Most first-time fur parents have many questions about what is Spaying (female pet) or Neutering (male pet), Spay or Neuter procedures the risk and benefits involved, and how much it cost.
Below is the list of everything fur parents should know before and after spaying or neutering their lovely pets (especially dogs).
What is Spaying or Neutering?
Spaying and Neutering is a veterinary procedure that offers healthy and lifelong benefits to pets. Spaying is also known as ovariohysterectomy is a procedure for female pets where their ovaries and usually uterus too are being removed, it prevents the female pet to reproduce and put an end to her heat cycle. Neutering is also known as castration is a procedure for male pets where both testicles and their associated structures are being removed, it prevents the male pet to reproduce and ceasing its humping behavior.
Spay or Neuter both affects your pet behavior related to breeding instincts, both procedures should only be done by the expert talk to your vet about this matter to give you more detailed advice for what is better for your pet.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?
Spay (For Female Dog)
Most veterinarians recommend spaying a female dog before her first heat cycle (this commonly happens between 5 to 10 months of age) to reduce the risk of developing dog mammary (breast) cancer.
Depending on their breed the normal age of spaying a female dog is 6 to 7 months of age, the vet usually waits until your dog reaches this age so that they can tolerate the necessary anesthesia for the procedure.
Neuter (For Male Dog)
A male 8 weeks old puppy can be neutered as long as he’s healthy however, the common age of neutering a male dog is 6 to 9 months of age. An adult’s dogs can be neutered as well but there’s a slightly higher risk of postoperative complications.
A fully-grown, larger dog can be more difficult to spay or neuter than a smaller dog, which is why your vet should be involved in the decision of when to perform the procedure.
It is very important for the vet to know the health history of the dog especially if the dog has underlying conditions or current prescriptions or medications that could be relevant. Your vet must conduct a complete health check-up to ensure he or she has no health issues that can affect or worsen during the procedure.
Note: The best time to spay or neuter your dog will depend on your dog breed and health condition, talk to your vet to determine the best time to spay or neuter your dog for your dog’s safety.
Is the Surgery of Spaying or Neutering Risky?
The risk involving spaying or neutering your dog will depend on their age and health condition, a young and healthy dog has the lowest risks and serious complications while an adult dog has the higher risk and more likely to have complications.
It’s very important to coordinate with your vet before and after the surgery of your dog, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough medical examination to make sure your dog is healthy and fit to undergo the surgery.
Some of the most common postoperative complications include the following:
- Opening up of the surgical incision
- Inflammation or infection of the surgical incision
- Anesthetic complications
- Swelling under the skin at the incision site caused by fluid and bleeding
A dog that keeps licking or chewing the skin of the incision can be a cause of complication or make it worse, a young active dog is hard to keep quiet after surgery, so they are more likely to have simple post-surgical complications. Make sure to strictly follow your vet’s advice to prevent the risks and complications to occur.
How Long Does the Spaying or Neutering Surgery Take?
A neuter surgery of a male dog will generally take about five to twenty minutes, but it will change depending on her size, age, and health condition during the surgery.
Commonly a female dog undergoing spay surgery will take about twenty to ninety minutes but it will change depending on her size, age, health condition during the surgery, and if she is in heat.
Note: A female dog that is in heat can take a long time in surgery because their reproductive tracts are much more fragile and hold more blood when they are in heat.
Things to Prepare Before and After the Spay or Neuter Surgery
The veterinarian will give you the pre-surgical advice that you should follow, commonly your dog will be given enough nutrition prior to the surgery for them to have a good health condition, and like most of the surgery, the night before the surgery your dog must not eat.
Your vet will also give you the post-operative instructions that you should also follow. You should monitor your dog’s condition at home and limit their activity to prevent some complications, some pain medication for your dog will be sent with you at home.
How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Recover from Being Spayed or Neutered?
Just make sure to follow strictly the post-operative instructions that your vet gave to you, the skin incisions from spay or neuter surgery can be fully healed after 10 to 14 days so extra care is needed during this recovery period.
After the surgery your dog must follow the following:
- After the surgery gives your dog a quiet room or place to recover, it is very important that they are temporarily separated from other animals in the house.
- Limit your dog activity during the 7 to 10 day recovery period, don’t let them run around and jump on and off this is important to prevent the surgical incision to open or get swollen.
- Always keep the surgical incision dry by preventing your dog from licking the incision site, you can make them wear this recovery collar that you can buy on Amazon to make you sure that they cant lick their surgical incision. Don’t bath them during the 7 to 10 day recovery period because the surgical glue on the incision will dissolve too quickly if it becomes wet.
- Check your dog surgical incision twice daily it must have no discharge, redness, odor, and the swelling should be minimal. The male dogs may have small amounts of drainage or discharge for up to three days but you should still monitor to make sure that it is still in a normal state. Prevent your dog from licking the incision site because it might cause the incision to open or get infections.
- Gradually go back to their regular diet within 24 hours, on their first meal after surgery give your dog only pf his/her regular food, and then for the second meal, you can give him/her the same amount of food /he/she eats. For puppies, you can give them an extra meal aside from their regular meal, and most important always make sure that your dog has easy access to clean and freshwater all the time.
- It’s important to monitor the pain levels of your dog, like any surgery there is always pain during and after the procedure but it can be managed by some pain killer that your vet will administer, if you see your dog suffering from so much pain even after he/she take the medicine for pain immediately call your vet.
- Keep your in-heat female dog away from a male dog, the neutered male dog can get your unspayed female dog pregnant for up to 30 days after spay/neuter surgery, so prevent your female dog from getting close to your male dog up to 7 days after the surgery.
- Monitor for any complications, spaying, and neutering are both very safe surgeries especially if done by an expert however as with any other surgery complications can sometimes occur. If you notice the following signs immediately call your vet:
- Pale gums
- Unsteady walk
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased water intake
- Discharge or bleeding from the incision
- Difficulty urinating
- Difficulty in breathing
Note: The minimal redness and swelling of the surgical incision must only last for several days, if they persist longer you should also contact your vet.
If you notice anything unusual to your dog’s surgical incision or any inexplicable behavior contact your vet immediately.
Your dog is not allowed to run and jump during his/her recovery period. If you see your dog act like his/her usual self it is just evidence that your dog is on his/her way to recovering but extra cautions are still needed.
How Much it Cost to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?
The cost of spaying and neutering your dog usually ranges from about $45-$300 or more. The cost will commonly depend on the geographic region and even by a veterinarian, the size of your dog will also play a part in how much the cost of the surgery.
If you really want to spay or neuter your dog but don’t have enough money there are some organizations that help fur parents to find affordable spay and neuter resources.