What Dog Parents Need To Know About Spaying and Neutering

What Is Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying is the surgical removal of your female dog’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. It’s done by your veterinarian and, in most cases, your little girl will come home the same day. 

Neutering is the surgical removal of your male dog’s testicles. This procedure is also done in your veterinarian’s office and your little boy will normally return home the same day. 

With either procedure, your dog will undergo general anesthesia and you can expect him/her to come home in a little pain and discomfort. When you pick up your pooch from surgery, your vet will give you medication to help make your pup’s recuperation period more comfortable. During this time, your dog shouldn’t exercise or participate in strenuous activities. While a male dog usually feels better in a couple of days, a female pup will take a little longer (since it’s a more invasive procedure for the girls)

My little Diego resting after his neuter.

Benefits of Spaying The Girls

  1. Spaying decreases the chances of serious health issues, such as breast cancer (did you know approximately 50% of dogs with breast cancer die from it?), pyometra (aka infected uterus), and other reproductive disorders. It’s best to spay your little girl before her first heat cycle. 
  2.  Your female will not go into heat. Un-spayed female dogs normally go into heat every six months and the heat cycle lasts for approximately three weeks. During the heat cycle, a female will most likely go through some personality changes as she experiences the urges to mate. Some common behaviors include: howling, becoming clingy, increased urination, marking, and attempting “the great escape” in order to find a mate. It should be noted that female dogs will cycle in and out of heat their entire lives–it does not end as they age.
  3. No accidental pregnancies. Not only is it impossible for your female dog to get pregnant, a spayed female has no desire to mate. 
  4. Shields your girl from unwanted suitors. Since a spayed female does not go into heat, her hormones won’t entice any unwanted male visitors.

Benefits of Neutering The Boys

  1. Reduces marking behaviors. Male dogs are known to mark their territory by spraying urine.  Although neutering may not stop this behavior totally, the desire will be reduced.
  2. Aggression is often a symptom of hormonal influence. Neutering your male pooch will decrease aggressive tendencies of an intact male dog. It’s best to neuter your pup before he reaches puberty.
  3. Decreased desire to roam. Since your male dog won’t have the desire to mate this will diminish his desire to roam.  
  4. Neutering eliminates the chance of testicular cancer.  
  5. Decreases the risks of prostate disorders.
  6. Neutering will decrease the urge to mount people and objects. If this mounting behavior doesn’t stop entirely, without the natural hormonal influence, it should be greatly reduced.

It Also Benefits The Dog Community

As you can see, spaying and neutering your canine kids offers them numerous potential health and behavioral benefits. But they don’t end there. Spaying and neutering actually decreases the overpopulation of unwanted litters, which is a big positive since many of those surprise puppies wind up being euthanized. According to the Humane Society of The United States:

About 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 13 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year.

This is an inconceivable statistic! Sadly, many of these canine and feline victims are offspring of someone’s family pet.  

When To Spay/ Neuter Your Dog

For a little girl, it’s best to spay before her first heat cycle. For your little boy, it’s best to neuter your pup before he reaches puberty. This typically falls between the 6-9 months old range. Talk to your vet about spaying or neutering during your first wellness check visit.