Considering spaying or neutering your dog or puppy but wondering when the best time to do it? Learn when is the appropriate time to spay/neuter your dog and additional guidelines for the surgery.
Debunking the myths – why you should spay/neuter your dog
You might have heard that spaying/neutering your dogs can result in their hormone imbalance, further causing obesity. Or you might consider spaying/neutering because you heard that they will be better behaved after the surgery. While the first statement is rejected by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the second one is a possible outcome but is not an immediate result of the surgery. There are other ways that can calm your dog simply and effectively. Obesity should not be the drawback to the surgery, and it can be avoided by diets and exercises. Instead, here are two major reasons that you should consider spaying or neutering:
- Health benefits
Some health risks can be minimized when you spay/neuter your dog. Spayed female dogs have a lower risk of uterus infection and mammary tumors. Breast tumors are malignant in about 50% of cases for dogs, so spaying your dog is the best way to protect them. Similarly, neutered male dogs are less likely to develop testicular cancer and prostate disease.
- Preventing overpopulation
Unspayed female dogs will experience breeding season, or heat, and can give birth to unplanned offspring. It is a larger cost to deliver puppies compared to spaying since you need to also take care of the new dog(s) or find them a new home. Neutering your male dog will prevent them from impregnating other dogs. Often, unplanned litters contribute to overpopulation of stray dogs and animal euthanasia.
When to spay/neuter your dog
The ASPCA suggests early spaying or neutering of dogs at two months or two pounds in weight. Many also recommend that you spay your female dog before their first heat. This does, however, not apply to every dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends that you should still consult with your veterinarian for the best time to spay/neuter your dog.
Picking your vet
It doesn’t need to be expensive to spay/neuter your dog, and the process is safe for it as long you pick the right vet. PAWS and The Anti-Cruelty Society provide resources to finding the right vet. The ASPCA also offers free/low-cost spay-neuter surgery for those who can prove their financial status in certain areas such as New York City or South Los Angeles.
Taking care after the surgery
Female dogs are more likely to stay overnight after spay surgery, but it depends on the vet. The vet should also provide instructions on aftercare and may give pain medication. You should avoid activities that involve running or jumping for your dog and keep the incision dry. Contact your vet if your dog is showing any abnormal behaviors or the incision opens.