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  1. puppies

Puppy Spaying and Neutering

Posted by Dr. Roth on March 17, 2022

Medical Advice
Wellness Care
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Pet parents do their best to ensure their dogs have the best life possible. They schedule regular wellness visits, feed their dogs high-quality food, and provide monthly flea and tick preventatives. Those caring for puppies will also need to consider puppy spaying and neutering.

Spaying and neutering are routine surgical procedures that involve removing a puppy’s reproductive organs. In addition to preventing pregnancy, puppy spaying and neutering also offer significant health benefits that can help improve a dog’s quality of life. 

Puppy Spaying and Neutering: When Is the Best Time?

The general recommendation for spaying a female puppy is before her first heat cycle (around six months old). Vets also recommend male puppies get neutered before or around six months. The procedure may be routine, but it’s still surgery. It tends to be easier on younger dogs. 

Health Benefits of a Spay or Neuter Surgery

One of the main benefits of puppy spaying and neutering is preventing pregnancy. The procedures also provide several significant benefits:

Female Dogs

Reproductive hormones heavily influence the development of mammary tumors in female dogs. They’re some of the most commonly diagnosed tumors in dogs that aren’t spayed (intact). Roughly 50% of them are non-cancerous, but the other 50% are. Those malignant tumors can metastasize (spread cancer to other parts of the body). 

Compared to intact females, puppies spayed before their first heat cycle have a 0.5% chance of developing mammary tumors. Delaying the procedure increases their risk. For instance, a female dog spayed after one heat cycle has an 8% chance of developing a tumor, while a dog spayed after her second cycle has a 26% chance. Spay surgery also eliminates the risk of pyometra, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection that requires emergency surgery.

Male Dogs

For male dogs, neutering eliminates the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate). It’s the most common prostatic disorder in intact males (affecting more than 95% of non-neutered dogs). The surgical procedure also reduces a male dog’s risk of developing perianal adenomas or tumors around the rectum. 

Puppy Care After a Spay or Neuter

Following a spay or neuter, pet parents can expect their puppy to be a bit groggy. That’s the anesthesia wearing off. If a puppy is excessively lethargic or becomes unresponsive, pet parents should contact a vet immediately.  

Pet parents should monitor the surgical site closely. Any redness, swelling, or discharge can indicate an infection. They should limit their puppy’s activity and avoid baths for approximately two weeks. A pet parent should keep their puppy on a leash, even in their own yard, and avoid the dog park for a little while, too. 

For female dogs, spotting right after spay surgery is common. However, pet parents should contact a vet right away if they notice excessive bleeding or spotting that lasts more than two days.

Protect a Dog's Health Starting Early in Life

Puppy spaying and neutering are common, simple procedures that offer numerous significant health benefits. While no pet parent likes to see their dogs in pain, the discomfort after a spay or neuter is short-lived. It’s also well worth it for improving the quality of their dog’s life in the long run. 

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