rest or keeping your dog in a small room.
  • Tranquilizers or sedatives may be prescribed for particularly hyper dogs.
When a surgical site reopens, your dog may have to go in for a second procedure.

When a surgical site reopens, your dog may have to go in for a second procedure.

When Dog Stitches Open Up, Come Out, or Look Infected

A big threat to an incision is an infection. The infection prolongs healing time and the pus may put extra tension on the stitches making them more prone to coming out. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent this complication especially if the area was already infected or you are dealing with a difficult wound such as an animal bite. What to look for:

  • Signs of an Infection: If you see active bleeding, oozing, and bright green pus or odorous discharge, take your dog to the veterinarian right away. Behavioral changes, fever, panting, and loss of appetite, are all indications that your dog may be harboring an infection and should be seen ASAP.
  • Open Wounds: The most serious complication of an incision is protruding tissue. Stitches are meant to keep the dog's underlying tissues in place, and when the stitches come out, there's the risk that the protruding tissues will trigger a serious and even potentially fatal infection.

Do Not Treat the Wound

Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide should not be used on incision sites and stitches as these chemicals will cause cellular damage and slow healing.

Signs That Your Dog Needs Medical Attention

What indicates a post-operative medical emergency?

  • Excessive swelling or redness at the surgical site
  • Fresh blood seeping for over 24 hours
  • Discharge or drainage dripping from the incision site
  • Foul odor, pus, or off-color drainage
  • Missing sutures with redness/swelling and discharge
  • Edges of the skin are no longer together or a wide gap exists over ¼ inch
  • Protruding tissue (medical emergency)
  • A dog that is listless and not eating
Some discharge is considered normal after surgery.

Some discharge is considered normal after surgery.

When Discharge From Your Dog's Stitches Is Normal

Know What Normal Is

Do your best to keep the area as clean and dry as possible. It's good practice to observe the incision at least twice a day; consider taking pictures of the site in the same light as a reference. Know how many stitches or staples your dog has so you can keep track of them.

Characteristics of a Normal Incision

  • Clean with edges touching.
  • Reddish/pink color that intensifies during the first days as the area heals.
  • Some bruising along the edges in pale dogs as the area heals.
  • Clear, serosanguinous (clear liquid mixed with blood) discharge in small amounts (first 24/72 hours).

Clear, Blood-Tinged Discharge

A small amount of clear or blood-tinged discharge can be seen seeping intermittently in the first 24/72 hours. According to Assisi Animal Health, it's normal for a little blood mixed with plasma (a clear, yellowish fluid) to leak from the wound site.

Normally, the discharge should have a light yellow tint (serous) or a pink tint (serosanguineous) and it shouldn't have any odor. This can be observed by gently blotting the incision site with clean gauze or a clean paper towel.

Discharge may be normal or abnormal depending on consistency and other accompanying symptoms. Know what to look for.

Discharge may be normal or abnormal depending on consistency and other accompanying symptoms. Know what to look for.

Why Did My Dog Get a Seroma After Surgery?

At times, dogs may develop a seroma at the incision site. When small blood vessels are ruptured, a seroma (an accumulation of plasma) will form as a pocket of extra space around the surgical site. The majority of these non-painful growths reabsorb on their own with time and the swelling will decrease. This collection of serum may occur because of excess "dead space," and the inflammation is often seen in animals that were too active during the recovery process or who licked and chewed the incision site. Hot or warm compresses (avoid moisture on the surgical site by using a plastic bag or similar barrier) may be helpful as these will encourage blood flow, allowing the body to reabsorb the extra fluid faster. Always test the compress on your skin first to avoid thermal or cold burns.

Veterinarian Explains How to Prevent Problems With Your Dog's Stitches

Sources

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: What can I put on my dog's stitches to limit itching or scratching?

Answer: You can put an Elizabethan collar or a pair of boxers or pants or a shirt on your dog depending on where the stitches are. Close monitoring is still needed, though, as your dog can still reach the stitches if he really wants to.

Question: My dog got neutered three days ago. The vet used absorbable stitches; we noticed today the stitches were gone. How fast do they absorb? He has been licking at the spot, but not obsessively. We stop him every time we catch him. How fast would they disappear, or should we go ahead and take him back to the vet?

Answer: Usually, absorbable stitches are dissolved by the time the area is healed which is within 10-14 days. I would, therefore, expect it to be too early for them to dissolve.

