When should I have my puppy spayed/neutered?

April 13, 2012

Homeless animals are found anywhere. We are a race of animal lovers. Most homes would have cats, dogs and other animals as pets. However, the number of animals far exceeds the number of people willing and able to care for one. This would result to millions of homeless animals that would wind up in shelters. These sweet and healthy pets that could have been affectionate and loyal pets will have a tragic end as they state would have them put to sleep. Surprisingly, a lot of these animals that have to be euthanized are offspring of family pets and not of stray animals. This tragic end can be prevented by having the pet spayed or neutered. Unless there are plans to breed or to show the dog, owners are advised to have the pet fixed.

The most common reason dog owners have in deciding to have the pet neutered or spayed is to eliminate unwanted pregnancies to support the program of reducing the number of homeless dogs. The surgical procedure will prevent male dogs from impregnating another dog and female dogs from getting pregnant. A dog owner may not be aware that apart from doing away with the difficult task of finding homes for the puppies, neutering and spaying has health benefits for the pet.

Spaying is the surgical procedure done while the female dog is under general anesthesia. The surgery will remove the uterus and the ovaries. In male dogs, this surgical procedure involves the removal of testicles. Spaying that is done before the first heat will prevent the female dog from getting mammary gland cancer. Spaying inhibits uterine and ovarian cancers. As the testicles are removed, a neutered dog has a zero chance of getting testicle cancer. The development of prostate problems is prevented as well. Without testosterone, unwanted behaviors of a male dog are eliminated. The pet will be less aggressive, less likely to roam and to hump. Urine marking habit will be eliminated as well.

Spaying and neutering though are surrounded with myths. It is believed that a fixed dog will be less affectionate, less friendly and playful. Because these are the qualities why dogs are the most popular choices for pets, dog owners would think twice before deciding to have the pet fixed. If you ask any veterinarian he/she would usually advice to have the surgical procedure done. Certainly not because of the PF that will be received but because of the health benefits the dog will derive from the surgical procedure. A fully descended testicle is a requirement in performing the neutering procedure. This means that newborn puppies cannot be neutered. The spaying and neutering procedure is best done before the dog attains sexual maturity especially if the purpose in having the dog fixed is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Dogs become sexually mature at 6 months thus the dog can be neutered or spayed anytime after it has reached the 8th week mark. The right age to have the surgical procedure done would depend on some considerations. Hormones affect the development of the dog’s body structure. Owners that want the pet to attain the maximum size of the breed would wait awhile before neutering the dog. Female dogs neutered at a later age would have a more feminine appearance. Young dogs have immature immune systems. Infections associated with the surgical procedure puts the life of the dog at risk. Anesthesia has greater risks for smaller dogs as well. A dog owner that has decided to have the pet spayed or neutered at a later date has to make sure that the female pet is prevented from escaping when it is in heat and that the male dog is prevented from having romantic encounters otherwise hapless puppies will be added to the many unwanted and homeless animals.

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