Did you know that reproductive veterinary care such as spay or neuter surgery is an important part of preventive care? Here, our Southern Wisconsin vets share some important information about having your dog spayed or neutered and what to expect while your dog is recovering.
Spaying or neutering your dog may be elective surgery, but there are a number of benefits for your pup that extend beyond just not having puppies.
Did you know that over 6 million pets are brought to shelters each year across the United States? And each year, less than half of those pets are adopted.
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.
Spayed or Neutered: What's the difference when having your dog fixed?
Having Your Male Dog Neutered
Neutering is often called castration and it involves the removal of both testicles from your male dog along with the associated internal structures. This surgery will leave your dog unable to father puppies.
There are alternative options, like vasectomies, for male dogs. However, these options aren't usually performed.
Having Your Female Dog Spayed
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 female dog will be unable to become pregnant or birth puppies.
When should your dog be spayed or neutered?
When choosing the right time to have your dog spayed or neutered, you will need to consider a few different factors. Both procedures can be performed on puppies as young as a couple of months old. 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.
What are the benefits of spay and neuter surgery?
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.
Are there any potential risks with having your dog fixed?
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. Most commonly, any risk involved is usually related to the anesthesia. This is why your vet will go over your dog's medical history in great detail and perform pre-anesthesia blood work. Your dog will only be placed under anesthesia if it safe to do so.
What to Expect While Your Dog Recovers From Being Spayed or Neutered
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.