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Getting Your Dog Fixed: When & What To Know

Deciding whether to spay or neuter your pet is a significant decision for pet owners. Spaying removes a female dog's ovaries and uterus, while neutering removes a male dog's testicles. Understanding the benefits and timing of these procedures is essential for your pet's health and well-being.

Why should I get my dog fixed?

If you have a new puppy, you might be wondering why you should get your dog spayed or neutered, especially if your dog will be on a leash during walks and confined to your home and garden.

There are many reasons to have your dog fixed, including significant health, behavioral, and possibly even financial benefits!

Benefits of Spaying Female Dogs

Across the United States, animal shelters are overflowing with unwanted dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 3.3 million dogs enter shelters annually.

Health Benefits of Spaying Your Dog

Spaying your female dog before her first heat can help prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which can often be malignant or cancerous.

Financial Benefits of Spaying Your Dog

Preventing the birth of unwanted puppies is suitable for your wallet. While spaying costs money, it is relatively low compared to the expense of caring for a pregnant dog, calling a vet for the birth of the puppies, and caring for the newborns.

Deciding Not To Spay Your Female Dog

Female dogs not spayed go through a reproductive stage known as 'heat' about twice a year. During this stage, male dogs will be attracted to your female for about 18 days. This can lead to unwanted male dogs visiting your yard, possibly resulting in unwanted puppies.

Benefits of Neutering Male Dogs

As with spaying female dogs, neutering your male dog helps reduce the population of unwanted dogs in the United States.

Health Benefits of Neutering Your Dog

When you neuter your dog, you reduce the risk of them developing testicular cancer and significantly lower the risk of prostate diseases, which can be serious. Neutering also helps to decrease the risk of perianal tumors and perineal hernias in your dog.

Behavioral Benefits of Neutering Your Dog

Neutering can help reduce your dog's desire to roam and may decrease behaviors such as mounting and aggression toward other dogs.

Deciding Not To Neuter Your Male Dog

A number of undesirable behaviors are typical of male dogs that have not been neutered. These include heightened territorial behavior, being overprotective of people and toys, roaming (seeking female dogs), and aggression towards other dogs.

When to Get Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

The optimal age to have your dog neutered or your female dog spayed varies based on their breed, size, and overall health. Generally, veterinarians recommend that dogs be fixed between six and nine months of age. However, some large-breed dogs may benefit from waiting until they are a bit older, around 12 to 18 months, to ensure proper development.

Puppies can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks old, provided they are healthy and weigh at least two pounds. Early spaying and neutering can prevent unwanted behaviors and health issues before they start. Always consult your veterinarian to determine the best time for your pet.

Expectations for an Unfixed Dog

Choosing not to fix your dog comes with certain considerations and potential challenges. Unfixed dogs are more likely to exhibit aggressive and territorial behaviors. Male dogs may mark their territory with urine and become more prone to wandering, increasing their risk of accidents or getting lost. Female dogs that are not spayed will go into heat approximately twice a year, which can result in unwanted attention from male dogs and the potential for unplanned litters.

Preparing for Surgery

Preparing for the surgery is essential if you decide to get your dog neutered or your female dog spayed. Ensure your dog is in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations. Follow your veterinarian's pre-surgery instructions, which may include fasting. Post-surgery, provide a quiet and comfortable space for your dog to recover and monitor the surgical site for any signs of infection. Your vet will give you detailed aftercare instructions to ensure a smooth recovery.

Getting your Dogs Fixed

Getting your dog fixed is a responsible choice that can lead to a happier, healthier pet and contribute to the broader effort of controlling the pet population. Whether you opt to have your dog neutered or your female dog spayed, the benefits far outweigh the risks. 

By making this important decision, you are investing in your dog's well-being and helping to create a better world for all pets.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

To learn more about getting your dog fixed, contact our New Hope vets today to book an appointment.

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New Hope Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Let our experienced vets give your pet the comprehensive care they deserve. Reach out today to book your pet's first appointment.

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