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What You Need to Know About Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

What You Need to Know About Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

Today, our vets in Ypsilanti discuss the details of having your dog spayed or neutered including what you can expect from the procedure, the benefits of the surgery, as well as when you should have your pup spayed/ neutered.

Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) states that approximately 6.5 million animals are brought into shelters or the rescue system across the United States every year. And only about 3.2 million of them are adopted by families.

Having your dog spayed or neutered is the best way to help lower the overall amount of unplanned puppies every year, and reduce the overwhelming number of animals in shelters and rescues. Also, this surgical procedure can help improve your pup's behavior and lower their risk of developing several serious health problems.

The Differences Between Spaying and Neutering

First, we need to establish what 'fixing your dog' means. ‘Fixing’ is a popular word used to describe spaying or neutering a dog.

Spaying Female Dogs

When a veterinarian or dog surgeon spays a female dog they are performing either an ovariectomy (to remove only the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy ( to remove both uterus and ovaries).

After the vet has spayed your female dog, her heat cycle will be eliminated and she won't be able to have puppies.

Neutering Male Dogs

Neutering can also be called castration and it is when a veterinarian removes both testicles, as well as the associated structures. Your neutered dog will not be able to reproduce.

There are also alternative options available for male dogs including vasectomies (where the tubes that conduct sperm from the testes are severed) however, veterinarians and veterinary surgeons in Ypsilanti don't usually perform these procedures. 

The Benefits of Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

On top of drastically lowering the risk of unwanted puppies, there are lots of benefits to consider for spaying or neutering your dog.

By spaying your female dog, you can prevent a range of serious health conditions such as mammary cancer and pyometra (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection).

Even though instinctive breeding behavior usually stops,  it's not always true for every dog.

By neutering your male dog you can help keep him from developing testicular cancer, as well as cutting back on undesirable behaviors such as humping (generally - depending on the age of your dog and other factors), and behavioral problems including aggression and straying. This helps keep your pooch from encountering tragedies like getting into fights with other dogs or being hit by a car.

When You Should Spay or Neuter Your Dog

There are various factors you’ll have to consider when determining the right time to have your dog spayed or neutered. But, both procedures can be conducted on puppies as young as a few months old. Traditionally, puppies are fixed when they are between 4 and 6 months old.

Did you know a dog’s breed and living situation can make a difference in when you should neuter or spay them? Larger dogs often mature a little slower than smaller pups.

Adopting a male and female from the same age range? Have them spayed and neutered earlier before the female starts having heat cycles. But if your new puppy is the only “intact” dog who will be living in your home, you can wait a bit longer.

Adult size is an important factor for male dogs. While small and medium male dogs can generally be neutered earlier (at about 6 months old), if you have a giant breed puppy your vet might suggest waiting until they mature and are a year old or older before having them neutered.

Most vets will suggest having your female dog spayed before she enters her first heat cycle to significantly lower her risk for developing dog breast (mammary) cancer. Though this timeline varies, It usually happens when they are between 5 and 10 months of age.

Ask your vet about when the best time would be to have your dog spayed or neutered. No matter when you choose to have the procedure done, make sure your dog gets a complete physical exam (your vet might order blood work if it's needed) before the procedure to ensure your pup does not have any existing health issues.

Discuss your dog’s full medical history with your vet, including current prescription medications or underlying conditions such as heart murmurs, kidney or liver issues that might need further investigation.

The Risks of Having Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

Spaying and neutering are common surgical procedures for dogs in Ypsilanti, but they need to be performed by a qualified surgeon or veterinarian, as some degree of risk is involved with any veterinary surgery requiring general anesthesia.

Some orthopedic conditions and diseases such as prostatic cancer are slightly more common in dogs who have been spayed or neutered.

However, the advantages of spaying or neutering a dog will outweigh the disadvantages in most cases.

What You Can Expect From the Surgery Recovery Process

If it's needed your vet can recommend pain management techniques and prescribe pain medication for your pooch. Even if your dog is recovering well and feeling playful, do not let them run around before they are actually healed.

You can help ensure your dog has a comfortable, safe recovery from a spaying or neutering procedure by taking some of these precautions:

  • Check your dog’s incision daily to ensure it’s healing correctly. If you notice swelling, discharge, redness, or a foul odor, contact your vet immediately as this could be a sign of infection.
  • Also contact your vet if your dog seems lethargic, uncomfortable, has a reduced or non-existent appetite, has diarrhea, or is vomiting.
  • Have your dog wear a cone (commonly known as a “cone of shame”) or another accessory that can help keep them from licking their incision site, which could cause infection. Your vet can suggest the appropriate cone for your pup.
  • Refrain from bathing your dog for at least 10 days following surgery.
  • For up to two weeks after surgery (or as long as your vet advises), prevent your dog from running around or jumping.
  • Keep your dog inside, away from other animals as he or she recovers.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

To learn more about having your beloved pup spayed or neutered visit the surgery page on our website. The vets at our Ypsilanti clinic are also able to perform spaying and neutering procedures for cats, contact us today to schedule your cat or dog's appointment. 

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