Everything You Need to Know about Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

So you’ve finally brought home your new puppy and are ready to being your beautiful life together. Have you already made an appointment to have your new friend spayed or neutered? If not, do it today. Spaying or Neutering your dog is the best possible gift you can give it. Read on to learn the answers to all the basic questions surrounding spaying and neutering.

Q: What is Spaying and Neutering? Are they the same thing?

A: Spaying and neutering refer to the practice of surgically making your dog sterile or unable to produce puppies. The term “spay” refers to removing the uterus of female dogs, while “neuter” is used for the surgery performed on males. However, most people use the term “neuter” to refer to both procedures.

Q: Why should I neuter my dog?

A: All you have to do is look around your own neighborhood to realize how many surplus pets there are. Every year, thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals are killed because no one wants them. Every puppy your dog has takes away a home from an animal that is already at a shelter, and it is likely that 60% of your dog’s litter will end up being re-homed or placed in a shelter.

Neutering increases your dog’s health by decreasing risk for certain cancers and lowering the drive to be aggressive and roam. Neutered dogs are less likely to get in fights or be hit by cars while wandering the neighborhood.

Q: Does neutering hurt my dog?

A: Most veterinarians use only the most humane methods for neutering dogs. Your dog will have anesthesia and won’t remember the surgery at all. Both spaying and neutering are routine procedures that are very safe and have an easy recovery. Most dogs are back to normal within a day and completely healed in less than a month. If you are worried about the pain, ask your vet to prescribe some pain medication that is safe for dogs.

Q: How old does my dog have to be before getting neutered?

A: Thanks to advances in veterinary technology and training, dogs can now be neutered safely as early 8 weeks old. Young animals recover from surgery quickly and reap the maximum benefits of being neutered. Ask your vet what age she prefers your dog to be and stick to her suggestion, but remember that the cost of neutering is much less when your dog weighs less, so getting him neutered early will save you money.

Q: Will my dog behave different after being neutered?

A: Yes and no. Your dog will still be the same sweet pup you know and love, but he’ll be more inclined to better behavior and less aggression and roaming. Your dog won’t “miss” the mating hormones that have been eliminated through neutering. Instead, your dog will be the sweet, loving guy you always knew he was without many of the destructive or dangerous behaviors he may have exhibited before. Neutering isn’t a substitute for good training, but it will make your dog more inclined to listen to you.

Q: Will my dog get fat?

A: That depends on if you let him. If you feed your dog a reasonable amount of food and give him plenty of exercise, he’ll stay and lean and trim as he was before you had him neutered.

Q: How much does neutering cost?

A: The cost of spaying and neutering vary due to a wide array of variables. Generally, spaying is more expensive than neutering, and larger dogs will cost more than small ones. Many communities have low or no cost neutering programs. Contact your local humane society or ASPCA to find out if they have special neutering programs or know of an agency or vet that does. The cost of neutering should be factored into the price of owning a dog, so if you can’t afford to have your dog neutered, you can’t afford to have a dog.

Q: What if I really want to have puppies?

A: Then, by all means, adopt a puppy. Do yourself a favor and forget about breeding your dog. Backyard breeding, or breeding as a hobby, is responsible for more than half of the homeless pets in America. Don’t contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. There are plenty of reasons not to breed your dog. You can read more about it in the article “The Sad Truth About Backyard Breeding.”