If there is any gaping of the wound's edges and the area look red, swollen or infected, then that would warrant a vet visit. An emergency visit is warranted if there is bleeding/wide gaps or if the dog starts acting ill and lethargic.

If there are no gaps, there are chances that the vet has placed some buried sutures that hold things together. It would be best though to contact a vet just to be safe.

Being a weekend and a festivity, your clinic should have arrangements for after-hours emergencies. If you call your regular clinic most likely, the answering service will inform you about some emergency clinic open nearby. You can then contact the ER clinic and see what they think.

Chances are, if there are no major gaps or signs of bleeding, they may suggest covering the area temporarily with some non-stick bandage and checking the area a couple of times a day. An Elizabethan collar may be needed to protect the area from further licking. Best wishes.

Question: Do I have to stop my dog from itching and scratching after surgery?

Answer: Yes, it's very important to prevent the dog from bothering the incision area. Your vet should have sent you with an Elizabethan collar to prevent him accessing the area.

Question: Do dogs have to be put back to sleep to remove stitches?

Answer: Unless your dog has stitches of the dissolvable type, you will have to see your vet remove your dog's stitches. Usually, all your dog needs is gentle restraint while your vet removes them using a special tool, but if your dog is particularly fractious, the vet may administer a sedative.

© 2014 Adrienne Farricelli

Comments

Tammy Forrester on August 13, 2020:

If you have a small dog you can use a child's onesie for them to wear to keep them from licking and scratching at their stitches

I have a Boston Terrier around 22 pounds a 24 months fit him pretty well .Just remember the label goes to the cheat side of your pup so it buttons on too of the back just above the butt

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 17, 2020:

Hi Lilly, try to take a good picture of it and send it to your vet. Sometimes, if it's just a little gap, they may tell you to wait or if there's more to it, they may tell you to come bring your dog in. Make sure your dog has his Elizabethan collar on.

TravJanet on July 17, 2020:

The emergency vet just told us that we have to bring our dog back to them for staples removal because they put "internal staples" in him and they'll need to anesthetize him to remove them. We would prefer our regular vet do this. I can't find any info about internal staples being a thing in canines and they didn't mention this the night he was at the emergency clinic. Quite frankly seems like a ploy for another outrageous bill.

Lilly on June 26, 2020:

My bulldog was spayed Wednesday, its friday night and one of her stitches opened. We had been fighting to keep her inside all day, and one fo the kids accidentally let her out

The opening is maybe a quarter inch, and a little blood not alot. Shes laying down. And isnt jumping around now, but shes hyper. Im calling vet in morning. Is this normal. My other bull dog didnt have this issue wheb she was spayed.

Lori Gutierrez on April 05, 2020:

My dog was hit by a car a week ago and he licked his stitches open

Ricardoreese on January 15, 2020:

My pitbull got spayed today and the suture looks ok but what is the dark flourrescent green matter in the scar?

Jessica on September 14, 2019:

Hello my pup just got neutered this past Thursday and it is now Saturday just 48 hrs later and the glue is gone also his incision is wide open, as big as a nickel and I can see his internal tissue. When I called the vet she seemed to have brushed it off like nothing! Should I be worried or am I overreacting??

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 29, 2019:

Linda, when in doubt, you can send a picture of the incision to your vet and ask their opinion.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 29, 2019:

Manos, in such a case, you can contact your vet and email them a picture of the incision. This is what I did when a dog in my care had stitches and I wasn't sure if it was worthy of a vet visit. Turned out, in my case, it looked just fine and just needed to keep monitoring it.

Linda on July 28, 2019:

I had my dog spayed and she has just a tiny bit of pus coming out of her incision it's not choosing or dripping or anyting is just bare just a tiny bit was wondering if I should be concerned or if I just continue to observe it to see if it gets worse to go to the vet

Swetha on July 23, 2019:

Can I apply some topical agents like ointments on sutures of my pet

Manos castillo on July 23, 2019:

My dog was neutered on Saturday, 7/13 and today 7/23 my dog let him play outside thinking it was ok. Hes extremely playful and jums and runs alot. I checked his inscion site and it seems pink like if it open already. Should i take him to the vet or would this be considered minor and just monitor it over the days?

