Are you wondering if you should get your dog spayed or neutered? You probably have lots of questions regarding the procedures and potential risks. Today, our Houston County vets discuss some key points you should know about spaying or neutering your dog.
Spaying or neutering your dog also referred to as "fixing" your dog, are elective surgeries that consist of sterilizing the animal.
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 you can help reduce the number of unplanned puppies born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.
The Differences Between Neutering & Spaying
Neutering Male Dogs
Neutering can also be known as castration, it involves removing both testicles from a male dog as well as the associated internal structures. Following this procedure, your dog won't be able to reproduce.
There are alternative options for male dogs, such as vasectomies, but, these options aren't usually performed.
Spaying Female Dogs
Spaying refers to 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).
Once spayed, your dog will no longer enter heat and won't be able to have puppies.
When To Get Your Dog Spayed or Neutered
There is a wide range of factors you will need to keep in mind when deciding 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 time you should have your dog spayed or neutered will depend on various factors. Larger dogs mature slower than medium or smaller ones so they should be fixed later. Many vets recommend having females spayed before they enter their first heat cycle. And, if you have adopted male and female puppies about the same age, have them both spayed and neutered before the female's first heat.
You should always ask your vet about the timing of your pup's spay or neuter procedure. They will conduct a full physical exam and consult your dog's medical history before conducting the procedure to minimize the risk of complications.
The Benefits of Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered
In addition to eliminating the risk of unwanted puppies, there is a variety of benefits to having your pup spayed or neutered.
Spaying your female dog will drastically reduce their risk for mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. And while it is not always the case, being spayed generally puts a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.
Neutering your male dog will help prevent testicular cancer as well as cut back on a handful of 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.
Spaying & Neutering Risks
While these are relatively safe and common surgeries, you should have them 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.
Your Dogs Recovery After Being Spayed or Neutered
Your vet will provide you with specific pain management and post-operative care instructions so you can care for your pup after their surgery. However, there are some general rules to keep in mind during your dog's recovery:
- Keep your dog inside and away from other animals as they heal.
- 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.
- Refrain from bathing your dog for at least 10 days following surgery.