Spaying or neutering is not a fun time for both you and your fur baby, but it’s the most responsible way to care for your pet. If you’re a new dog owner, you may not know how to care for them after being spayed or neutered.
Today’s blog will get down to the nitty-gritty of this important surgery and give you tips on the aftercare.
The Difference Between Spaying and Neutering
Spaying means removing a female pup’s reproductive organs, while neutering does the same for males. The procedure involves taking a female pup’s ovaries and uterus, so they are no longer able to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle. Also, her breeding instincts typically will cease as well, but it’s not always the case, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The procedure for spaying where both the uterus and ovaries are removed is called an ovariohysterectomy; when the ovaries are only removed is an ovariectomy. Both procedures are safe and effective.
In males dogs, being neutered (castration) means both testicles and their accompanying structures are removed. And like females, it renders them unable to reproduce and leads to changes in breeding instincts like humping — although this can still occur and depends on several factors, such as the age of the dog and the breed. Vasectomies (severing of the tubes that contain sperm) for males dogs can also be performed, but it’s rarer.
Importance of Spaying or Neutering
Unwanted puppies dogs are crammed in shelters around the country, and according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 6.5 million animals enter the shelter or rescue system annually. Only 3.2 million of those 6.5 million dogs find homes. Spaying and neutering reduce the number of unwanted litters, which creates a ripple effect of fewer dogs entering the shelter system, overwhelming the system and costing more money to care for them.
Other important factors to consider when spaying or neutering include:
- Healthier, longer life
- Reduce behavioral issues
- Helps prevent serious health problems, such as mammary cancer and pyometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection
- Prevents testicular cancer
- Males dogs are usually less aggressive, so they’re less likely to get into fights and are less likely to stray from home, so they are less likely to get hit by a car.
On the other hand, prostate cancer and certain orthopedic conditions are slightly more common in spayed or neutered dogs. For most owners, the pros outweigh the cons.
The Best Time to Spay or Neuter
The saying “the sooner, the better” applies here. It’s best to spay or neuter your pup between 4 and 6 months with some spay clinics or shelters may do it as early as 2 months. It’s best to get a vet’s recommendation since some factors can influence the timing like a dog’s breed. Research shows that larger dogs may not reach maturity as early as their smaller peers.
Also, an animal’s environment and living conditions need to be considered.
For example, the adoption of a male and female from the same litter going to the same home should be spayed and neutered before the female goes into heat. If the puppy is the only intact dog in the house, you can usually wait until the 4 to 6 months recommendation. For the female, the first heat cycle usually occurs between 5 and 10 months of age, so spaying before this first cycle is best and reduce her risk of developing dog mammary breast cancer.
Regarding male dogs, their adult size is an important factor. Small and medium dogs are typically neutered around 6 months of age. For giant breed owners, they may need to wait until their pup is a year old before neutering. Vets will usually give the animal a complete checkup before the procedure to ensure there are no health issues. The owner will need to provide a full medical history because certain conditions or current prescriptions could affect the procedure.
The following are tips for recovery after spaying or neutering a pup.
Recovery From Spay and Neuter Surgery
By following some recommendations from the ASPCA, a spay and neuter surgery is safe, and the pups have a reasonably comfortable recovery; these include:
- Using a cone “cone of shame” as it’s lovingly called, to ensure the dog can’t lick their incision site
- Keeping the pup inside and away from other animals during the recovery period
- Checking the incision daily to make sure it’s healing properly and not develop redness, swelling, discharge or foul odor, which requires contacting a vet immediately
- Not bathing the dog for at least 10 days after surgery
- Not allowing the pup to run around or jump on and off things for at least two weeks after surgery or as long as your vet recommends
- Calling the vet if the pup is uncomfortable, lethargic, eating less, or experiences vomiting or diarrhea
It’s also important to speak with the vet or clinic about pain management before the procedure so that pain medication can be sent home with the puppy. Some dogs need meds, some don’t, so just keep an eye on them and see if the pup is comfortable and energetic enough to play. This also helps to gauge how their recovery is going. Of course, your puppy mustn’t be allowed to run around until fully healed, but once she starts acting like her self again, you can be sure she’s recovering well.
Misconceptions About Spaying and Neutering
You may have heard some misconceptions regarding spaying or neutering a pup, so let’s break some of these down and correct them. A popular misconception is that a sterilized dog will put on the pounds. The ASPCA debunks this and says the proper amount of dog food and the pup’s activity levels are the main factors of weight issues. In fact, after spaying and neutering, dogs need fewer calories (about 20 percent).
Another misconception is that the procedure will change how a dog behaves — not true either. If anything, it will help aggressive behaviors and unwelcome behaviors, such as marking in the house.
Costs of Spaying or Neutering Dogs
It depends on where you live as to the cost of spaying or neutering a dog, but the average animal hospital charges are at least $300. A low-cost clinic may cost between $45 to $135, again dependent on location. Organizations such as SpayUSA and ASPCA offer databases you can research to get low-cost clinics that provide affordable procedures.
SpayUSA offers vouchers that cover a portion of the surgery costs, and you can also check with your local clinics and organizations to see what they offer. Note that just because it’s a low-cost option does not mean it’s low-quality.
Protect Your Car Seats After Spaying or Neutering
After spaying or neutering and bringing your pup home, there may be some residual effects of the procedure that could lead to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Protect your car seats with durable covers from Plush Paws Products. We offer a variety of sizes, styles, and colors that can be customized for your vehicle. Contact us for more information today.