Spay or Neuter for Dogs:
What You Need to Know
It has become a widely held belief that every pet owner should spay or neuter their dog without question. However, what spay and neuter advocates won’t tell you are some of the risks. Along with the benefits, there are risks to this life altering surgery. Not every dog must be spayed or neutered. Every pet owner should consider the options and make a personal choice, just as they would with every other decision relating to their pet.
Most of the benefits associated with spay or neuter procedures are true. Your dog will most likely calm down from his hormonal need to multiply, but this does not mean he will gain weight and become slow. He will maintain all of his natural energy and healthy weight as long as you provide a quality diet and daily exercise.
A spayed female is given prevention from mammary tumors and will never get Pyometra (a life threatening infection of the uterus). A male who is neutered also is given prevention from an enlarged prostate and testicular cancer, as his testicles will be fully removed in a typical neuter.
Your veterinarian should go over the risks involved in this surgery before-hand. These risks may include problems with anesthesia, especially in small dogs. If you have an experienced vet who is passionate about what they do, the risks are lowered. Going under anesthesia will lower your dog’s body temperature, which should be constantly monitored. Other problems, such as anaphylactic shock can also occur in a dog who has a reaction to a type of anesthesia.
Along with the typical risks of anesthesia from the surgery itself, you also have to keep an eye out for infection around the incision. While your dog is recovering, you must watch for signs of pain and discomfort. Your vet can provide medications for pain if it is severe.
The removal of a major body part will place stress on anyone’s body, even your dog’s! When a reproductive organ is removed, such as the uterus or the testicles, the dog’s body undergoes a change. Removing these organs adds a higher risk to joint problems, incontinence, and some types of cancers. If neutered before the age of 2, a dog has a significantly increased chance of hip dysplasia and major hair or coat changes.
Still unsure if you should spay or neuter your dog? First, you should ask yourself if you feel you can handle an intact animal. A dog who is kept intact has a higher likelihood of marking, or urinating on objects within your home. This can be addressed through training with diligence and consistency, but you must ask yourself if you have that kind of patience to deal with a dog urinating in a home at 2 years of age!
Almost any dog of any breed can be taught boundaries and to stay within their owners’ sight. However, keeping a watchful eye on a female dog in season can be challenging. If she is not monitored carefully, you could end up with an unwanted litter.
Not everyone is able to successfully raise a pet that is not spayed or neutered. For those simply seeking a best friend, it may be best to get your pet ‘fixed’. The downside to an altered pet is that the increased risk of long term health problems. They may also require more vet care in their senior years. If you do choose to spay or neuter, it may be safer to wait until your dog reaches full maturity. At 2 years old, risks associated with arthritis, mobility issues, and hip dysplasia, are decreased. For some who are up to the challenge, consider keeping your dog intact primarily for your pet’s health, but also to maintain a healthy wallet!
For More Information
If you have questions about spay or neuter procedures for dogs or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.