After so many showings of The Price is Right, the phrase ‘help control the pet population, have your pets spayed and neutered’ seems innocuous. It becomes one of those age-old adages that you don’t really pay attention to. It snuggles right in between ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and ‘ a leopard can never change its spots’. We may not know much about the health benefits of apples or the stylistic choices of a fast feline but we can assure you of this; spaying and neutering your dog comes with tons of ups and can prevent more than its fair share of downs.
So..what does spaying and neutering do for my dog?
Maybe you always had that quizzical ‘what is he talking about?’ Face when Bob Barker signed off each episode. Not because you didn’t understand how YOU CAN BID A DOLLAR OVER THE PERSON BEFORE YOU, THAT’S BUSCH LEAGUE BEHAVIOR AND ISN’T ACCEPTABLE IN POLITE SOCIETY. Ahem. Maybe you were a little confused on what he was addressing for your pets. Spaying is the sterilization of female dogs by removing their ovaries and neutering sterilizes male dogs by taking their testicles. This means that your dog would not be able to reproduce. Some people hear this and get absolutely terrified but we assure you, this procedure helps more than hurts. Though being supplied with some great ear scratches after is probably very appreciated.
How can this help your dog?
Let’s discuss our ladies first. For your lady dogs, spaying helps deter uterine infections and breast tumors, which can be dangerous in about half of dogs! Getting this taken care of before they go into heat for the first time gives the best defense in these type of situations. Speaking of heat, this will not be something you have to worry about if your baby girl is spayed! About every eight months, they will go into heat for three weeks! You may see a mess that looks like bleeding over the house, they’ll experience more urination that may not always make it outside and you may notice a shift in behavior for the worst. Also, you may see more male dogs coming into your yard and the milkshake bringing them there is your dog in heat. How can they tell? Trust me, they’ll sense it.
Your trusted good boy can benefit from a good neutering! As with females, this can prevent disease. Getting fixed is a preemptive strike against prostate cysts, abscesses and other no fun bumps! And, as you can imagine, you can’t get testicular cancer if your boy’s got no testes! A male dog will feel less inclined to roam around looking to mate. An escaped dog is never a great experience for dog owner so reducing that chance is always grand. The thought of a pup wandering the streets lost, hungry or getting hurt can tense up any pup parent.
When should I get my dog fixed?
It’s really important to make sure it’s the right time to get your dog spayed or neutered. You definitely can’t choose a pup fresh from the litter. You have to wait for a little! A pup, male or female, can be neutered around eight weeks but most vets suggest that your dog hit puberty first. Have a chat with your personal vet for the best option but the rule of thumb is between 5 and 9 months.
Don’t feel bad for wanting to rush it, you want to be responsible and that’s not an awful trait! But a nice consultation with your vet can help you choose the best time fix your pup.
If you adopt an older dog, you can still get them spayed or neutered as well. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks. But as long as you have a trusted veterinarian, most senior dogs can be safely fixed!
Should I let my dog have a litter of puppies before spaying her?
It is a common myth that it’s better to have a female dog give a litter before getting fixed. Young lady dogs that are spayed are usually a bit healthier! Now the one obvious symptom of sterilizing your dog is no puppies. While puppies are darn adorable, surprise puppies can be a bit of out of hand. Unwanted pregnancies can deliver a litter you may not be able to care for in regards to time and/or cost. There are many puppies waiting for their forever home in shelters and rescues, adding more in the search doesn’t help. It’s an unfortunate truth that some shelters put down pups because they’re not enough homes.
It is also commonly believed that a pup post surgery becomes lethargic and overweight. That is untrue! If your pet is packing on the pounds, that can be due to overeating and not getting enough exercise, unrelated to getting fixed. They don’t pour themselves two extra rounds of kibble. As long as your dog is staying active, this shouldn’t be a concern.
Will my dog’s behavior or temperament change after getting spayed/neutered?
A behavioral shift is also a myth. This is not always guaranteed though in some cases, this can calm down your pup. This is usually associated with not getting riled up with the need to breed.
But… Will my dog miss his balls?
Another myth floating around is that your dog will feel like less of a dog without their reproductive organs. A sense of bravado associated with genitals is not a dog mentality. This is commonly a worry in male dogs, a fear that the feeling of emasculation will flow through your dog. Your dog will still act like the best boy, will not lose the will to protect you if they had it in the first place and will not hold a grudge against you for snatching their gonads. Don’t treat them any differently after the surgery and they’ll do the same.
Where do I go to get my dog spayed/neutered?
This can usually be scheduled with your vet! They can set up a procedure for you! However, we can understand that this can get costly! Do not fret, there are low-cost options out there! Some vet offices can arrange a payment plan for you to make it more affordable in your budget. While we can’t tell you the best low-cost vet near you (that would be super weird if we did because we’re not stalking you and we’re not psychic), there are wonderful resource websites such as ASPCA and Humane Society that have maps that allow you to enter your zip code and BOOM! Many low-cost (and sometimes free!) options will pop up.
We may have not catchy theme music behind us but we do suggest you spay and neuter your pets! It helps control the pet population, can have overwhelmingly good benefits for your pup and can save you time and money at the vet! We may not suggest all life lessons from The Price is Right because honestly who truly understands the point of that show, but this one is safe to take home with you! Even if you don’t leave with a Mazda.