The decision to spay or neuter your dog can be a difficult one. There are so many considerations when making this decision but most pet owners can agree that if it will make your dog's life longer then it's no longer a difficult decision. Our Tumwater vets are here to talk about whether that is the case.
What is spaying and neutering for dogs?
To begin, it's important to understand what spaying or neutering your dog actually means. 'Fixing' is the general term we use when talking about spaying or neutering a dog.
Spaying entails the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs through either an ovariohysterectomy (both uterus and ovaries are removed) or an ovariectomy (only the ovaries are removed). After your female dog has been spayed she will not be able to have puppies.
For male dogs, neutering, or castration, involves the removal of both testicles and their associated structures. A neutered dog is unable to reproduce.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits both in terms of health and behavior when it comes to getting your pooch spayed or neutered.
Having your male dog neutered will protect your dog from developing testicular cancer and can also help reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggression, straying and humping.
Getting your female dog spayed can help to prevent serious health problems such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
Will my dog live longer?
On average dogs who are spayed or neutered live one and a half years longer than those who are not. Typically, dogs who are not fixed live to be about 8 years of age, whereas fixed dogs average about nine and a half years.
There is a bit more to this though. Dogs who are fixed are more likely to die from different forms of cancer, while unfixed dogs are more likely to die from infection or trauma.
An unneutered male is more likely to roam or display aggressive behavior leading to more instances of trauma and infection, similarly, female dogs show more dominant behavior also making them more likely to have trauma leading to infection.
Is there risk involved in surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, but in this case, our Tumwater vets wholeheartedly believe that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Spaying and neutering are common surgical procedures, but they still need to be performed by a qualified and experienced veterinarian, as some degree of risk is involved with any veterinary surgery requiring general anesthesia.
Some orthopedic conditions and diseases such as prostatic cancer are slightly more common in dogs who have been spayed or neutered, ask your Tumwater vet or surgeon about the possible risks.
Caring for your dog after spay or neuter surgery
Following your dog's surgery, you are going to want to help them to rest and feel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things that you can do to help comfort your dog after their spay or neuter:
- Ensure that your dog has a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Prevent your dog from running and jumping for two weeks following the spay or neuter surgery. Follow your vet's instructions regarding activity after these procedures, since your dog may require further restrictions.
- We know that it can make your dog look sad, but it's important to have your dog wear a post-operative jumpsuit (recovery suit) or a cone (Elizabethan collar) to prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking the incision may cause an infection.
- In order for your dog's incision to heal as quickly as possible, do not bathe your dog (or allow your dog to swim) for at least ten days after spaying or neutering.
- Check the incision site daily for any possible signs of infection and to ensure that the incision is healing well.
Be sure to contact your vet if you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened. Also, call your vet if your dog seems lethargic, stops eating, or begins vomiting, or has diarrhea.
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.