Spaying/Neutering your Dog: What to Expect

Neutering or Spaying is one way of taking good care of your pet dog. It is the most responsible thing you can do as an owner. Most likely, for first-time owners, they will have some questions/queries about what spaying/neutering is all about, how it affects their dogs, what are the disadvantage and advantages, how much is the cost, what are the risk factors included. Here are some of the answers to these questions on what neutering/spaying is all about and how it works.

What is Spaying/Neutering? Are they Different?

Spaying is the process of removing the reproductive organ of a female dog. While Neutering refers to the procedure that is done for male dogs.

Usually, when a female dog is spayed, its ovaries and uterus are removed by the Vet. This only means that it renders the dog incapable of producing babies or reproducing. This procedure is commonly known as “ovariohysterectomy” if both the uterus and ovaries are removed. When the ovary is only removed, it is called Ovariectomy.

As for male dogs, Neutering is done by removing its testicles and all organs associated with it. This procedure is called castration. Neutering makes a male dog incapable of reproducing. However, breeding instincts are not often ceased, such as humping, although this varies from dog to dog.

Why do we spay or Neuter our dogs?

Spaying or neutering dogs decreases the number of unwanted litters throughout the country. For example, according to an organization called, ASPCA, around 7 million dogs are rescued or taken to pet shelters; half of them make their way out of the shelter.

By spaying and neutering, we eliminate the possibility of pet shelter crowding and the number of stray dogs that populate the streets. In general, these procedures limit the capacity of dogs in producing litters that might not make it to homes; instead, they will be living in the streets.

Aside from reducing the population of stray dogs and puppies, they can benefit from it by being healthier, living a longer life, and may limit behavioral problems. By spaying a female dog, this reduces the chance of having Pyometra, life-threatening illness for female dogs. It can also prevent them from having mammary cancer.

While spaying has tons of benefits, neutering too has its benefits. By neutering dogs, testicular cancer can be prevented. Neutered dogs possess reduced aggression and are less likely to abandon their home. However, keep in mind that not all dogs are the same; one works for one may not work for the other.

When is the right time to spay or neuter your dog?

The traditional age for spaying or neutering dogs is around 4 to 6 months. Some dog shelters even spay or neuter dogs at the tender age of 2 months. However, each owner should discuss their specific views regarding the castration of their dog. Several factors can influence the right timing for spaying or neutering their dog.

A dog’s breed can be a good example of when is the right time for your dog to have this procedure. Reports have shown that larger dogs take longer time to mature as compared to small dogs. In addition, a dog’s living condition should be a factor too.

Most vets recommend spaying dogs before their first heat cycle. Although it varies between 5 to 10 months, spaying before their first heat cycle reduces the chance of them developing mammary cancer.

For male dogs, one important factor is their size. Small to medium dogs are often castrated earlier compared to larger dogs, while large dog breeds may need a year before being castrated.

Nonetheless, it is essential for dogs to be checked before getting spayed/neutered to ensure that there are no underlying issues, and no complications may occur. Vets also recommend owners to provide a full medical history of their pets to facilitate any current medication/condition their pet has.

How long do dogs recover after getting this surgery?

After the operation, veterinarians usually provide the dos and don’ts to help fasten their dog’s recovery. Here is the list that may help your dog recover faster.

  • Always keep your dog inside your home and avoid outside contact after an operation. This limits their chances of contracting further complications.
  • After surgery, keep your dog from jumping up and down, this should be maintained for two weeks to ensure there are no additional problems occur and tearing of the incision
  • Always ensure that your dog does not lick their incision, as this promotes parasites from entering the incision and causing more problems.
  • Have their incision checked day-to-day; this will allow you to monitor its healing progress. If there are anomalies, occur, like redness, tenderness, swelling, or any discharge, please contact your vet immediately.
  • The dog should not be bathed for more than 10 days post-operation; this allows the incision to heal itself naturally.
  • If your dog is feeling uneasy, lethargic, eating less, vomiting, or is having diarrhea, call your Vet immediately.

Things to expect whenever your dog is neutered or spayed

  1. Is Spaying/Neutering your dog risky?

According to the AVMA, there are usually risks involved whenever a dog is going through operation and having general anesthesia. However, spaying and neutering are common procedures for dogs. In addition, before dogs go through the operation, they undergo a comprehensive checkup if the dog is fit enough to have an operation.

  1. Misconceptions about Spaying/Neutering

Many misconceptions about spaying/neutering exist. One of the more common misconceptions is that it fattens the dog; this is not true as long as the owner provides an adequate amount of exercise. Another misconception about neutering/spaying is that it changes the dog’s behavior. That is not true either. Neutering or spaying a dog does not change their personalities altogether.

Other things to expect:

  1. Expect that they can no longer reproduce
  2. When a dog is spayed, certain diseases can be prevented.
  3. The procedure does not cost that much. It is an affordable procedure.
  4. It may take longer adjustments before your dog can acclimate when neutered/spayed.
  5. The procedure is not risky. Vets can assure you.
  6. It will not make your dog fat.
  7. It does not make your dog less of a man/woman.
  8. Expect positive changes whenever your dog is spayed/neutered.

Final words

Spaying/neutering your dogs are an essential part of their lives and are factors when you talk about their future. Nonetheless, we, as owners, should provide the best of our capabilities to provide what is best for our pets. Dogs bring out the best in us and are rightfully so to reciprocate them with all the care they need. Lastly, having dogs is like having a child; their welfare should be our top priority.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

1 thought on “Spaying/Neutering your Dog: What to Expect”

  1. Karen Korman 720-899-2345
    I am interested in having my Chihuahua-Jack Russell mIx spayed. Bella Leah is 3 yrs old, she is in good health. She had her shots 1 1/2 – 2 years ago. I would like to schedule an appointment, anytime will be convenient for me. I would also like an estimate of the cost involved.


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