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Benefits of Neutering and Spaying a Dog

Are you wondering about the benefits of neutering or spaying your dog, when to have it done, or what the procedure entails? In this blog post, our Torrance veterinarians explain the basics of these surgical procedures and the potential risks involved.

Why should we spay or neuter a dog?

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) reports that each year, rescue systems or shelters across the United States receive approximately 6.5 million animals, with fewer than half finding homes as pets. One of the best ways to help reduce the number of unplanned puppies born each year and ease the burden on shelters and rescues is to spay or neuter your pet.

What are the differences between spaying and neutering?

It is important to understand the differences between spaying and neutering when it comes to managing the pet population and ensuring the health and well-being of our furry companions. Both procedures are commonly used to control pet reproduction, but they have distinct processes and unique effects on animals.

Neutering Male Dogs

Neutering is a surgical procedure that involves removing both testicles and related internal structures from a male dog, which makes the dog incapable of reproducing. On the other hand, veterinarians can perform a vasectomy by cutting or blocking the vas deferens, which are the tubes responsible for carrying sperm from the testicles to the urethra, without removing the testicles themselves. Both surgeries are effective in sterilizing the male dog, rendering the dog unable to reproduce.

Spaying Female Dogs

Spaying describes the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs, either by an ovariectomy (removing the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy (removing the uterus and ovaries). After being spayed, your dog won't enter heat and will be unable to have puppies.

When should you have your dog spayed or neutered?

In the past, many veterinarians suggested that puppies should be spayed or neutered between the ages of four and six months. Still, recent research indicates that the timing of the surgery should be based on the breed and size of the dog. If you are considering spaying a female dog, it is best to consult with your vet. 

What are the benefits and advantages of spaying or neutering my dog?

In addition to eliminating the risk of an unwanted litter of puppies. There are several benefits to consider when neutering or spaying your dog,

Spaying your female dog can significantly reduce her risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. It can also stop her instinctive breeding behaviors.

Neutering male dogs can help prevent testicular cancer and reduce several undesirable behaviors, such as aggression, humping, howling, and roaming. These behaviors can put your dog at risk of getting into fights with other dogs or being hit by a vehicle while out looking for females.

What are the risks of spaying or neutering my dog?

Spaying and neutering are standard surgical procedures veterinarians perform on cats and dogs. Although the procedures come with some risks, just like any surgical procedure, the risks are generally minimal. Here are some of the potential risks associated with spaying or neutering your dog:

  • Anesthesia -The administration of anesthesia carries inherent risks, including adverse reactions and complications such as respiratory depression or cardiovascular issues. However, modern anesthesia protocols and monitoring techniques have significantly reduced these risks, especially in healthy dogs.
  • Surgical complications - Just like any other surgery, there is a possibility of experiencing surgical complications during a procedure. These complications may include bleeding, infection, or adverse reactions to sutures or surgical materials. Although these complications are relatively rare, there is still a chance of experiencing them, especially if the post-operative care instructions are not followed diligently.
  • Weight gain - Spaying or neutering your dog may cause changes in their metabolism and hormone levels, which can increase the risk of weight gain if their diet and exercise are not appropriately managed. However, with proper diet and exercise, weight gain can often be prevented or managed effectively.
  • Behavior changes - Spaying or neutering your dog can help to lessen certain unwanted behaviors such as roaming, aggression, or urine marking. However, it might also affect other behaviors. After the surgery, some dogs may experience changes in energy, activity, or temperament. However, these changes are generally slight, and you can manage them with proper training and socialization.
  • Hormonal changes - Having your dog spayed or neutered involves removing or altering certain hormones, which may have lasting consequences on your pet's physiology and behavior. Although these hormonal changes can often be advantageous, they may also affect various aspects of your dog's health and well-being. Therefore, addressing any doubts or queries you have about hormonal changes with your veterinarian is crucial.

What does the recovery process look like?

Your vet will recommend specific pain management and post-operative care for you to provide for your pup after surgery, but here are some general rules to keep in mind while your dog recovers.

  • Refrain from bathing your dog for at least ten days following surgery.
  • For up to two weeks after the procedure, prevent your dog from running, jumping, or undertaking other strenuous activities.
  • Check your dog’s incision daily to ensure it’s healing correctly. Contact your vet if you notice swelling, redness, or discharge.
  • Keep your dog inside and away from other animals as they heal.
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.

Looking to spay or neuter your dog? Contact our vets in Torrance today to book your appointment! 

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New Patients Welcome

Harbor Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Torrance companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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