My dog had stomach surgery on May 29, 2019:

My dog had stomach surgery because she eat something like 23 days ago and now she has like something hatd next to the cut its this normal

Desirae on April 14, 2019:

My puppy was fixed about 2 weeks ago but the stitches are opened up and i dont know what to do

Brittany. on March 12, 2019:

Why do I do when it looks like a tiny bit of discharge or blood is around her stitches?

Kim on March 09, 2019:

My dog had a cancer lump removed Tuesday. She has 3 layers of stitches on her Bach hip leg . The wound is about 8 inches long . It has opened up . She has been back to vets 3 times since operation. I'm told this is normal??? Now it looks like 2nd layer of stitches has opened up. I'm still told this is normal??? It's absolutely herendous. Please advise me I'm so scarred ,,

Cristina on January 30, 2019:

My 3 year old shih Tzu had her eye removed I took her to get the stitches removed they found some discharge Cleanup her Eye put her on antibiotics now she has a scab is the scab noramal it’s been a month now

Jenna Abazia on January 12, 2019:

My Jack russel was neutered 3 days ago and was healing very well. Today he jumped up on the couch, i ran over to him and the incision looks like it slightly opened but not severely and has a wetness kind of a look to it now. Im very worried and cant speak to vet until monday. What should i do? He also was vomiting after his last pain pill today a white foam. Is this because of the incision?

Karen on November 17, 2018:

My dog has about 5 stitches on the top of paw one has broken with some blood should I cover with a bandage

Madison on September 09, 2018:

My dog had surgery to have a tumor removed a few weeks ago. I followed all of the dircetions given by the vet. At one point there was a pinch of skin between 2 stitches and it came off. Now theres a small hole, maybe 5mm. It's not infected or oozing at all, but I'm concerned that the opening could get infected. He's terrified of the e collar and he's also aggressive with the vet so I'm trying to avoid taking him. What should I do?

Monica Rodriguez on July 01, 2018:

My dog had two surgery's a tumer removed. And she got fixed but she has 3 days she dont want to eat is this normal I make her drink water

Brandy bishop on June 10, 2018:

My dog just had surgery and it's white stuff around the stitches what does that mean please reply quickly

Sharon Blair on June 07, 2018:

After noon.

I was wondering if anybody could give me some advice please.

My bitchs was spayed 3wks ago and was constantly losing a bloody water from the wound. I took her back 5 days later and the vet told me that the stitches had twisted slightly and gave her antibiotics and said that if no better in 2 days to come back and he would re stitch her. Unfortunately the stitches burst on day 6 and the lining of her stomach fat was hanging out of the cut. We had to rush her down and they keept her in over night due to re stitching. They have given me a bill for overnight stay and the stitches. Do I have to pay this as one of the nurses even said that they used a different stitch in her?

Jackie manchester on May 05, 2018:

Very very helpful site , my dog has had a mass removed from her head , and 1 of the stitches looks a bit weepy , been to emergency vet , but now feel more at ease after reading your advice thank you

Yamielt on March 22, 2018:

my dog just got surgery and the stitches are around his abdominal area and he had a cone but he is blind in one eye so he cant see with the cone off so i took off the cone and put a bandage around that area so he wont pick, was that a good idea? please reply ASAP

Jazmine on March 06, 2018:

My shitzu was attacked by a pitbull bul sat and one puncture wound under her leg has 4 clear stitches she licked 2 out it's oozing clearish pink fluid alot I just put a shirt around her head to stop licking is this normal

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 01, 2018:

Ouch, sounds like the edges of the cones are irritating the eyes, I would be worried about a corneal ulcer. I would take them to the vet to play it safe. Whether or not you can leave them without the cone depends on how well you can supervise them to prevent them from bothering the area. As the scab forms sometimes it gets itchy. You may have to use a soft cone perhaps, like a comfy cone or have the vet get a better sized cone that won't touch the eyes.

Aimee on January 30, 2018:

Hi i just got my two dogs neutered about a week ago and there's a scab on the incision. the only issue is that both my dogs now have eye infections from rubbing their eyes on the cones. would it be too early to take their cones off and let their eyes heal?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 25, 2018:

Samanthi, this is really odd that your dog is crying. I would follow up with your vet.

