Do Dog Nipples Shrink After Spaying?

If your dog’s nipples look smaller after they have been spayed, your eyes aren’t playing games on you. After getting spayed, a dog’s nipples will shrink back to the size they were when the dog was pre-pubescent. What you may not have known is that spaying can trigger shrinkage, which will cause smaller nipples on your pup.

Every dog (no matter the gender) has nipples going down its stomach. The number of nipples will vary depending on the dog, but the average dog will have 6 to 10 nipples. These nipples will grow as the dog ages, but the spaying process will cause them to shrink back to the size they were when the dog was a puppy.

What do owners need to be concerned about when it comes to their dog’s nipple changes? Keep reading to find out why a dog’s nipples will shrink after they have been spayed.

Why do dog nipples change sizes?

The main reason a dog’s nipples change size is because of hormonal changes. When a dog goes into heat, it causes its mammary glands to swell. Every time they go into the heat cycle, their nipples will enlarge. Suppose your dog has gone through several heat cycles before it gets spayed. In that case, you will likely notice larger nipples before they get spayed.

Lactating is another thing that can cause nipples to get larger. If you have a female dog who has given birth, their nipples will be larger from milking her puppies. All of the stimulation causes the mammary glands and tissue to change in size. The baby puppies sucking the milk from her nipples will also cause them to change in size.

Don’t forget that age also plays a factor in nipple size. A dog that hasn’t been spayed will likely have bigger nipples that appear more stretched out, especially as they get older. When you compare their nipples to a spayed dog, you’ll likely notice that the spayed dog has smaller nipples that are more like little mosquito bites. 

Why does spaying cause dog nipples to shrink?

Now that you know what causes dog nipples to become larger, you may be wondering how spaying them can cause the nipples to shrink. This is because spaying causes shrinking to happen. Many dog owners will notice that their dog’s nipples return back to the state they were in before they ever went into heat.

If a dog was spayed before its first heat cycle, then the nipples will go back to the size they were when it was a puppy. However, if you noticed that your dog still has larger nipples after being spayed, this is completely normal too.

If your dog has been through many heat cycles or has given birth and milked a litter of puppies, their nipples may not decrease in size very much. This is mainly because the dog has gone through so many hormonal changes during the heat cycles that the nipples remain large permanently. 

Why are my dog’s nipples swollen after spaying?

Since spaying is a big surgery, you may notice your dog’s nipples look swollen. A small amount of swelling can be expected afterward, but it’s a good idea to know the line of what is a normal reaction and when you need to be concerned. Spaying is a safe surgery that’s performed by professionals, so the majority of dogs recover without any issues.

However, that doesn’t mean there are no risks involved. Some dogs do experience minor issues from the surgery that can easily be managed, including:

  • Reaction from anesthesia 
  • Irritated skin
  • Pain
  • Fever

However, if you notice that your dog’s nipples look bigger than normal, you should contact your vet. If your dog has swollen nipples and you notice a discharge coming from them, then they may have an abdominal infection from the surgery.  

Can a dog’s nipples grow after they have been spayed?

It’s normal for a dog’s nipples to grow if they haven’t been spayed. However, after they have been spayed, they don’t go through the hormonal changes that cause nipples to change in size. They also won’t be milking any puppies either. This means that if you notice your dog’s nipples grow after they have been spayed, you should contact the vet.

Larger nipples on a spayed dog could be a sign of Mastitis. This can be a serious problem for dogs if it isn’t treated early on. Mastitis is a bacterial infection that affects the nipples. If it doesn’t get treated, it can be life-threatening. You may even notice a discharge coming from their nipples.

If your dog does have Mastitis, it can be treated with antibiotics from the vet. It’s also a good idea to place a warm compress on their nipples to soothe the infection. This will help them feel more comfortable as they recover. 

Could it be more serious?

When a dog owner notices swelling, they always get worried about their pet’s health. Swollen mammary glands are red flags for dog owners because they could be a sign of cancer. This is why it’s very important to contact your vet as soon as you notice a change in your dog’s nipples. However, one thing to remember is that the risk of mammary cancer in spayed dogs is very low.

What happens to inverted nipples on a dog after spaying?

Since spaying can shrink large nipples, many dog owners think it could change inverted nipples. One thing to keep in mind is that inverted nipples are natural. Just like humans, dogs’ nipples could come in a variety of sizes and shapes. If your dog has inverted nipples, this isn’t anything you need to worry about.

That being said, if your dog has inverted nipples, getting them spayed won’t change that. Inverted nipples aren’t a sign of a health problem. However, you will need to be a little more cautious about them, so your dog doesn’t experience a problem. Inverted nipples are more likely to get an infection, so owners need to help their dogs keep them clean.

Why should I get my dog spayed?

The main reason people get their dogs spayed is to prevent pregnancy. When a dog is spayed, it won’t go into heat, which eliminates its chance of getting pregnant. When a female dog goes into heat, she’s likely to howl a lot which can keep its owner up all night. She will also need to urinate a lot more than normal, and you may notice a bloody discharge.

While preventing pregnancy may be the main reason a dog owner wants to get their dog spayed, there are other advantages to this surgery. The biggest one is that the dog is likely to live longer. When they are spayed earlier on in life, it limits their chance of fatal diseases such as pyometra and mammary cancer. 

Getting your dog spayed can ultimately be more affordable. The cost of taking care of a litter of newborn puppies seriously outweighs the cost of the surgery. There are also risks that are involved with pregnancy that could be high depending on which breed of dog you own.

Are there any risks that come with spaying?

There is no such thing as a surgery that doesn’t come with risks. Some dogs have experienced urinary tract infections after being spayed. It’s also likely that they could experience a small amount of bleeding following the surgery. The biggest concern a dog owner will have to be on alert for is the risk of infection.

Some dog owners have noticed a change in attitude with their dogs after being spayed. With female dogs, getting spayed reduced the amount of estrogen in their system. You may notice your dog’s behavior become slightly more aggressive after they have been spayed. Many vets believe this could be because estrogen has calming effects, and now the dog has less of it. 

While a dog’s nipples may shrink after being spayed, the same can’t be said for their stomach. Dogs are likely to put on a few pounds after being spayed, so it’s completely normal if your dog gains weight. They will need to adjust to a new diet because their metabolic rate is now lower. This means they won’t need nearly as many calories throughout the day.

Final Thoughts: Do dog nipples shrink after spaying?

After your dog has been spayed, it’s normal for its nipples to shrink. It’s not that their nipple has shrunk, but rather they have reverted back to their original size. There are many hormonal changes that a dog goes through before they get spayed, and these changes affect its mammary glands. The swollen mammary glands are what causes the increase in nipple size.

However, if your dog has already given birth and nursed a litter of puppies, her nipples may still appear larger after getting spayed. The amount the nipples shrink will depend heavily on their age. If they have been through many hormonal changes in their life, it’s likely the nipples will stay on the larger side.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!