All You Need to Know About Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

all you need to know about spaying or neutering your dog

Castration, spaying, and neutering all sound rather drastic: and they are, but for good reasons in dogs. An overwhelming urge to reproduce is in their psyche until there’s a change in specific hormone levels after spaying or neutering a dog.

Unless held in check, that urge can lead to endless unwanted litters and create health problems as well as instances of undesirable behavior in some dogs.

So, although extreme, sterilizing your dog is generally a kindness. Read on to find out more.

What’s the Difference Between Spaying and Neutering

Spaying a dog refers to the removal of a female’s reproductive organs. We use neutering to refer to the procedure in males.

In female dogs, a vet will remove the ovaries and usually the uterus too. Once spayed a female dog won’t be able to reproduce and won’t have her heat cycle. That means no bloody discharge each month.

In male dogs during a procedure known as castration, both testicles get removed and the dog will no longer be able to reproduce.

Although behavior related to breeding instincts tends to stop after spaying or neutering, it’s not always the case in every dog. Other procedures such as vasectomies are possible but not commonly performed on dogs.

Why Should You Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

Female dogs come into “heat” for several weeks once or twice a year. They attract male dogs that can smell their scent from far away. The result can be litter after litter of unwanted puppies.

There’s the resulting expense to consider as well as the continuous strain that the litters put on a female’s body. On top of that, finding loving homes for all the new arrivals can be very tough.

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Sterilizing Your Dog Reduces Health Issues

Spaying or neutering can also mitigate certain health risks. Unspayed, older females are prone to pyometra – a potentially life-threatening and painful infection of the uterus. They are also at greater risk of mammary tumors (breast cancer).

Neutering a male dog eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and lessens the risk of prostate disease. It may also decrease aggressive behavior and reduce instances of leg-lifting and mounting.

Sterilizing dogs is, therefore, a responsible solution that stops accidental breeding. It may also stop both males and females from roaming.

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

This is not a simple question, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer for all dogs. There are pros and cons to a few different ages. Since all dogs are different owners should discuss their specific circumstances with a vet.

For example – breed and size certainly plays a role. In general, the larger a dog is, the later sterilizing is recommended – as it gives the individual more time to continue growing before the procedure. When a male and female dog from the same littler get adopted together, it may be worth spaying the female before her first heat cycle. Some experts believe that in other circumstances this may be too young whilst others would argue it greatly reduces the risk of developing mammary cancer.

There is some evidence to suggest that there may be significant health benefits in sterilizing dogs of either sex after puberty. These include a reduction in orthopedic health problems, a potential reduction in some cancers in certain breeds, reduction in urinary incontinence in female dogs, and the chance of improved behavior.

Talking all these issues through with your vet will help you make an informed decision that is most appropriate for your dog.

Are Spaying and Neutering Risky?

There’s always an element of risk involved when animals undergo surgery with general anesthesia – however, it is extremely low. A vet will give a dog a thorough physical examination to assess their health before performing surgery.

They may need to carry out blood work to establish that a dog has no underlying health issues. There may also be a need to further investigate any liver and kidney issues or heart murmurs.

Common Misconceptions About Sterilizing Dogs

An age-old belief is that a sterilized dog will put on weight and become fat. This is not true – provided you ensure your dog gets the right amount of exercise and food. The age that dogs get sterilized is often around the same age they are transitioning from a juvenile to an adult – and this decreases the number of calories they require.

Dogs may need up to around 20 percent fewer calories after spaying or neutering. You should adjust their diet accordingly.

Another myth is that sterilizing a dog will change their personality. If anything, it may help stop some unwanted behaviors such as marking in the house but it won’t alter your dog’s character.

Recovery Time After Spaying and Neutering

Some clinics will recommend keeping your dog in overnight after spaying. Others may be happy to let you take your dog home on the same day. There may some discomfort after surgery and so your vet may prescribe pain medication.

Your dog may have to wear a protective collar to stop her from licking the incision. You may have to restrict her physical activity for a week or so while she heals. Your vet may also suggest a check-up when they’ll remove her stitches.

After neutering, dogs tend to go home on the same day of the procedure. Again, there may be the need for pain medication, a protective collar, and a limit to physical activity for a few days.

After surgery, you should give your dog a quiet place where they can recover indoors away from other animals. You should avoid bathing them for a week or so and check the point of the incision regularly so that you’re confident about when it’s healed.

How Much Does It Cost to Sterilize a Dog?

Spaying a female is more expensive than neutering a male dog. In the Netherlands, spaying a female dog will cost about 250-450 euros while sterilizing a male dog will be around 150-300 euros. Both charges will depend on your dog’s size and weight.

Some vets may also offer two kinds of surgery in the case of spaying – with laparoscopic surgery costing more. You should check to ensure the costs are inclusive of pain relief and any further check-ups.

Talk It Over With an Expert

We know that deciding if, and particularly when, to get your dog sterilized can be tricky. Spaying and castration are irreversible so it’s understandable to have questions.

We have a team of expert vets on standby ready to offer advice about spaying and neutering that will help to make up your mind about the way forward. Get informed today by booking a time-slot with one of our team.

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