If your puppy or dog is due to be 'fixed' (spayed/neutered), you might have questions about the procedure, including healing and benefits. Here, our Monroe vets help you understand the basics of spay/neuter procedures for dogs.
Spaying or neutering your dog, otherwise known as "fixing" your dog, are elective surgeries that involve the sterilization of an 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 to do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.
Neutering Male Dogs
Neutering 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, but they are infrequently performed.
Spaying Female Dogs
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.
When To Have Your Dog Spayed / Neutered
There is a range of factors 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, depending on breed and size (tiny and toy breeds mature faster than larger breeds of dogs). 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.
Benefits Of Spaying / Neutering
Besides eliminating the risk of an unwanted litter of puppies, there are a wide range of benefits to consider when neutering or spaying your dog.
Having your female dog spayed will drastically reduce their risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. And while it is not always the case, generally being spayed will put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.
Neutering male dogs will help to prevent testicular cancer as well as reducing a number of undesirable behaviors like aggression, humping, howling and roaming. All of this can help to prevent unfortunate events like fights with other dogs or car accidents.
Risks Of Spaying / Neutering
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. However, this is true with any surgery which requires general anesthesia.
Recovery From Surgery
You vet will recommend specific pain management and post-operative care for you to tend to your pet after surgery, but here are some general rules to keep in mind while your dog recovers.
- Don't bathe 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 activity.
- 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.