There are many health and behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering your dog. Here, our Williamsburg vets discuss what you should know about spaying and neutering, and the benefits of getting your dog fixed.
Why You Should Get Your Dog Fixed
If you have a new puppy or even an older dog, you might be thinking about whether or not you should have them spayed or neutered. This is particularly the case if your dog will be on-leash during walks or confined to your garden or backyard.
There are many reasons to have your dog fixed, including some significant health benefits, behavioral benefits, and possibly even financial benefits!
Benefits of Spaying Female Dogs
Across the United States, animal shelters are filled with dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 3.3 million dogs are a part of the shelter system in America each year.
Health Benefits of Spaying Your Dog
Spaying your female dog before she reaches her first "heat" can help to curb diseases like uterine infections and breast tumors, both of which can cause cancer.
Financial Benefits of Spaying Your Dog
Preventing the birth of unwanted puppies is good for your pocketbook. While there is a fee for spaying, this fee is relatively low when compared to the cost of caring for a pregnant dog, calling a vet for the birth of the puppies, and caring for newborns.
Deciding Not to Spay Your Female Dog
When female dogs aren't spayed, they go into a reproductive stage often known as "heat." This stage can cause male dogs to be attracted to your pup for up to 18 days. This can lead to unwanted visits from male dogs while out for walks or in your yard and can also result in an unwanted litter of puppies.
Benefits of Neutering Male Dogs
As with spaying female dogs, when you neuter your male dog you help to reduce the population of unwanted dogs in the United States.
Health Benefits of Neutering Your Dog
By neutering your dog you are helping to eliminate the risk of tentacular cancer for them and can significantly curb the risk of prostate diseases (which can be quite serious). Neutering also helps to prevent undesirable behaviors and conditions like perianal tumors and hernias.
Behavioral Benefits of Neutering Your Dog
Neutering can help to curb your dog's desire to roam and may help to reduce behaviors such as mounting and aggression towards other dogs.
Deciding Not to Neuter Your Male Dog
Several different undesirable behaviors are typical of a male dog that hasn't been neutered. These include increased territorial behavior, being over-protective of toys and people, aggression towards other dogs, and roaming (particularly when seeking female dogs).
The Best Time to Get Your Puppy Fixed
Typically, puppies are spayed or neutered between five to nine months of age. Adult dogs can also be spayed or neutered. Consult your vet to find out when you should get your dog fixed.
What to Expect When Getting Your Puppy Fixed
Your vet will be able to provide you with a set of detailed pre-surgical instructions. These will include restricting your pet's food and water intake before their scheduled procedure.
After the surgery is completed, your vet will provide you with post-operative instructions for helping your dog to comfortably recover. Depending on when the procedure is being performed, pain medication may also be sent home with your dog.
Generally, female dogs take longer to recover after being spayed than male dogs after being neutered.
After a female has been spayed, she is considered to be sterile and will not be able to have puppies.
It's important to remember that male dogs aren't considered sterile immediately after they have undergone a neuter. It can take up to 6 weeks for them to be safely considered sterile.