Spaying and Neutering Dogs: What You Should Know

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January 23rd is World Spay Day! We at Petland want to remind all puppy parents how crucial it is to have their puppies spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering your dog is one of the best ways to ensure they live a long and healthy life.  When you spay or neuter your furry friend, you […]

January 23rd is World Spay Day! We at Petland want to remind all puppy parents how crucial it is to have their puppies spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering your dog is one of the best ways to ensure they live a long and healthy life. 

When you spay or neuter your furry friend, you prevent them from having unwanted puppies and lower their risk of contracting certain diseases. At Petland, we value the health and happiness of every puppy. That’s why we offer every Petland puppy an exclusive 50% off spay/neuter procedure with store-selected veterinarians.

You may be hesitant, especially with all the myths about spaying and neutering, but we promise it’s a procedure that will save you stress in the future. Read on to learn more about some common concerns about the spaying/neutering process. 

What’s the difference between spaying and neutering?

Many first-time pet owners confuse spaying and neutering with each other. While both procedures have the same end result (no unwanted puppies or kitties!), there are major differences on how each surgery is conducted.

Spaying usually refers to the surgical removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs. Spaying a female dog can involve either: 

  • Ovariectomy: the removal of her ovaries 
  • Ovariohysterectomy: the removal of her ovaries and uterus 

Both surgical treatments break the normal reproductive cycle of your furry cutie so you won’t have to worry about her going into heat.

Neutering, on the other hand, is the term for the procedure done on male dogs. Neutering a male dog also involves the removal of the male’s reproductive organs, mainly the testicles and any other structure associated with it (this procedure is called castration). Like spaying, your furry friend will no longer be able to reproduce.

Sometimes, spaying or neutering can eliminate bad behaviors that your fur-baby just can’t help. For instance, some male and female dogs display aggressive or destructive behavior when unaltered. Many male dogs are also known to urinate in specific areas of their home, even if they’re potty trained. Spaying or neutering can help reduce these behaviors, but not always. Be sure to ask your vet on the best possible option you can make for your pet’s habits.

When should you spay or neuter your pet?

The timing of your dog’s spaying or neutering procedure depends on various factors, including age, breed and sex. The typical recommended age for neutering is 4 to 6 months, but your pup can have the procedure done as early as 2 months old.

For the best possible option, consult with your vet on your dog’s background, breed and other important details. Your vet, for example, may recommend holding off on spaying or neutering your furry friend if they belong to a large breed. Many large breeds mature slower than smaller ones so it’s better to wait.

Your vet may also recommend spaying your little pooch before she experiences her first heat cycle (which usually starts at around 5 to 10 months of age). This can help prevent her from developing dog breast cancer (mammary tumors) later on in her life. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t spayed or neutered your dog as a puppy—they can still go through the surgery during their adulthood. There may be added risk if your furry friend is older or is overweight. 

How much does a spay or neutering procedure cost?

The cost of your dog’s spay or neutering surgery varies depending on location and clinic. Some clinics perform the procedure for as low as $45 while others may charge $300 or more. Each vet clinic and animal hospital will also check for your dog’s size, age, and other factors before giving an estimate. 

Be sure to ask your vet to breakdown the costs of your dog’s surgery to understand what’s included. Remember that spaying or neutering your puppy is entirely cost-effective, and prevents you from caring for unwanted litters.

Why should you spay or neuter your pet?

When you spay or neuter your dog, you help prevent unwanted puppies from being born. This controls the population of homeless dogs and puppies on the streets and shelters. You also provide your dog with a surge of medical and behavioral benefits, including:

  • Reduced health problems: Many dogs live happier and longer lives when they’re spayed or neutered. Why? The procedure protects them from various uterine and cancerous diseases like mammary tumors (breast cancer), uterine infections, testicular cancer, and prostate problems.
  • Better behavior: Your dog’s behavior may also change as a result of their surgery. Male dogs tend to show less aggression when interacting with others. They may also stop urinating in your home and mounting other dogs. Females may display calmer behavior after they’re spayed. This does not mean all of your dog’s behavior problems will disappear after they’re neutered/spayed. Consult your vet if your dog’s problematic habits persist.

What are some misconceptions about spaying or neutering?

There are various misconceptions and myths that still exist about spaying/neutering. Many of these misconceptions are founded around love and care for one’s furry best friend. However, it’s important to understand that these myths are more harmful than they are helpful towards your dog’s health.

One common myth about spaying/neutering is that a dog may become overweight or lazy. This is far from the truth—a lack of exercise and overeating will always cause a dog to gain weight. As your dog ages, they may lose interest in playing or performing the activities they did as puppies. To avoid overweight issues, feed your dog a healthy portion of nutritious dog food and exercise with them regularly.

Some pet owners also believe their dog’s personality will shift dramatically after the procedure. In truth, your dog will remain the same as they did before their surgery. They may lose some unwanted behavior, like spraying urine or aggression.

How do you prepare your pet before and after surgery?

Your vet will thoroughly explain the procedure, costs, preparations and other important details with you before and after surgery. You may be advised to withhold food from your furry friend the night or midnight before the procedure. Once your dog has had the procedure done, you can make their post-op recovery easy by following your vet’s instructions. Here are some helpful tips you can follow:

  • Keep your dog indoors and away from other animals while they recover.
  • Do not let your pup run, jump, or perform strenuous activities for 2 weeks (or for as long as your vet recommends). 
  • Use a pet cone (also humorously called the “cone of shame”) to prevent your furry friend from licking their incision sites. Licking incision sites will lead to possible infection. You can also use their favorite treats to distract them.
  • Avoid bathing your dog for at least 10 days after surgery.
  • Routinely check the incision sites and make note of any changes in color, discharge, swelling. Call your vet if you notice any changes, and if your pup is lethargic and lacks an appetite. 

When you consult with your vet about the spaying/neutering process, be sure to ask any questions or concerns you may have. You should also be aware that spaying or neutering isn’t a miracle solution to your dog’s behavioral problems. If your dog has learned bad habits since puppyhood, they may need an obedience class or dog trainer to break those habits. We hope this blog helps you make informed decisions about your cuddly pup so that they continue to live happy, healthy lives!

With tick season coming up, be sure to check out our blog, What To Do When You Find A Tick On Your Puppy to learn more on how to protect your furry friend!