Surgical ovariohysterectomy (OVH) using a right flank approach was performed in 114 bitches as part of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme at Help in Suffering, Jaipur, India. Incision length, duration of surgery and postoperative pain scores were recorded for each animal. The mean weight of the bitches was 13.7 kg, and the mean body condition score was 4.5 on a 1–9 scale. Mean surgical incision length and time were 22 mm and 11 minutes 4 seconds, respectively. It was seen that 86.1 per cent of bitches required no additional postoperative analgesia. These findings compare favourably with other techniques for OVH, including laparoscopic techniques. The surgical approach described may be an alternative for canine OVH, particularly in a shelter setting.