Suture care

All adoptable dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets are surgically sterilized prior to being made available for adoption. Most do not have skin sutures, but it’s possible your new pet may. Here’s what you need to know if your newly adopted pet comes home with skin sutures.

Suture line
Usually, no special care of the incision area is necessary. Make sure the area is kept dry and clean.

Irritation
Check the area around the stitches or along the incision line daily for any swelling, redness or discharge. Many animals lick this area during the healing process. If the surgical area appears irritated, or your pet begins to pull out the stitches, contact your veterinarian.

Exercise
It’s best to walk your pet outdoors on a leash during healing. Prevent your pet from lying in the dirt. No running, playing, jumping or rough play for 5-7 days following surgery.

Bathing
Do not bathe your pet for two weeks following surgery. You can wash off dirty paws as long as the surgery area stays dry.

Suture removal
Follow up with your veterinarian if suture removal is necessary. If your new pet has a sutured incision, normally the sutures are due for removal in approximately 10-14 days after surgery.

Finish medications
If your cat or dog was sent home with medications, review the instructions on the bottle(s) and begin giving the medication as instructed. Even if your pet doesn’t appear sick, it’s important that to finish all medication as prescribed by the veterinary staff. Consult your veterinarian if you have difficulty giving your pet its medication.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline