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Everything You Need to Know About Spaying and Neutering Your Dog

One of the most responsible things dog owners can do for their pet is to spay or neuter it. The hazards of spaying and neutering operations, as well as their costs, are likely to be top concerns for new dog owners. Here are some responses to the most typical queries pet owners have regarding the spaying and neutering procedure.

 

What is the distinction between neutering and spaying pets?

When a dog is spayed, the reproductive organs of the female dog are removed; when a dog is neutered, the male reproductive organs are removed.

When a female dog is spayed, the veterinarian typically also removes her uterus in addition to her ovaries. A female dog’s heat cycle is eliminated, and she is no longer able to procreate thanks to spaying. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that typically, behavior associated with breeding impulses will end, although this is not always the case for all dogs.

The procedure is also referred to as an ovariectomy (where only ovaries are removed) or an ovariohysterectomy (when the uterus and ovaries are both removed). Both procedures are equally secure and successful.

Both testicles and the structures that go with them are removed during dog neutering. This process is also referred to as castrating. Any activity associated with mating instincts, such as humping, normally stops after neutering a male dog, though this is not always the case, according to the AVMA. The dog’s age and other variables may play a role in this.

Although there are other options, such as vasectomies for male dogs (the cutting of the tubes that transport sperm from the testes), they are not frequently used.

 

Why spay and neuter?

Dogs and pups that are not wanted are crowded into animal shelters around the nation. Every year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 6.5 million animals enter the shelter or rescue system. Only about 3.2 million of those 6.5 million animals are thought to leave shelters or rescues and find homes.

By reducing the number of unwanted litters, spaying and neutering also helps to lower the number of unwanted pets or stray animals that need to be rescued or placed in shelters.

Additionally, some operations offer certain health advantages that might help a dog live a healthier, longer life and lessen behavioral problems. According to Carolyn Brown, senior medical director of community medicine at the ASPCA, spaying a dog can help prevent significant health issues like breast cancer and pyometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.

According to Brown, neutering male dogs helps prevent them from acquiring testicular cancer. Male dogs who have been neutered tend to be less hostile and less likely to stray from their homes. They are less likely to get into fights or get hit by a car as a result, which helps to keep them safe.

On the other side, dogs who have been spayed or neutered are slightly more likely to get certain illnesses, such as prostate cancer and specific orthopedic disorders. However, the benefits of spaying and neutering their dogs outweigh the drawbacks for most pet owners.

 

When Should Your Dog Be Spayed or Neutered?

Although a spay clinic or shelter may safely spay or neuter dogs as young as two months old, Brown notes that the conventional age for spaying or neutering a dog is between 4 and 6 months. Nevertheless, Brown advises that “each individual owner should address their specific circumstances with their personal vets.” The best time to spay and neuter a pet depends on a variety of factors.

For instance, a dog’s breed may be relevant. According to research, large dog breeds typically grow a little later than their smaller counterparts. The environment in which an animal lives may also be a factor.

Brown advises that a male and female from the same litter who are adopted into the same home be neutered and spayed sooner, before the female enters the heat. She continues, “On the other side, if the puppy is the sole intact dog living in the family, there is less need to spay or neuter.”

Most veterinarians advise spaying a female dog prior to her initial heat cycle. This can happen at any age, although it usually happens between 5 and 10 months. Her risk of acquiring dog mammary (breast) cancer is significantly reduced by spaying before the first heat cycle.

Adult size is an essential consideration for male canines. The average age at which small and medium male dogs are neutered is 6 months, however your doctor may advise waiting until the puppy of a huge breed is a year or older.

But before a dog is neutered or spayed, it is crucial that the veterinarian, whether in a private practice, a clinic, or a shelter, give the animal a full checkup to ensure there are no health issues, Brown notes. A thorough medical history should be provided by the pet’s owner as well, she advises, as underlying diseases or current prescription pet drugs may be important.

 

Recovery of Post-Spay and Neuter Surgery

By taking the following safety steps advised by the ASPCA, dog owners can ensure that their pets recover safely and comfortably following spaying or neutering:

  • During the healing process, keep the dog inside and away from other animals.
  • For up to two weeks following surgery, or for however long the vet recommends, avoid letting the dog run around and jump on and off objects.
  • Using a cone (often referred to as the “cone of shame”) or other techniques, as advised by the veterinarian, make sure the dog is unable to lick the location of their incision.
  • Make sure the incision is healing properly by checking it every day. If there is any redness, swelling, discharge, or offensive odor, call your veterinarian right away.
  • After surgery, the dog should not be bathed for at least 10 days.
  • If the dog appears uncomfortable, appears lethargic, is eating less, is vomiting, or has diarrhea, call the veterinarian.
  • To ensure that the dog is given pet pain medication and sent home with it, Brown also advises discussing pain management with the veterinarian before the treatment. She says it is best to keep pain medication on hand just in case, even though it might not be necessary.

According to Dr. Marina Tejeda of the North Shore Animal League America’s Spay USA in Port Washington, New York, a good approach to determine a dog’s recovery is to see if the animal is comfortable and active enough to play.

A playful dog, however, does not give you the right to let her go run around before she is completely recovered. Your dog’s return to normal self-perception is only a sign that she is recuperating.

 

Is having a spay or neuter procedure risky?

The AVMA states that although spaying and neutering are regular operations, there is always some risk involved with animals having surgery and being under general anesthesia.

Before having surgery, dogs should have a complete physical examination to make sure they are in good health overall. Dr. Tejeda advises blood testing to make sure the dog has no underlying medical conditions. She points out that more testing may be necessary for heart murmurs, liver, and kidney problems.

 

What Are a Few Common Myths Regarding Spay and Neuter Practices?

There are still many myths about neutering and spaying dogs. A common misconception is that a dog that has been sterilized will gain weight. Not true, according to Brown of the ASPCA, if dog owners provide their pets the right amount of activity and food.

After being spayed or neutered, dogs do often require fewer calories (by around 20 percent) but maintaining an appropriate diet and keeping them active will prevent weight gain.

Another myth is that a dog’s personality will alter if it is spayed or neutered. That is also untrue. It should not significantly alter their conduct, according to Brown. If anything, it might aid in putting an end to undesirable activities like marking the house.

 

How Much Will It Cost to Neuter or Spay Your Dog?

The price of spaying or neutering a dog varies depending on the dog’s size and geographic location. According to Petfinder, most veterinary clinics don’t charge more than $300 for the procedure. Depending on the area, a low-cost clinic may charge anywhere from $45 to $135.

However, the abundance of low-cost spay and neuter facilities makes it worthwhile to investigate the low-cost options offered in a particular area. To assist dog owners in locating accessible spay and neuter clinics in their locations, organizations like Spay USA and the ASPCA provide searchable national databases.

At participating clinics, SpayUSA provides vouchers that help pay a portion of the cost of the procedure. Dog owners can also inquire about specific low-cost and economical choices for spay and neuter treatments with their local towns.

Dr. Tejeda makes the point that just because a spay and neuter facility offers services at a lower cost does not imply that those services will necessarily be any less thorough than those offered by a private practice. She emphasizes that “low-cost does not equal low-quality.” To learn what is and is not covered, ask for a breakdown of the costs related to spaying or neutering your dog.

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