Adopting a puppy is a huge responsibility, and spaying or neutering them should be a top priority on your to-do list. Spaying refers to removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus from a female (i.e., an ovariohysterectomy), while neutering involves removing the testes from a male (i.e., an orchiectomy). Our team at WesVet Animal Hospital would like to explain why these procedures are important for your puppy’s welfare, and how they can benefit you and your community.
#1: Spaying or neutering your puppy provides medical benefits
Spayed dogs live about 23 percent longer than unspayed dogs, and neutered dogs live about 18 percent longer than intact dogs. These statistics are in part because spayed or neutered dogs are less likely to roam, and get hit by vehicles, or involved in dog fights. Other health benefits include:
- Female dogs — Spayed dogs will not develop uterine or ovarian cancers later in life. Spaying also prevents dogs from developing a serious uterine infection called pyometra, and makes them less likely to develop mammary cancer, if they are spayed before their first heat cycle. Spaying also protects them from complications when giving birth.
- Male dogs — Neutered dogs will not develop testicular cancer, and are less likely to suffer from prostate gland diseases.
#2: Spaying or neutering your puppy provides behavioral benefits
A dog’s sex hormones contribute greatly to their actions. Spaying or neutering your puppy at a young age can help reduce or eliminate certain unwanted behaviors.
- Female dogs — Spaying your puppy will prevent stray males scouting out your yard, and will decrease her desire to roam and breed.
- Male dogs — Dogs neutered early in life are less likely to be aggressive toward other males, and will not be distracted by females in heat, making them less likely to roam. Neutered dogs are also less likely to urine mark their territory inside your home, and to mount other dogs and people’s legs.
#3: Spaying your female puppy will prevent heat cycles
Dogs typically go into heat twice a year for 7 to 10 days. During this time, they urinate more frequently, and pass a bloody discharge from their vulva, which can lead to a messy situation that is difficult to keep clean. Stray dogs will commonly stake out your yard during this time, looking for a chance to mate. Spaying your puppy will ensure these issues aren’t a problem.
#4: Spaying your puppy will prevent unwanted pregnancies
A litter of puppies is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. Your dog will need extensive veterinary care during her pregnancy, and the delivery may be difficult, and require costly surgical intervention. Some deliveries are so difficult that the mother dog is lost. The new puppies will also require veterinary attention and preventive care. If you cannot find homes for the puppies, your fur family may grow outside the bounds you are comfortable managing.
#5: Spaying or neutering your puppy is safer than waiting until they are older
Puppies are much less likely to have surgical complications than mature dogs because:
- A puppy’s reproductive organs are less vascular than those of adult dogs, which allows for an easier, faster surgical procedure, and reduces the risk of excessive bleeding during and after surgery.
- A faster surgery time means less time under anesthesia, reducing the anesthetic risk.
- Puppies metabolize anesthesia more rapidly, and recover more quickly, than adult dogs.
- A puppy’s tissues are more resilient, resulting in faster healing, and less postoperative pain and stress.
#6: Spaying or neutering your puppy will not make them fat or lazy
Dogs become overweight when they eat too much, and don’t receive enough exercise. If you feed your spayed or neutered dog appropriately, and provide adequate exercise, they will not get fat.
#7: Spaying or neutering your puppy will save you money
While you will have to pay for your puppy’s spay or neuter, these procedures will save you money in the long term, by preventing costly pregnancies and many serious health problems.
#8: Spaying or neutering your puppy will make them more content to stay home
Spaying or neutering your puppy removes their instinct to roam, looking for a mate. They will be more settled, and content to stay at home.
#9: Spaying or neutering your puppy helps alleviate overpopulation
Numerous unwanted dogs are euthanized every year. Unwanted puppies from accidental breedings by free-roaming, unaltered pets contribute to this number. By spaying or neutering your puppy, you are saving lives.
#10: Spaying or neutering your puppy helps keep your community safe
Overpopulation leads to dogs roaming free, and possibly damaging property, injuring livestock, or attacking humans. These stray dogs also have the potential to spread zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, to humans. Spaying and neutering your puppy can help alleviate these issues.
The appropriate time to spay or neuter your puppy depends on their breed, and our veterinary professionals will help you determine when your puppy is ready for the procedure. If you would like your puppy spayed or neutered, do not hesitate to contact our team at WesVet Animal Hospital, to schedule an appointment.