When it comes to spaying your female dog, you probably have plenty of questions. For some pet owners, spaying is an overwhelming decision they know they’ll have to make at some point, but put off because the research seems daunting.
Here’s everything you need to know about spaying your dog, including when you should do it and what the best method is.
Should I Spay My Dog?
First, we’ll answer the simplest question: should female dogs be spayed?
In almost all cases, the answer is yes. Some pet owners consider having at least one litter of puppies before spaying their female dog, but we don’t recommend this. For many pet owners, managing their dog’s pregnancy and puppies means a significant time and money commitment they’re not prepared for. Pregnancy and birth also come with health implications that could put your dog at risk of injury or even death. Consider the circumstances carefully before you choose to breed your dog.
Spaying comes with many benefits.
- Spaying prevents heat periods: Your female dog will go into “heat” regularly without spaying, causing inconvenient “heat periods.” Heat periods are messy and can be a significant nuisance. Females in heat have to be kept inside at all times to prevent an unplanned litter of pups and can stain your furniture or carpet.
- Spaying prevents deadly uterine infections: Almost a quarter of female dogs who aren’t spayed develop an infection called pyometra, a swelling of the uterus with toxic pus that can only be cured by an emergency spay. This surgery is dangerous for elderly or middle-aged dogs and isn’t always successful.
- Spaying prevents pregnancy: Of course, the most obvious reason to spay your dog is to prevent pregnancy. At the same time, it also prevents the nuisance of false pregnancy, the condition that some females who aren’t spayed have after going into heat. False pregnancies can be difficult for dog owners to navigate and can cause dangerous health problems in your dog.
When Should I Spay My Dog?
Now that we’ve established how important it is to spay your female dog, we should discuss how to time the procedure.
There is most certainly such a thing as spaying your dog at the wrong time—in particular, too early while she’s too young—and it’s something that you should work to avoid at all costs. Spaying your dog too early can result in health problems later on since her hormones should have some time to work. Early spaying can increase the risk of hip dysplasia, torn ligaments, bone cancer, and urinary incontinence. That said, it's wise to let your dog go through one heat cycle so she can get those hormones running through her system. Your dog’s ideal time to spay will also be based on her breed and size, so it’s best to work closely with a veterinarian to determine when is the right time.
How Should I Spay My Dog?
Here at Intermountain Veterinary Hospital, we offer the traditional procedure (what requires the cone of shame), but we also offer an alternative method using laparoscopy.
Laparoscopic neutering is less invasive than traditional spaying and only involves the removal of the ovaries instead of a full hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). This means that your dog will enjoy less discomfort, faster healing time, and less risk of post-operative complications. But most importantly, your pooch will avoid the cone-of-shame.
To learn more about spaying your dog, contact us today.