Puppy Basics: Spaying and Neutering

For most pet parents, the expense, time, and expertise involved in breeding dogs responsibly is beyond their reach. Here are some advantages to having your puppy spayed or neutered:

  • For females, there will no longer be a mess to deal with during their 21-day heat cycles, which occur every six months. The heat cycle begins in females sometime after 6 months of age.
  • Spaying a female before her first heat cycle will reduce the chance of mammary tumors or uterine diseases.
  • Neutered males tend to be less aggressive than unneutered males.
  • With a neutered male, the urge to mark territory may lessen.
  • A neutered male is less likely to want to roam in search of potential mates.

When to Spay or Neuter

Dogs should be spayed or neutered by the time they are 6 months old to avoid many dog health issues. Both operations are performed under anesthesia and may require an overnight stay at the veterinarian's office. Recovery time is quick, with most dogs resuming normal activity in a few days. Spaying (for females) consists of an ovario-hysterectomy.

Neutering involves the removal of the testicles. When you bring your puppy to the veterinarian's office for his first thorough examination, have the doctor explain the operation in detail and set up a time to have the procedure done.