Nobody likes it when their dog has been to the vet for an operation, but this is a common position to be in, especially if you have taken on a young dog and got it spayed or neutered – and if you’re currently dealing with that, you may be wondering “how long does it take for dog stitches to dissolve?”.
Knowing this can reassure you that everything is going as it should be, or let you know when an issue arises so you can contact a vet to get instructions on what to do next.
It’s good to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about your dog’s recovery process and what to expect from the stitches.
Dissolvable stitches are an amazing thing that has helped reduce the number of vet visits that a dog needs and increased the ability of the dog to recover at home.
Instead of having to take your dog in for another visit when it has not long been neutered, you can just wait for the stitches to dissolve, minimizing stress for the dog and for yourself.
Of course, things don’t always go smoothly, so it’s a good idea to talk to the vet about what to expect.
Stitches can take several weeks to dissolve and disappear, but you probably won’t need to keep them safe from your dog for this long. Once the wound has closed, you can ignore them, except to check for infection.
How Long Does It Take For Dog Stitches To Dissolve?
It will usually take a couple of weeks for stitches to disappear, although it can vary depending on the stitches and the size of the injury that they were used to cover.
Large, thick stitches will take longer to dissolve than thin, small stitches, so you can guess approximately how long they should take to dissolve based on their size.
Your vet may also give you an estimate when they put the stitches in, and they should last for longer than the wound takes to heal over.
The point of the stitches is to hold the injury shut and encourage healing, so the stitches need to last long enough for this.
Obviously, injuries have different healing periods and bigger ones will take longer, in which case, larger and thicker stitches may be used.
In older dogs or ones that have been unwell, healing may also be slower, but most injuries will heal over within about two weeks, so this is generally how long the stitches last.
Sometimes, you may see stitches falling out as quickly as a week after being put in, especially if the injury was minor.
As long as everything is healing well and the wound is closing, this is nothing to worry about; just keep an eye on your dog and the injury, and report any issues to your vet.
What Should You Do If Your Dog’s Stitches Fail To Dissolve?
If the stitches do not dissolve, you might be a bit concerned and unsure of how to progress, especially if they seem to be bothering your dog and the injury has healed.
In some cases, dissolvable stitches do not dissolve as expected, and could actually still be present as much as a year after the wound was stitched. This can be pretty worrying, particularly if your dog is fretting at them or there are signs of inflammation.
The best thing to do if this happens is to set up a video call with a veterinarian, who will be able to look at the undissolved stitches and give you advice on what to do.
In some cases, you may be able to lightly pull them out yourself (if they are coming loose anyway and the injury has healed), but usually, you will be advised to take your dog to a vet for proper removal. Never attempt to tug them out or cut them out yourself.
Although stitches should just disappear with time if they are dissolvable, there are times when this fails to happen, and then a professional will need to get rid of the remaining stitches for you. Trying to do it yourself could injure the dog, especially if the original injury is still fresh.
Where Do Dissolvable Dog Stitches Go When They Dissolve?
Usually, dissolvable stitches are simply absorbed by the body when they dissolve, because they are made of proteins and other natural materials that the body can break down.
They are designed to hold up for several days or weeks, but they will soon break down into soluble fibers, and the dog’s body will absorb them.
In some cases, dissolvable stitches may fall out, and you might see them on the floor or on your dog’s bed, especially if the dog has been licking the injury.
This usually happens because the part of the stitch that is under the skin has dissolved, and the part that is on top of the skin is no longer being held in place. It is nothing to worry about, provided the injury is healing properly, and you can just throw any loose bits of stitching away if you find them.
Internal dissolvable stitches should also just dissolve, and may even do so more quickly than external ones, because they have greater contact with the dog’s body. It should not take long for them to dissolve, leaving the injury site clear, but it’s always a good idea to check that the stitches you can see have dissolved as expected.
If you’re wondering “how long does it take for dog stitches to dissolve?” then the answer is that it normally only takes one or two weeks, but thicker and larger stitches will last for longer, because the body cannot break them down as quickly. Usually, dissolvable stitches will simply disappear as the body breaks down the components used to make the thread and absorbs them, but sometimes stitches will drop off as the dog moves around. If you have any concerns about the dissolvable stitches used, contact your vet for advice on what to do next.