Having your dog spayed or neutered prevents unwanted litter, but can also help to curb undesirable behaviors and even reduce the risk of certain diseases. Here, our Madison vets share what you need to know about getting your puppy fixed.
Why should I get my dog fixed?
If you have a new puppy you might be wondering why you should get your dog spayed or neutered, particularly if your dog will be on-leash during walks and otherwise confined to your home and garden.
In fact, there are many reason to have your dog fixed, including some significant health benefits, behavioral benefits, and possibly even financial benefits!
Benefits of Spaying Female Dogs
Across America, animal shelters are filled with unwanted dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 3.3 million dogs pass through shelters each year.
Health Benefits of Spaying Your Dog
Spaying your female dog before her first 'heat' can help to prevent uterine infections and breast tumors which can often be malignant or cancerous.
Financial Benefits of Spaying Your Dog
Preventing the birth of unwanted puppies is good for your pocketbook. While there is a fee for spaying, this fee is relatively low when compared to the cost of caring for a pregnant dog, calling a vet to the birth of the puppies and caring for newborns.
Deciding Not To Spay Your Female Dog
When female dogs are not spayed, they go through a reproductive stage often referred to as 'heat' about twice a year. During this stage, male dogs will be attracted to your female for about 18 days. This can lead to unwanted male dogs visiting your yard and possibly unwanted puppies.
Benefits of Neutering Male Dogs
As with spaying female dogs, when you neuter your male dog you help to reduce the population of unwanted dogs in the United States.
Health Benefits of Neutering Your Dog
By neutering your dog, you eliminate the risk of them developing testicular cancer and significantly reduce the risk of prostate diseases which can be serious. Neutering also helps to reduce the risk of perianal tumors and perineal hernias in your dog.
Behavioral Benefits of Neutering Your Dog
Neutering can help to curb your dog's desire to roam and may help to reduce behaviors such as mounting and aggression towards other dogs.
Deciding Not To Neuter Your Male Dog
There are a number of undesirable behaviors that are typical of male dogs that have not been neutered. These include heightened territorial behavior, being over-protective of people and toys, roaming (seeking female dogs), and aggression towards other dogs.
When to Get Your Puppy Fixed
Typically, puppies are spayed or neutered between five to nine months of age. Adult dogs can also be spayed or neutered. Consult your vet to find out when you should get your dog fixed.
What to Expect When Getting Your Puppy Fixed
Your vet will provide you with detailed pre-surgical instructions which may include restricting your pet's food and water before the scheduled surgery.
Once the surgery is complete your vet will provide you with post-operative instructions for helping your dog recover comfortably. Depending on which procedure has been performed, pain medication may be sent home with your dog.
Generally, female dogs take longer to recover after being spayed than male dogs after being neutered.
Once a female has been spayed, she is considered sterile and unable to have puppies.
It is important to note that male dogs are not considered sterile immediately following surgery! It can take as long as 6 weeks for a neutered male to be considered sterile.