Wondering if and when to get your dog fixed? Today, our Seattle vets provide advice on getting your dog spayed or neutered including why it's important and at what age you should consider getting it done.
Why should you bother to get your dog fixed?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year across the USA.
Spaying or neutering your dog is the best way for you to help reduce the overall number of unplanned puppies each year while improving your pet's behavior and reducing their risk of some serious health conditions.
What is the difference between getting my dog neutered or spayed?
First, it's important to understand what 'fixing your dog' actually means. 'Fixing' is the blanket term we use when talking about spaying or neutering a dog.
Spaying Female Dogs
Spaying entails the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs through either an ovariohysterectomy (both uterus and ovaries are removed) or an ovariectomy (only the ovaries are removed). After your female dog has been spayed she will not be able to have puppies.
Neutering Male Dogs
For male dogs, neutering, or castration, involves the removal of both testicles and their associated structures. A neutered dog is unable to reproduce.
Will these operations benefit my dog?
Besides reducing the risk of unwanted puppies, there are a number of other benefits to spaying or neutering your dog.
Having your male dog neutered can help to protect your pup against developing testicular cancer and can also help reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggression, straying and humping.
Getting your female dog spayed can help to prevent serious health problems such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
What is the best age to get a dog neutered or spayed?
There are a number of factors that can influence the timing of these procedures, however, both spaying and neutering can be done on puppies as young as a few months old.
Up until recently, most puppies were fixed when they were between 4 - 6 months old. Recently however some veterinarians have begun recommending that these operations be done after the dog reaches sexual maturity between 6 - 12 months of age.
To find out the best time to get your dog fixed, speak to your veterinarian.
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.