Your puppy isn’t exactly ready to become a mommy or a daddy. At least not yet. But that shouldn’t stop you from starting a conversation with your vet about spaying or neutering your pet. Typically done between six and nine months of age, spay and neuter procedures have many different benefits for your pup.
If you’re planning on breeding your dog, obviously a spay or neuter isn’t necessary. But if you have no need to breed your pet (such as you don’t have a show-quality dog), this is a procedure that you’ll want to invest in.
Spaying and neutering your dog involves anesthesia. It’s a surgery, and like any other surgery, there are risks. That said, under normal circumstances, the benefits outweigh the risks to your furry friend. Take a look at what you need to know about this reproductive procedure and why your dog needs a spay/neuter
when the time comes.
Spaying or neutering your dog doesn’t just affect you and your pet. It impacts the nation’s pet population as a whole. Each year nearly 3.3 million dogs are given to or take to animal shelters in the U.S., according to the ASPCA
. While more than half of these animals are adopted into loving homes, approximately 670,000 dogs are euthanized by shelters annually.
With millions of dogs entering animal shelters, and a sizable number of them being euthanized, it’s easy to see why keeping the pet population under control is essential. Even though you watch your dog, one stray outside of the yard could mean that you’ll end up with a litter of puppies. If you can’t care for all of the animals, or can’t find suitable homes, they’ll become part of the pet overpopulation problem.
A spay or neuter procedure eliminates the pregnancy risk, making it easier to control the dog population as a whole. Think of this surgery as a way of helping other animals. The fewer dogs there are, the less likely it is that strays (and other dogs who are given to shelters) will meet an unnecessary end.
You want your dog to live well into old age. Spaying or neutering
them in the first year can help them to do this in a healthy way. If you have a female dog, spaying her before the time of her first heat reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast tumors.
Keep in mind, the specific age of the first heat varies by breed. Many dogs have their first heat somewhere near six-months-old. Larger breed dogs may be as old as two years before they have theirs. If you’re not sure when to get your dog spayed, in reference to her first heat, talk to your veterinarian.
Like female dogs, male dogs can also reap health benefits from neutering. For some dogs, the results of this procedure can reduce the risk of prostate problems or even prevent testicular cancer.
You may have heard that spaying or neutering your dog can decrease behavioral problems. And it can. But if your dog has major issues, this is not a quick fix. It’s also not a catch-all behavioral issue eliminator. While spaying/neutering your canine can reduce aggression and solve runaway issues, your dog won’t go from badly behaved to saintly sweet overnight.
After the procedure, your dog won’t have a strong desire to seek out a mate. Females won’t go into heat. Your dog may be less likely to wander away in search of a male, bark incessantly or urinate in your home. Your male dog also won’t have the need to wander away, in search of a mate, mount other dogs or mark their territory by urinating in and around your home.