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Spaying and Neutering Dogs 101

Are you wondering what neutering or spaying your dog actually entails? When you should have it done? Or what risks are involved in the procedure? Here, our Staten Island vets help you understand the basics of these surgical procedures.

Spaying or neutering your dog, otherwise known as "fixing" your dog, are elective surgeries that involve the sterilization of an animal.

Each year, approximately 6.5 million animals enter rescue systems or shelters across the United States, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Less than half of those animals are adopted as pets.

Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best ways to do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.

What are the differences between spaying and neutering?

Neutering Male Dogs

Neutering, also known as castration, involves the removal of both testicles from your male dog, as well as the associated internal structures. Your dog will be unable to reproduce after this procedure.

There are alternative options, like vasectomies, for male dogs. However, these options aren't usually performed. 

Spaying Female Dogs

Spaying describes the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs, either by an ovariectomy (removing the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy (the removal of the uterus and ovaries).

After being spayed, your dog won't enter heat any longer and will not be able to have puppies.

When should you have your dog spayed or neutered?

There is a wide range of factors you will need to keep in mind when considering when to have your dog spayed or neutered. Both procedures can be performed on puppies as young as a couple of months old. And traditionally, puppies are fixed by the time they are 4 to 6 months of age.

The timing of your dog's spay or neuter will be determined by a variety of factors. Because larger dogs mature more slowly than medium or smaller dogs, they should be fixed later. Many veterinarians recommend that females be spayed before their first heat cycle. Also, if you adopt male and female puppies around the same age, have them both spayed and neutered before the female's first heat.

You should always consult your vet about the timing of your pup's spay or neuter. They will conduct a full physical exam and consult your dog's medical history before conducting the procedure to minimize the risk of complications.

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering my dog?

On top of eliminating the risk of an unwanted litter of puppies, there is a wide range of benefits to consider when neutering or spaying your dog. 

Spaying your female dog will drastically reduce their risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. And while it is not always the case, generally being spayed will put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.

Neutering male dogs help to prevent testicular cancer and reduce a variety of undesirable behaviors. Aggression, humping, howling, and roaming is examples of these behaviors. All of this can help to avoid unfortunate events such as dog fights or being hit by a vehicle.

What are the risks of spaying or neutering my dog?

While these surgeries are relatively common and safe, they should be performed by an experienced and qualified veterinarian due to the small risk involved. However, this is true for any surgery that necessitates general anesthesia.

What does the recovery process look like?

Your veterinarian will advise you on specific pain management and post-operative care for your dog after surgery, but here are some general guidelines to follow while he recovers.

  • Refrain from bathing your dog for at least 10 days following surgery.
  • For up to two weeks after the procedure, prevent your dog from running, jumping, or undertaking other strenuous activities.
  • Check your dog’s incision daily to ensure it’s healing correctly. Contact your vet if you notice swelling, redness, or discharge.
  • Keep your dog inside and away from other animals as they heal.

Has your dog been spayed or neutered? Contact our Staten Island vets today to get more information about these procedures and to book your appointment today!

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