Samanthi on January 16, 2018:

my dog was operated and the stiches were removed after 18 days. I noticed that some stiches are missing and i am 100% sure that notthing happened to the stiches. I assume some of the stiches have gone inside his skin. Now my dog is crying from time to time. Is this because the stiches have gone inside?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 09, 2017:

Maria, so sorry to hear that. What happened exactly?

Maria on December 05, 2017:

My 10 Year old GSD died the next day after stitches. . .

E.j. Vegas on December 04, 2017:

My dog had a couple tumors on his lower abdomen, removed 3 days ago. Every now and again, he has a fit like a bucking Broncos. I'm thinking it's an itch. Anyone else dealt with this on how to ease his trauma?

Bren on November 29, 2017:

my dog was attacked by another dog, he had stitches, skin died and had a second surgery with many stitches in a Y shape on his rear end, now they opened and not enough healthy skin to restitch. Vet is letting would heal without stitches. These are not little wounds, they are infected and he is on antibiotics and pain meds for who knows how long.... will he survive?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2017:

Doesn't sound normal, could he have got injured jumping in and out of the car?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2017:

Redd, stitches may pop when dogs are overly active in the first few days after surgery, so the vet may charge you based on that.

G on November 21, 2017:

Our dog was fixed 14 days ago , stitches were removed tday !! He is acting weird shaking and yelping when he is held or starts to walk ! Is this normal ?

Bella on November 18, 2017:

This is a wonderful article. Everything was explained so well that I was left with zero questions.

Thank you.

Redd on November 11, 2017:

I've paid for surgery now a stitch popped the vet wants to charge me another $100 to fix is this all on me or does the vet have to fix there mess up?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 19, 2017:

You would need to keep her exercised and mentally stimulated (interactive toys, stuffed Kong, training, walks) to keep her distracted so that she'll be more likely to rest during the day and you can put the E-collar. on or supervise her. Consult with your vet for the bleeding.

Amy on October 07, 2017:

My female dog just had her right eye removed recently few days ago and she tend to be very active dog and she like to scratch her stitches but still wear E-COLLAR til her stitches removes on October 18th..she still has blood draining all over her right side ..so how to stop her scratching and blood draining??

Tasha on September 20, 2017:

My dog was just neutered 2 weeks ago, and I removed his cone today but I noticed he had been chewing and licking it still and it's started to bleed a little and opened a little. I've put the cone back on for now but I don't know if I should take him back to the vet

Michele on June 10, 2017:

my dog was spayed on Monday and she had tore the cone off she's a pitbull puppy 8 months old had not been bothering the incision but now it is red and open and seeping a light watery blood ish what should I do to prevent her from entering herself more..... she is very active and hyper can't really keep her down

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2017:

Hannah, would get that checked out by the vet to be safe.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2017:

Sounds good, what did the vets say when he got the stitches out?

Olga on May 24, 2017:

The stitches are out the area looks normal no drainage should I still worry

HANNAH on May 23, 2017:

My dog got hit by a car 4 months ago and the vet said her stitches will desolve but never did. I pulled them through her already healed wound and it is very red and puffy. When I squeeze it yellow puss comes out. How do I clean the infection out of it is already healed?

Cyndi on January 29, 2017:

Yes this article was helpful. I used to clean dried blood from stitches with hydrogen peroxide and now it is NOT recommended.

We have a small Maltichon mix, 14 lbs, and wears an 18 month baby's onsie. (We usually put a bladder leakage pad in it and have it on her for when guests are coming over. She has a nervous bladder, a subservient trait of some small dogs.) Recently she had 3 sebaceous cysts removed from her back, leaving huge incisions with many stitches. The onside has worked great to keep the wounds clean and dry. No cone of shame needed after we added her Thunder Shirt that securely covered her back and kept her warm. She hasn't been able to reach her wounds to scratch or chew on them. The wounds are healing well and she is calm.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 18, 2015:

Happy to hear this article about stitches aftercare in dogs was helpful to you.

Detective T on October 11, 2015:

Very helpful article. answered all my concerns about absorbable suture care.

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on December 27, 2014:

Our dog (Molly, a 12 year old Dachshund) just had minor surgery a couple of weeks ago. We're thinking of removing the stitches ourselves this time!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 26, 2014:

We've had both the dissolving and removable types of stitches used. And it is tough to keep them from licking, scratching and pulling 'em out. The cone collars can help, but they don't like those too much either. Tough as it is, this is a constant monitoring situation for the days of healing. Thanks for the tips!