As a dog owner, one of the most responsible things that you can do is to get your canine companion spayed or neutered. Spaying is usually the term that refers to the removal of the reproductive organs in female animals, while neutering is often used to refer to the procedure in males. Regardless of the name, they both focus on the safe removal of the reproduction organs.
Neutering is a fairly simple process since the testicles are nearly always found outside the body. Male dogs can be neutered in a short procedure under local anesthetic with sedation, or general anesthetic. The recovery period is also quite short, with most male dogs getting back to normal in just a few days. However, for females, the process is much more invasive since the female reproductive organs are found internally. The procedure is done using general anesthetic and it can take up to 10 days for recovery.
There is a range of different reasons why it is important to get your dog neutered or spayed at the appropriate time:
Spaying/neutering reduces the likelihood of your dog developing certain diseases. In males, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and prostate disease. In females, it will prevent uterine infections, ovarian cancer and can help to reduce incidences of breast cancer, which are fatal in around 50% of dogs
Spaying/neutering has behavior benefits too. Owners notice a reduction in undesirable behaviors such as aggression, excessive vocalization, roaming, and urine spraying
Spaying/neutering prevents pregnancy and overpopulation, making it more likely that animals in shelters will be adopted into loving homes
The best age to spay or neuter a dog largely depends on the breed that you have. The general recommendation is that small dog breeds (under 45lbs in weight) are neutered at six months old or spayed prior to their first heat (which is usually when they are 5-6 months old). Large breed dogs (over 45lbs) should be neutered/spayed after their growth stops, which is usually somewhere between 9 and 15 months old. This is because some studies have found evidence that suggests that there is an increased risk of debilitating joint disorders associated with early neutering. Larger breeds of dogs are naturally more prone to developing joint problems, hence the recommended delay in the neutering process for these animals.
Your veterinarian will be able to help you to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of neutering and will work with you to ascertain the right time for the procedure for your darling dog, based on their sex, age, and health.
Getting your dog spayed or neutered is a very responsible act and one that is recommended by nearly all veterinarians. For more information and advice, or to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable veterinary team, please contact Lone Oak Animal Clinic in Paducah, Kentucky at (270) 554-0385.