Spaying and Neutering of Dogs

The Benefits, Pre-Surgery Advice and After-Care Tips

by Anne-Marie Smith
spaying and neutering of dogs

You may have noticed the spaying and neutering of dogs in shelters before people can be allowed to adopt them. They do so mainly to prevent these animals from reproducing, which helps fight pet overpopulation. This is one of the numerous benefits that spaying or neutering offers to you and your dog.

On the other hand, if your pet didn’t come from a rescue organization or a shelter, there are high chances that they’ve not undergone spaying or neutering. While the decision to have them spayed or neutered rests solely with you, these are two important procedures you should seriously consider for the sake of your pet. Let’s shed more light on spaying and neutering of dogs below:

The Difference Between Spaying and Neutering of Dogs

Spaying is simply the surgical removal of the reproductive organs (the uterus and the ovaries) of a female pet so she can’t get pregnant. Neutering, on the other hand, is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs (the testicles) of a male pet to prevent him from impregnating a female. Both of these procedures are considered safe, minimally invasive, and require very minimal hospitalization.

8 Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

Here are some of the health, safety, and behavioral benefits of spaying and neutering dogs:

1. Protects Female Dogs against Breast Cancer and Pyometra

Spaying and neutering help both male and female dogs to live longer, healthier lives. Unspayed female dogs, for instance, are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer and pyometra. Pyometra is a serious uterine infection that occurs when cells in the uterus are overstimulated by sex hormones.

Without immediate treatment, both of these conditions can lead to serious health complications or even death. Fortunately, when spaying is done before your female pet’s first heat, it reduces her risk of getting these diseases by about 50%.

2. Protects Male Dogs against Enlarged Prostate

Male dogs that are not fixed after the age of 5 also have an increased risk of developing an enlarged prostate. Common symptoms associated with this condition include straining when passing urine or stool, constipation, frequent urination, and interrupted streams of fluid or blood, which is often visible on the pet’s bedding. Neutering your male dog drastically reduces his risk of getting enlarged prostate.

3. Helps to Control Pet Overpopulation and Homelessness

Every year, millions of homeless dogs are euthanized because there are not enough homes to accommodate all of them. Despite this sad fact, some dog owners still allow their pets to mate freely and reproduce when they know very well they have no intention of keeping the offspring. Such unwanted litters of puppies mostly end up in overcrowded shelters and rescues or living on the streets as strays.

Spaying and neutering are some of the proven methods that governments use to solve the problem of pet overpopulation and homelessness. You can join in that fight by having your pet fixed.

4. Spaying and Neutering Benefits the Community

Spaying and neutering also help to reduce the negative impacts that come with having a high number of strays living on the streets. These negative impacts can be anything from showing aggressive behavior towards people and pets, spreading deadly diseases, causing road accidents, to damaging local flora and fauna.

5. Eliminate Heat Cycles in Female Dogs

Dogs go on heat in cycles, just like women have their periods. While on heat, female dogs do all sorts of things to attract a mate. This can range from urinating more frequently, running around the house screaming, to rubbing their vaginal discharge on everything they come into contact with.

All the running around and screaming will drive you crazy and leave your pet feeling extremely tired and miserable. But that’s not the worst part. Female dogs on heat also experience a lot of pain, which is hard to watch as a dog owner.

Undergoing a spaying surgery helps to eliminate your dog’s heat cycle, thereby saving her from the traumatic experience she has to go through every time she’s on heat.

6. Reduces Your Pet’s Urge to Roam Away from Home

Intact male dogs that are in heat can do anything to find a female to mate with. Their heightened sense of smell enables them to smell females on heat several miles away.

Once they do, they’ll try all possible ways to escape from home. An open window or door and a few seconds of not being watched are all your dog needs to get out of the house. Once outside, they’ll dig under the fence or jump over it to escape.

Being out there unsupervised puts your dog at risk of getting into fights with other male dogs eyeing the same female on heat. In worst cases, they can be hit by a speeding car on the streets, leading to death or serious injuries.

As a responsible and caring dog owner, one of the things you can do to keep your dog safe from all these things is by taking him to the vet’s office to undergo a neutering procedure. After the surgery, you’ll notice that his urge to roam away from home will be greatly reduced.

7. Reduces Undesirable Behaviors in Your Dog

Unneutered male dogs are also known to misbehave whenever they’re on heat and overpowered by sex hormones. They urinate all over the house to mark their territories and hump on people, other dogs, and objects. These undesirable dog behaviors are caused by increased levels of testosterone hormone in their bodies. The good news is that they can be controlled to a great extent through neutering surgery.

8. Spaying or Neutering is Cost-Effective

Lastly, these two procedures are also very economical in the long-term. Think about caring for unwanted litters, cleaning pet urine from your home every heat cycle, and treating your dog for cancers, uterine infections, as well as injuries from fights and road accidents.

