If you have a new puppy or unfixed dog then you may be considering having them fixed. But what are the risks and benefits of reproductive surgery? Here, our Rockland County vets share some important information about having your dog spayed or neutered and what to expect during the surgery and recovery process.
Spaying or neutering your dog is an elective surgery that can have great benefits for your dog.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 6.5 million animals enter rescue systems or shelters across the United States each year. Of those animals, less than half are adopted as pets.
Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best ways to do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.
Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered: What is the difference?
Neutering Your Male Dog
Neutering is often called castration and it involves the removal of both testicles from your male dog along with the associated internal structures. After this procedure, your dog won't be able to reproduce.
There are alternative options, like vasectomies, for male dogs. However, these options aren't usually performed.
Spaying Your Female Dog
Spaying describes the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs, either by an ovariectomy (removing the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy (the removal of the uterus and ovaries).
After being spayed, your dog won't enter heat any longer and will not be able to have puppies.
At what age should you bring your dog in to be spayed or neutered?
There is a wide range of factors you will need to keep in mind when considering when to have your dog spayed or neutered. Both procedures can be performed on puppies as young as a couple of months old. And traditionally, puppies are fixed by the time they are 4 to 6 months of age.
The timing of a spay or neuter for your dog will depend on many different things. Larger dogs mature slower than medium or smaller ones so they should be fixed later. Many vets recommend that females be spayed before they enter their first heat cycle. And, if you have adopted male and female puppies about the same age, have them spayed and neutered both before the female's first heat.
You should always consult your vet about the timing of your pup's spay or neuter. They will conduct a full physical exam and consult your dog's medical history before conducting the procedure to minimize the risk of complications.
Are there any benefits to having your dog neutered or spayed?
On top of eliminating the risk of an unwanted litter of puppies, there is a wide range of benefits to consider when neutering or spaying your dog.
A spayed dog will have a reduced risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. While it is not always the case, generally having your female dog spayed will put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.
A neutered dog will have a decreased risk of testicular cancer as well as cut back on several undesirable behaviors. These include aggression, humping, howling, and roaming. All of this can help to prevent unfortunate events such as fights with other dogs or being struck by a vehicle.
Should I worried about any risk of spay and neuter surgery for dogs?
While these surgeries and quite common and safe, they still should be performed by an experienced and qualified vet, as there is some small risk involved. But this is the case with any surgery which requires general anesthesia.
What should I expect during my dog's spay or neuter surgery and recovery?
Your vet will recommend specific pain management and post-operative care for you to provide for your pup after surgery, but here are some general rules to keep in mind while your dog recovers.
- Refrain from bathing your dog for at least 10 days following surgery.
- For up to two weeks after the procedure, prevent your dog from running, jumping, or undertaking other strenuous activities.
- Check your dog’s incision daily to ensure it’s healing correctly. Contact your vet if you notice swelling, redness, or discharge.
- Keep your dog inside and away from other animals as they heal.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.