Spaying or neutering your dog is a common and well-known procedure among pet owners. However, it’s more than just a routine operation.
As a responsible dog owner, it is important to know about the procedure, as well as its risks and benefits, to ensure the best care for your dog.
If that sounds daunting, don’t worry; we have all the information you need right here.
Spay vs. Neuter
Spaying and neutering are two procedures done to canine or feline animals that remove their reproductive organs.
For female dogs, the term spaying is used; its proper medical term is ovariohysterectomy. For male dogs, it’s called neutering, or gonadectomy, and can also be referred to as castration.
However, neutering can also be used to refer to the procedure for both genders, if you don’t want to get technical.
Why Should You Have Your Dog Neutered?
There are many reasons for neutering your dog. Not only does it benefit your pet, but it also benefits the canine population as a whole. With fewer pups to take care of, there is less strain on shelters to find homes for stray dogs, and this lessens the need for euthanization.
Every day, there are more dogs added to the streets, more in numbers than the people who want to adopt them. Responsible dog owners take it upon themselves to curb the population of unwanted dogs, providing an ethical solution to the growing stray population.
This is why neutering is a common procedure among dog owners; making sure that your dog is unable to reproduce will make sure that your dog does not have any unwanted pregnancies. Indeed, neutering is a routine procedure in dog shelters, for logistic and practical reasons.
Additionally, spaying a dog can help avoid unwanted behavior from your canine companion.
While this perk is not always attainable, depending on the age of your dog when they undergo the procedure, a spayed or neutered dog is more likely to avoid crying and attracting mates while in heat (for females), or excessive levels of territorial and aggressive behaviour (in males).
Neutering may even help dogs avoid changes in appetite.
Risks of Neutering
Even with these benefits, there are a growing number of dog owners who are reluctant to neuter their dogs.
Like any surgical procedure, there are several risks to neutering, including obesity, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism, to name a few.
Nowadays, there are many who opt for other ways to avoid unwanted pet pregnancies, such as keeping their dogs from the opposite sex.
However, most conditions related to neutering have a low chance of developing and are otherwise easily avoidable with proper diet and exercise.
Additionally, while there are female dogs spayed that develop risks, they are generally at less risk than male neutered dogs.
Should you decide to go with this procedure, when should you neuter your dog?
When to Neuter a Dog
When to neuter a dog is one of the common questions that dog owners face. There are many who advocate for as early as five months of age for a female dog (before they go into heat for the first time in some breeds), and as early as eight weeks for male dogs.
However, it would be best to wait until your dog is fully mature before neutering; most veterinarians would make this recommendation, preferring you neuter at about six months of age.
However, sexual maturity in dogs will differ from breed to breed. There may also be other unique factors in your dog that affect the right age for castration. It’s always a good idea to refer to your veterinarian for the right timing.
There are also side effects to neutering both before and after puberty; dogs neutered before puberty tend to grow taller than those neutered after, due to the lack of hormones that stop the bones from growing. This may be a wanted side effect for some, and not for others.
Is Your Dog Neutered?
However, if your dog was adopted or gifted, you may be wondering if your dog has already been neutered.
To determine if male dogs are spayed or neutered, you might check for the lack of visible testicles inside the dog’s scrotum. However, this method can be unreliable, as it may not always be easy to determine.
Obviously, it gets even harder when you want to determine if a female dog is spayed. If you are lucky, a surgical scar may be present on their belly.
However, this isn’t a sure sign, as this scar may mean that your dog underwent surgery of any kind, not necessarily to remove their reproductive organs.
The only sure way for you to determine whether your dog is neutered is to take them to the vet. There, your veterinarian will conduct a more thorough examination to determine if your dog is still ‘intact.’
Here’s a video showing more details on spaying and neutering your dog.
Is your dog spayed or neutered? What was your experience with spaying or neutering your dog?