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Neutering Your Puppy-What You Need To Know

Small jack russell puppy looking sad after neutering at the vets

Neutering Your Puppy-What You Need To Know

What is Neutering?

Neutering is a surgical procedure that removes the reproductive organs and prevents your dog from reproducing. In female dogs, it is called spaying. Neutering provides many benefits for both male and female dogs. It is important to make sure your new puppy gets neutered, as avoiding this surgery can cause some unwanted issues later down the line in your dog’s life.

This operation is carried out under general anaesthetic. In male dogs the surgery is quite straightforward; A vet will remove the testicles through an incision made infront of the scotum. The spermatic cord and vessels will be clamped and ligated before the testicles are safely cut out. They will need stitches, which will be removed in 10 days and a buster collar is given to all patients going home with strict instructions of wearing it along with strict rest.

This procedure is also called castration. Sometimes they may need stitches, so to prevent them from licking the area they will need to wear an ‘Elizabethan collar’ or better known as a ‘cone of shame.’ After about two weeks, the incision will fully heal and your puppy can go back to living a happy and healthy life.

For female dogs, the surgery is a little more complicated. A spay surgery prevents pregnancy through the removal of the ovaries and uterus. Although it is not as simple as the surgery male dogs will go through, it is extremely important to have your female puppy spayed, to prevent accidents from happening along with other potential medical risks that might occur if the procedure is not performed

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

Benefits of Neutering and Spaying

There are so many benefits to neutering/spaying your puppy, both for you and for your dog. There will be a decrease in the chance they have puppies but there are also many health benefits too.

Male DogsFemale Dogs
  • Reduces chances of disease such as testicular cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (Where the prostate becomes enlarged due to testosterone and can result in difficulty when urinating or defecating.)
  • Helps reduce aggressive behaviour and will likely be calmer
  • Less likely to get into fights with other dogs
  • Lower testosterone levels means he’s less likely to engage in roaming, humping, and other behaviours related to dominance.
  • He will be less distracted, which will improve his training as he will be better behaved and more focused.
  • Reduces chances of disease such as pyometra and mammary gland cancer, both of which can be fatal.
  • No seasons/heat cycles, which saves you the hassle of dealing with unneutered male dogs who will be trying to mate with her.
  • Females going into heat can leave a mess, as they leave bloody discharge which can stain your furniture and carpet. They’ll even urinate or yowl in order to attract male dogs.
  • No pregnancy means no risks that come with pregnancy, labour or post partum complications
  • No pregnancy, no puppies, and no extra dogs that will be looking for a home!
Puppy wearing a cone collar in a vets office after being neutered

When Should I Neuter/Spay?

It is always best to speak to your vet about the best course of action for when the time comes to neuter your puppy. Typically for male dogs, the surgery is performed around 6 months old, but a number of factors could influence this such as breed, behaviour and current health status. If you wait until they are older to have them neutered, they are at higher risk of complications from the surgery, as do dogs who are overweight or have health issues. It is recommended to do sooner rather than later, but always speak to vet first and follow their recommendations.

For female dogs, they can be spayed any time after 6 months of age. Once they have their first heat, you know they have reached maturity. If done too early, especially with specific breeds, you run the risk of causing developmental issues of the growing bones and joints that depend on certain levels of oestrogen. Female dogs can experience their first heat cycle somewhere around six to seven months of age, depending on the breed.

A grown, larger dog can be more difficult to spay than a smaller dog, so always consult with your vet about the procedure.

What To Expect After Surgery

The surgery is usually very straightforward and your veterinarian will advise you on post-surgery care. Male dogs usually can go home after they have had the procedure-they may experience some nausea or not eat their food, but this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Restrict his activity for a few days until he has recovered, especially as his stitches could open. An Elizabethan collar will be needed if you find them licking the incision.

Although spaying is very common, it is still a major surgery, and your female puppy will need time to recover. Always follow the recommendations outlined by your vet for looking after your puppy post-surgery.

She may need to remain overnight in the clinic, although some veterinarians will allow you to take her home the day of the surgery. Like male dogs, she may experience nausea or turn away from her food for a few days, but no need to force her to eat. Restrict her movement for at least a week, as a lot of movement or exercise could lead to swelling or allow a build-up of fluid under the incision. Follow your vet’s advice on when it is suitable for your dog to exercise again.

You should also avoid bathing your pet for at least 10 days after surgery. If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge around the area of the incision, or if it is open, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

A lot of dog owners worry about weight gain in their pet after surgery. The procedure can cause the metabolism to slow a bit, and therefore it is up to you to monitor your dogs weight and reduce her calorie intake if you notice her starting to gain a little.

Neutering is hugely beneficial for both male and female dogs, and can make them calmer and less aggressive. They usually bounce back to their usual personalities after recovery, so don’t worry if they seem lethargic for the first few days. Always contact your vet if you notice symptoms that concern you.

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