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When is the best time to get a dog spayed?

Brown dog looking worried advice
© Pixabay

Many dog owners choose to neuter their female dog on the advice of vets and organizations such as the PDSA. But it is not a simple decision. You will have a lot of questions along the way, including wanting to know when can a dog be neutered.

By G. John Cole

Your dog may benefit from a calmer, healthier life if you neuter her. But deciding whether it is for your individual pupper requires thought and research. Let’s find out more about the best time to get a dog spayed.

Advantages of spaying a dog in good time

A female dog first comes into heat at around six months old. After that, she has a lifetime of regular ‘seasons’ in which it’s easy for her to get pregnant. The local studs will certainly be trying, since they can smell her seasonal pheromones from some distance.

Those seasons also come with a certain amount of anxiety or aggression from your dog. She could get pushy or humpy or both. And of course, she will produce a natural bloody discharge that can be a challenge for homeowners.

But that’s more of a worry for owners than for the dog. For the sake of your dog, you’ll think more about the medical benefits of spaying her.

Spaying reduces the chance of her developing certain cancers. Particularly breast cancer or ovarian cancer. You are removing her uterus, which means no chance of developing pyometra – a potentially life-threatening womb infection.

And of course, your dog can’t get pregnant if she is spayed. Pregnancy and pup-birth themselves can be dangerous for a dog. But more importantly, you save bringing extra puppies into the world. Although puppies are brilliant, bizarrely we already have a surplus of dogs without homes. So it’s better that we leave breeding to breeders, and concentrate on caring for those dogs that already need us.

Disadvantages of spaying a dog

There are some drawbacks to spaying a dog. For one, you’re interfering with your dog’s natural rights to the potential for sex and procreation. Some people consider this to be counterbalance enough to the advantages.

Spaying also increases the chances of incontinence later in life. And your dog becomes more likely to become overweight in her old age.

And of course, if you are planning to breed your dog, then spaying is a pretty daft idea.

When can a dog be spayed?

So after some thought, you’ve answered the question “should I get my dog neutered?” with a “Yes.”

But you’ll be wondering when is the best time to have your dog spayed.

You can neuter your dog at any age. But most vets will expect you to wait until your dog is at least four months old.

Experts are divided on just how long you should wait to neuter your dog. It was thought that it is fine to go ahead before your dog has her first season – that there were no advantages to waiting. But new research suggests that it is better to wait until after your pupper has gone through puberty.

This is because a dog is still developing and growing. Interfering in such a fundamental area before she becomes a fully-formed dog could cause problems. Waiting until after puberty might reduce the likelihood of orthopaedic health problems and some cancers.

It is common to spay a dog just before or after her first season, at around six months old. This can happen a bit later for larger breeds.

These timings should just be considered a general guide. If you are planning to spay your new puppy, it is best to talk to her vet about the best time to do so. It can vary from breed to breed and between individuals.

What is the spaying process like?

Once you’ve booked your dog in for her procedure, you should be careful to make sure she has a safe and comfortable environment at home in which to recover.

Spaying is a form of surgery. It is completed under general anaesthetic, and lasts around one hour. And you will normally be able to take your dog back home on the same day. It takes around 10-14 days for her to recover.

Such are the timings for getting a dog spayed. The next step is to speak to your vet for more specific advice for your beloved pet.

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