How to Neuter Your Dog


You may decide that you want to breed from your dog, and in this case you will know whether you want to raise puppies or set up a stud. If your dog is to be a pet only, however, it is usually best he or she is neutered.

Why neutering is a good idea

The urge to reproduce is intense in unneutered dogs. When sexually mature, an unneutered dog will tend to wander, if he gets the chance, in search of potential mates, risking getting involved in traffic accidents or being picked up as a stray by a dog warden.

An unneutered bitch will come into season twice a year (some breeds, such as the Basenji, only do so once a year) and must then be kept under tight control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, since she will always be on the lookout during these times to get out and mate.

How to Neuter Your Dog  Dog Neuter

When to neuter

Neutering (spaying in females and castration in males) should be done when the dog reaches sexual maturity at around 6 months old, or at any time afterwards. Individual vets have their own policy on when to spay bitches: some prefer to let them have one season beforehand and spay at around 9 months in order to limit incidences of urinary incontinence afterwards; and some do not spay if a bitch is in season, preferring to wait until 3 months or so afterwards. This is because the reproductive organs are enlarged with an increased supply of blood during the season and for a while afterwards, so there can be greater risks involved in the surgery.

What’s involved

Because the operation is more involved in female dogs, the neutering procedure is more expensive than for males.

Females

The ovaries, Fallopian tubes and uterus are removed under a general anaesthetic. The operation site is shaved and cleaned to help prevent infection, and then a small incision is made mid-line (from the navel towards the hind legs) in order to remove the relevant organs. The wound is closed by means of stitches that are removed about 10-14 days later, unless soluble suture material is used, which gradually dissolves on its own.

Males

The dog is anaesthetized and his testicles (testes) and a small section of the spermatic cords are removed through a small incision in the scrotum; the incision is then stitched as for females.

Pre- and post-op care

The dog must go without food and water for 12 hours before the operation. Most males are back to normal in about 3 days, bitches in 5, and completely themselves again by the time they have their stitches out. When you bring your pet home from the vet’s, he will probably still be drowsy from the anaesthetic, so put him in a warm, quiet place to rest undisturbed – with water and a light meal of cooked white fish or chicken – until he feels ready to join in the family activities again. Gently discourage the dog from nibbling or excessively licking the stitches (you may need to put an Elizabethan collar on him if he persists in worrying the wound).

Neuter behaviour

If neutered as early as possible, the behaviour of male and female dogs will be almost the same – at least from the practical point of view of an owner, as both sexes tend to be more affectionate and amenable. There is some truth in the observation that neuters become more inactive than entires as they age (although their life expectancy is greater) as they tend to put on weight, therefore, you may have to adjust your pet’s diet and ensure he gets sufficient exercise. Sometimes bitches can become incontinent after they have been spayed, but this can usually be treated successfully with medication. On the plus side, spaying reduces a bitch’s chance of developing mammary tumours.

Contraception

Bitches can be given hormone treatment to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but there are drawbacks to prolonged birth-control treatment for there can be serious side-effects such as the development of pyometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus). Also, it is not 100 per cent effective. If mating has taken place, contraceptive drugs can be used.

Chemical castration (comprising an anti-testosterone drug) is available for males, but again is not totally effective and dogs can, and will, still mate bitches. Side-effects include an increased appetite and a change in hair colour at the site of the injection. Surgical neutering remains the best option to prevent conception.

Neuter policy

Many of the bigger rescue organisations neuter all their animals as a matter of course. Usually, this is because they see, at first hand, the tragedy of too many pets for too few good homes. Neutering ensures that reproduction stops with the dogs that go through their hands.

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About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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