My Dog Has A Saggy Belly After Spay Surgery (Is This Normal?)

female dog spay surgery

Knowing that your dog is due for surgery the next day is a nerve-racking experience for us pet parents. All we hope for is for the operation to go well and that our dogs to recover speedily.

I still remember when I brought my dog in to be neutered and the few days post-surgery. I doubt I slept much with all the fussing over my dog. If you just got your female dog spayed, the recovery time might be longer due to the nature of the operation.

But have you noticed that your dog’s belly has gotten saggy after going through the spay surgery? Your dog’s belly might appear to look saggy after being spayed due to the swelling of the skin at the incision area. The accumulation of fluids or even an infection can give the appearance of a saggy belly in your dog.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the possible reasons that can give your dog a saggy belly or the illusion of one.

Weight Gain And Loss

fat dog on grass

Studies have shown that dogs which are spayed are three times more likely to become overweight as compared to unfixed dogs.

After your female dog has been fixed, this will have an impact on its hormonal levels. These hormonal changes can cause your dog’s metabolic rate to slow down and its appetite to increase. When this happens, it means that your dog will burn less energy or calories daily.

Therefore, if your dog is using up less energy and still eating a bigger amount of food, it will gain weight over time.

The same thing happens to humans when they start being less active or growing older.

If you don’t start to manage your dog’s daily food intake to compensate for its drop in metabolism, it will be too late before you realize that your dog is a lot ‘chonkier’ than before.

Putting your dog on a diet can result in some loose or saggy skin around its belly as its weight drops.

Seroma

What you think is saggy skin on your dog’s belly might actually be the accumulation of plasma fluid at the incision site. The plasma can accumulate to the size of a small balloon which can give the illusion of saggy skin when your dog sits or walks around.

This ball of fluid is called a seroma and it can happen when the dog has been agitating the surgical area with its mouth or has been too active.

There’s not much to worry about as it isn’t painful for your dog and the plasma gets reabsorbed by the dog’s body after a while. If it doesn’t, the vet will have to create a small hole or puncture in the skin to drain out the fluids.

Crushing Disease

crushing disease in beagles

Crushing disease is a condition when your dog’s adrenal gland produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is what our bodies will secrete when it is under stress or distress.

Too much cortisol in your dog’s system can cause many health problems that can even be fatal for the dog.

This health issue is more often found in older dogs than young dogs. There are also a number of dog breeds that are more prone to getting crushing disease.

  • Poodles
  • Sausage dogs
  • Boxers
  • Beagles

Here are some of the symptoms of crushing disease in dogs:

  • Bigger appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Skin discoloration
  • Muscle weakness

One very common sign is a dog with a bulging saggy belly. This is due to your dog losing muscle tone resulting in extra skin. You might not have noticed your dog’s belly much until it got spayed.

It might be a good idea to run a couple of tests to make sure the excess skin on the tummy isn’t due to crushing disease.

Please get your dog treated asap if you suspect that it has crushing disease. This condition can lead to many other health problems like diabetes, kidney and liver failure and even heart failure.

Hernia

It is possible for your dog to develop hernias after being spayed due to being too active post-surgery which can tear the stitches of the abdominal wall.

A hernia happens when part of the dog’s abdomen pushes through the torn abdominal wall. It can appear as a small or large lump on your dog’s belly.

The hernia will resemble a lump similar to a seroma which is a soft balloon-like mass.

Your dog will also show symptoms like:

  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing

You will need to bring your dog back to the vet for an x-ray to confirm if it’s a hernia and surgery will be required to fix it.

Your Dog’s Age

old dog has saggy belly

Getting older can be hard on our bodies at times, even for our dogs. Skin that once seemed so tight and supple has now become looser and saggier due to the loss of collagen.

The tummy is one area where it is easier to notice saggy skin and flab as a dog ages. This can even be more pronounced in certain dog breeds with more skin like the Sharpei, Mastiff and bulldogs.

Is A Belly Lump Normal Aftering Getting Spayed?

Spaying a female dog isn’t a complicated process but it still requires an incision to be made in your dog’s belly that is about 2-4 inches long.

The vet will then remove the dog’s ovaries and uterus to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. The incision will then be closed with two layers of stitches under the skin.

The entire incision area will look, sore, swollen, bloated and red from the operation. Your dog’s belly skin won’t be in the best condition which can give the appearance of sagging skin. Most dogs will take about 7-10 days to fully recover.

What Can I Do About My Dog’s Saggy Belly?

If you notice that your dog’s belly has started to look saggy and lumpy after being spayed. It is most probably due to the after-effects of the surgery.

Most vets will tell you to give it a few days to see if the skin starts to revert back to its normal elasticity. If it doesn’t, it is best to bring your dog back for medical attention to make sure there are no complications or infections.

However, if your dog’s saggy belly is due to its old age or natural appearance, it wouldn’t worry too much about it as it is mostly aesthetic and harmless for the dog.

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