Spaying and neutering is a very common procedure and a responsible thing to do as a dog parent. However, you may not know when or why to do this. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about spaying and neutering your dog!
There are several reasons why pet parents may choose not spay or neuter their dog, including:
- Plans to breed the dog
- Lack of understanding as to what spaying or neutering your dog means
- Inability to afford the procedure
- Concerns about anesthesia/surgery
Spaying or neutering is the act of surgically removing your dog’s reproductive organs. This is a safe, quick, and typically low-risk surgery done at your regular vet clinic with a fast recovery time, especially for male dogs. There are many resources available for owners who may need financial assistance, such as low-cost clinics, so be sure to research what help is available in your local community.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog
The age at which to spay or neuter your dog depends on their life stage and may vary based on their breed size. Vets typically recommend spaying your female dog before her first heat cycle. Smaller breed dogs can be spayed or neutered around 6 months of age. Large breed dogs can take longer to fully grow and mature and may need to wait until they reach age 1 or older. Consulting with your veterinarian about your dog’s specific needs is the best option to deciding when to spay or neuter your dog if you have a puppy!
If you have an adult or senior dog that is still intact, it’s never too late to decide to spay or neuter. Just ensure that your dog has no underlying health issues or medical conditions that may cause complications when undergoing anesthesia for the procedure.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
- Significantly reduced risk of mammary cancer in females
- Prevents future health complications like pyometra – a potentially fatal uterine infection in female dogs
- Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in males
- Prevents heat cycles (menstruation) in females that can produce unwanted behaviors such as barking or howling, aggressive, attempts to escape
- Prevents unwanted behaviors in male dogs such as humping, vocalization, aggression, escape attempts, and marking inside the home
- Helps to control animal overpopulation by eliminating accidental pregnancies/litters
Unless you plan to responsibly breed your dog or your dog has health issues that would make the procedure more complicated, it’s always a good choice to spay or neuter your dog! The benefits outweigh any risks and can lead to a longer, healthier life for your pup to spend with you!