When To Spay/Neuter Your Dog?
As pet owners experience the journey of caring for their loved one, they will eventually have to decide if they will spay/neuter their pet. If they are not aware of what these procedures entail, they may become confused or even overwhelmed. Neutering is often said in reference to both male and female animals. However, spaying is typically in reference to a female, and neutering to a male. Below is a bounty of information regarding the procedures and what they involve for your furry friend.
What Is Spaying?
The process of spaying your pet requires surgical removal of their reproductive organs; their uterus and ovaries. This process is performed through a very sterile, and precise, surgical technique. The pet will be put under anesthesia so that they do not feel the effects of the surgery. Once the procedure is completed, your dog will no long be able to reproduce.
The benefits to spaying your female dog are large. She will no longer go through heat or the bleeding associated with it. Spaying your dog before they reach their first heat cycle will eliminate the risk of developing breast or uterine cancer. The risk of uterine infections will also diminish.
What Is Neutering?
The process of neutering your male dog requires the veterinarian to surgically remove their testicles so they can no longer reproduce. They will, of course, be put under anesthesia to undergo the surgical treatment.
The benefits to neutering your male dog are great. He will no longer run the risk of developing testicular cancer and will have a decreased chance of prostate disease. Those unwanted behaviors such as humping, aggression, roaming, and marking their territory may even disappear. The risk of developing perianal tumors will also lessen.
When Should I Neuter/Spay My Dog?
Depending on the pet owner, dogs can be neutered or spayed throughout their lifetime. In the United States and Canada, most veterinarians will suggest that a dog is neutered between six to nine months of age. However, there are also pet owners and other veterinarians that will encourage you to wait until your pet is a little bit older and their bones are better developed. New studies show that the best time to neuter is when your dog reaches their full maturity level.
Below you will find some information on neutering your dog throughout the different stages of their life.
Earlier Age Spaying/Neutering
As mentioned, many recommend that you wait until your pet is six to nine months of age to get neutered; however, some go as early as eight weeks. Neutering your pet early is a proactive way to prevent a severe infection during the lifetime of your pet. It also helps to reduce accidental pregnancies, which result in too many animals without a home. The Humane Society strongly recommends early age neutering specifically for this reason.
Later Age Spaying/Neutering
There is no age limit for when your dog can be neutered. If a pet owner plans on breeding their dog, they may wait until he or she is older before they consider it. Maturity development is also a reason owners may wait until later in the dog’s life to neuter. This is when your dog is physically and mentally balanced, usually at one year of age. Keep in mind that every breed matures at a different level, larger breed dogs taking longer.
Just as neutering early will prevent certain health risks, it can also cause an onset of problems later in life, such as a risk of an ACL rupture, hypothyroidism, or hip dysplasia.
Why Is Neutering A Controversial Topic?
There have been many debates between pet owners and veterinarians on whether neutering your pet is healthy, beneficial, and even necessary. For years, the agenda of neutering/spaying your pets was pushed onto pet owners as being their “civic duty.” The main reason for this push was due to the rise of euthanization among pets that were living on the street. Humane societies even made it a requirement for pet owners to neuter their pets if they were not already neutered. Because of this, there was a stigma against pet owners who did not choose to neuter/spay their animals.
Although those pushing neutering meant well, many felt that they were being pressured, even forced, into neutering their pets. This caused friction and controversy within the pet owning community. After years of practice, some veterinarians have reported seeing instances where there were problems with dogs because they were neutered at a young age. Sometimes, the surgery is too much for a young dog to handle, even if their owners wait until they are at least six months of age.
You really need to do some research before making such a big decision; don’t just jump into it because you’ve been told to do so. Most importantly, research your dogs breed. Learn about what ailments they are prone to and at what age they are likely to develop. Figure out when their age of maturity is and what risks are associated with early neutering.
There is no wrong or right answer as to if and when you should neuter/spay your pet. As a pet owner, all you can do is gather the facts to the best of your ability and make a decision based on your pets needs.
What To Expect After Surgery?
Most pets are free to go back home on the day of the surgery. Sometimes your dog may be nauseous due to the anesthesia and may not want to eat as much as normal. Some animals may have a little weight gain after the procedure due to less movement and soreness. The area where the surgery took place will be swollen so be careful when petting or playing with your animal. It is also important to monitor your dog’s activity so that the incision or stitches do not become infected.
Make your dog as comfortable as possible, providing a comfortable bed for them to lay in, or a cage if they feel more comfortable in there. Give your dog love and attention, while helping them out in any way they need. It will be painful for smaller dogs to jump or walk down steps, so maybe give them a hand when they are trying to maneuver themselves or go outside to do their business.
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