What to Know About Dog Spaying and Neutering and Its Many Benefits

Cute puppyOne positive side effect of the pandemic is that many shelters across the U.S. were cleared, as families decided that more time at home meant that they could finally pull the trigger on the pet that they’d long wanted to make part of their brood.

In particular, there seemed to be a Pandemic Puppy Palooza, if you will. And while puppies—with their amazing breath, soft fur, round bellies, and endless shenanigans—are the most fun ever, the last thing you want to do is contribute to overpopulation by not having your pup spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering can also have some other behavioral and physical benefits beyond preventing the pup from reproducing.

If you’ve partaken in the puppy boom and wonder about spaying and neutering, we’re here to help. We’ve gathered some of the questions that our clients tend to ask most often, and shared the answers below.


What is the difference between dog spaying and neutering?

Spaying is an ovariohysterectomy on a female dog. And although the term “neutering” can be used in regards to both males and females, technically neutering is usually affixed to male dogs and is the act of castrating the dog in order to prevent him from reproducing.


How does dog spaying or neutering impact the health and well being of my pet?

First and foremost, we are physically removing the organ responsible for producing either testosterone or estrogen. Those two hormones affect a dog's behavior in many different ways—particularly their territorial nature, roaming, and aggressiveness. All of those troubling behaviors are often changed when these procedures are done.


There are also many physical benefits specifically for female dogs, including:

  • Avoiding uterine infections (pyometra)
  • Avoiding unwanted pregnancies
  • Avoiding uncomfortable heat cycles


Additionally. spaying your dog before her first estrous cycle greatly reduces her chances of developing serious illnesses such as breast cancer, and it eliminates the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer.


How soon should I get my puppy spayed or neutered?

Pre-op PugIn general, you want to get dogs spayed at about six months of age. Depending on size and breed, the average male dog will come into sexual maturity at about the eight to nine-month range. It could be as long as a year and a half to two years, however, for our giant breeds, such as Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, and Newfoundlands.

Females typically have their first heat cycles at between six and eight months of age, although it varies. Most veterinarians will want to spay at about six or seven months old - before their first heat cycle.

Talk to your veterinarian about when to have your particular dog spayed or neutered, and make sure they are healthy enough to have the procedure.


What will my veterinarian need to know about my dog before the spay or neuter procedure?

Males can have what's called cryptorchidism or monorchidism, which is where a testicle, sometimes both, don't descend into the scrotum. We have to approach surgery completely differently and go find that retained testicle. We want to make sure that females aren’t already in heat or pregnant. Of course, as with any procedure, your veterinarian wants to make sure your dog is healthy, so a blood panel may be necessary.


How long is the recovery for a dog spay or neuter procedure?

Cones help the healing processDogs recover from spay and neuter procedures incredibly quickly. In general, they feel a bit down for that day and back to their normal selves the next day, but we want them to stay quiet for about a week or two. This will help their incisions heal correctly. You need to limit their exercise, and certainly no swimming, bathing, or other things of that nature until their stitches have been removed (usually 10-14 days  after surgery). Keep leash walks very short, and consider putting them in a kennel to keep them safe. Of course, if your dog is sent home wearing a cone, make sure they keep it on! It will keep them from licking or biting at their incision and help them heal quickly.


What can I do at home to make the recovery from a spay or neuter procedure go well?

You don’t have to do much by way of changing your home for your dog’s recovery, but it might be wise to have a kennel area set up, and you might consider putting some extra bedding or cushion in there. If they are going to be kenneled, you want to let them rest as comfortably as possible, so make sure they have a safe spot away from other (possibly rambunctious!) pets.


We strongly recommend that you get your dog spayed or neutered to avoid contributing to the pet overpopulation epidemic. And as mentioned, your pup will also reap the many physical and behavioral benefits of spaying and neutering. If you have questions about the procedure or you want to get your dog scheduled for a spay or neuter, please give us a call. We're here to help!


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