All these things require way more money that you can’t compare to the cost of spaying or neutering your pup. In other words, you’ll be saving more money in the long-term by choosing to spay or neuter your pup.

When is the Right Time to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

Most vets recommend spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle, which can occur any time from 5 to 10 months. Similarly, small and medium breed male dogs should be neutered around the age of 6 months.

However, because large breed male dogs mature more slowly than their small and medium counterparts, the best time to neuter them is between the ages of 9 months and 15 months.

It’s crucial that both male and female dogs undergo a complete and thorough medical exam before spaying or neutering surgery is performed. This helps to know if they’re in the best health to undergo the procedure.

Also, don’t forget to provide the vet with your dog’s full medical history before surgery. This helps him or her to know if there are any underlying illnesses, or if your dog is taking prescription medications that may make spaying or neutering too risky to perform.

Debunking Common Misconceptions about Spaying and Neutering

Despite all the free information available online, there are still people who won’t spay or neuter their pets because they believe the lies they’ve heard or read. Let’s debunk some of the misconceptions about spaying and neutering below:

Spaying/Neutering Makes Your Dog Fat

One of the most popular misconceptions you may have heard is that spaying or neutering makes a dog fat. This is not true at all. After undergoing a spaying or neutering procedure, dogs tend to require lesser calories (around 20 percent less).

Therefore, putting your dog on the same diet and exercise routine as you did before surgery is what often leads to weight gain. However, if you adjust their calorie intake and exercise accordingly, you can expect your pooch to remain trim, fit, and healthy.

Spaying/Neutering Changes Your Dog’s Personality

This is another misconception that isn’t true. Spaying/neutering greatly helps to stop undesirable behaviors caused by a high level of sex hormones such as humping, roaming, and peeing everywhere in the house to mark their territory. However, it doesn’t alter your pet’s personality one bit.

Prepping Your Dog for Spaying or Neutering Procedure

If you’re worried about your pooch undergoing surgery, it’s understandable. However, spaying and neutering are some of the most common procedures done at the vet’s clinic on a daily basis, so you should rest easy knowing that your dog will be in safe and professional hands.

Before the surgery, you’ll most likely be given specific pre-operation advice to follow by your vet. This may include ensuring that your pet doesn’t eat any food on the night before surgery. However, dogs with underlying conditions like diabetes, as well as puppies, may be allowed to eat a small amount of food beforehand.

When the day of surgery arrives, you should make arrangements to drop your pooch off at the vet’s clinic early in the morning. In most cases, your presence will not be required during surgery, so you’re free to head back home after the drop-off. Once you’re home, you’ll want to set up a comfy and quiet area where your pet will recover.

Helping Your Dog Recover after Undergoing Spaying or Neutering Surgery

After the surgery is complete, your dog will be kept under observation for some hours or even days. But, this will depend on his or her age, size, and health status.

Once they’re awake and ready to be discharged, you’ll be given post-surgery care instructions, which you should follow strictly to enable your pet to recover properly. You may also be given pain medications to control any pain and discomfort that your dog may feel.

Here are other measures you can implement to ensure that your dog’s recovery is as safe and comfortable as possible:

  • Keep your dog inside the house away from children and other pets throughout the recovery period.
  • Don’t give your dog a bath for at least 10 days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site on a daily basis to ensure that it’s healing properly. If you notice any discharge, swelling, foul smell, or redness on the area, notify the vet immediately.
  • Because licking the incision site can slow down the healing process and cause the area to be infected, you should have your dog wear an e-collar to prevent them from accessing and licking the area, or give them treats to distract them.
  • If your pet is showing symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, or a decrease in appetite, you should call the vet immediately.
  • If your pet has enough energy to play, it’s a good sign that they’re recovering well. However, you should prevent them from running around or jumping up and down for as long as your vet recommends.
  • After healing, take your dog back to the vet’s office so the stitches can be removed professionally. This is usually done after 7-10 days, but you’ll be told exactly when to do it.

How Much Does it Cost to Spay or Neuter a Dog?

Depending on the size of your dog and your geographical location, you can be charged anywhere from $200 to over $300 for a spaying or neutering procedure in private practice.

But, there are also many low-cost spaying and neutering clinics available nowadays to cater to dog owners who can’t afford the costs above. If you’re one of them, you may want to research low-cost spaying and neutering clinics in your local area. Such clinics charge anywhere from $45 to $135 depending on where you reside.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the information provided above has shed more light on spaying and neutering of dogs and helped alleviate some of your worries and anxieties. As you can see, there are many health, safety, and behavioral benefits that your dog stands to gain after getting fixed, so make an informed decision to go ahead with this important surgery.

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