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When is the Best Time to Spay a Dog? | Pet Guide 101

When we bring in or care for a pet, there is more to it than just giving it food and shelter. Providing a safe environment, good healthcare, and general grooming like clipping, nails, etc., become a mandatory part not just for our pets but for us to give a fuss-free habitat for them. Also, spaying or neutering comes into this category. Spaying or neutering are surgical procedures to remove reproductive organs in cats or dogs. It is mainly to reduce the chances of diseases or as a precautionary measure to control the overpopulation of animals. Here you can know when to spay a dog with other important information too.

Spay vs. Neuter: Difference Between Spay & Neuter in Dogs

Spaying or neutering might not be a strenuous decision to take, but these terms are often confused or less known, for that matter. Although they are becoming more popular among commoners who don’t own a pet, let’s see what these terms mean.

What Is Heat In Female Dogs?

Before learning more about spaying and neutering, an introduction to this term is obligatory. Many pet parents would be aware of this term, but many new ones wouldn’t know of this term. Female canines have their estrous cycle when they reach puberty. Now, this estrous cycle is similar to the menstrual cycle in women. Furthermore, one can generally term this one as heat when they are sexually receptive. Besides, this 21-day cycle happens every 6 months or sometimes thrice in some breeds.

What Is Spaying in Dogs?

Spaying refers to surgically removing reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries from a female dog’s body by incising its stomach. Additionally, it is also famous as an ovariohysterectomy. Besides, this surgical procedure is requires anesthesia and is more complicated than neutering. Moreover, vets recommend rest for those canines that undergo spaying.

What Is Neutering in Dogs?

Neutering refers to surgically removing testicles and relative reproductive structures from a male dog’s body. This term, at times, goes for females as well. Additionally, the procedure is rather swift and is done under anesthesia. However, your pet should avoid certain things like a few days of jumping, etc., and straining for a speedy recovery.

Why Spay Or Neuter? – Benefits of Spaying And Neutering a Dog

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Spaying or neutering has its benefits apart from reducing the population who end up in foster homes and pet care institutions. Spaying or neutering has its benefits apart from reducing the population which might ultimately end up in foster homes and pet care institutions. Such extra pets are given up for adoption and least cared for. So, in the below points, we discuss why you choose to spay your pet.

Benefits Of Spaying a Dog

  • Reduces chances of breast cancer in female dogs.
  • Avoids risks of uterus infections like pyometra.
  • Reduces the chances of escaping to mate.
  • Lessens behavioral issues like crying, yowling, and inconsistent behavior associated with the mating instinct.
  • Makes animals less aggressive.
  • Promotes monetary benefits from not providing postpartum care and vaccinations.
  • Combats overpopulation that ends up in overcrowded animal shelters.
  • Stops heat cycle.
  • Boosts longevity and better chances of well-being.
  • Enhances overall health.

Benefits Of Neutering a Dog

  • Eliminates chances of testicular cancer.
  • Less aggressive behavior. Production of testosterone halts after the removal of testicles which makes them wander less and reduces the chances of mating.
  • Reduced chances of fights for being alpha-male or marking territory with urine.
  • Reduced behavioral issues.
  • Reduced chances of mounting things, replicating mating behavior.
  • Monetary benefits from not providing vaccinations.
  • Better the male’s behavior.
  • Lessens the risk of getting hit by a vehicle as they are more content in staying indoors rather than roaming outdoors to look for a mate after neutering.
  • Helps reduce the overpopulation ending up in animal shelters.
  • Improves a dog’s overall health.

Risks of Spaying in Dogs

The disadvantages of spaying in dogs are fewer. However, the following are some of the risks which might come up due to spaying:

  • Reduced Metabolism: With spaying a dog, its ability to increase or stabilize its metabolism will decline. Thus, dogs might face issues with their weight and appetite.
  • An issue with knees: If you spay your pet before its bone development is complete, then your pet’s cruciate ligament might tear up. This situation is more prominent in the largest breed of dogs.

Myths Associated With Spaying Or Neutering a Canine

#1 Obesity

Pets become Obese: Like humans, lack of exercise and overfeeding result in obesity in pets. Overfeeding happens during training and to ensure good behavior.

#2 Personality Changes

It will only eliminate and reduce any behaviors that you dislike as a pet parent. Your loyal buddy would be more inclined towards your family than finding a mate.

#3 Motherly Instincts

Females should Breed to bring Motherly Instincts in it: Spaying, if happened before the first heat, is most beneficial as chances of developing mammary, uterine, and ovarian cancer are reduced drastically. Although, if you want to know the answer to ‘when to spay a dog after first heat?’, question the answer anytime when they are ready.

#4 Purebed

Pets should be bred because they are purebred: There are more pets in shelters than there are families that can welcome a pet that goes for purebred as well

#5 Indoor Pets don’t need to be Spayed

Yes. Indoor pets don’t need to be spayed or neutered as they are very much likely to search for mates.

#6 Too Young

Male dogs can father puppies at a very young age starting from 6 months, while female dogs get their first heat at about 4 months. So, if you are wondering, ‘when to spay a female dog?’, here’s your answer. It is usually prescribed to spay or neuter at 6 to 9 months.

#7 Finding a Shelter

It is not definitive that finding a home for all the puppies would help, as there are still high chances of ending up in shelter homes.

#8 Children will learn about life

Many parents pose this as an excuse not to neuter or spay their pets. They believe that seeing their pet reproduce and helping to raise pups would instill in their kids a sense of responsibility, which is gibberish. If parents want their child to learn about childcare and birthing, other available resources are available.

#9 Expensive

Most people believe that these procedures are expensive, but in reality, they are cost-effective. If we take into consideration long-term medical charges in addition to taking the entire responsibility for the litter, it is definitely cheaper. Moreover, to encourage spaying and neutering practices, many institutions and clinics might give you some slashed rates.

#10 Reduces their masculinity

Male dogs are devoid of any ego. Neutered dogs are not inclined toward finding a mate. That’s it!

When Should A Dog Be Spayed Or Neutered?

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Before making this decision consult your pet’s vet, who will help to make an educated decision. Various factors like dog breed, health, age, gender, medical conditions, and health history come into play when you are making the decision.

Small dogs below 45 pounds can get spaying before their first heat, while bigger breeds above 45 pounds can get spaying after their first heat. Also, some might question ‘when is the best time to spay a dog?’ or ‘what age should a female dog be spayed?’. So, to answer it the best time will be from 6-9 months. Sometimes to predict when they will get their first heat, some vets recommend operating an ovariohysterectomy after their first cycle.

How Much Does It Cost To Neuter A Dog?

Spaying or neutering is a one-time investment in light of lifelong medical charges, unforeseen accidents, and general care. Besides, spaying is a rather costlier and more critical procedure as compared to neutering. The cost to spay a dog varies somewhere between $50 to $500 based on your fur friend’s age, gender, breed, size, and the locality you live in. If compared to the charges incurred for pregnancy care along with extra care for puppies, this option is more cost-effective. Covering the cost of postnatal and postpartum care twice or thrice a year, along with any medical conditions, could be a bit on the expensive side.

Post-Operative Care of a Spayed Dog

  • Offer light and small portions of food and water after surgery:
  • Confine them indoors for the next 2 days.
  • Keep any other pets and children away from them.
  • No straining of pets. Thus, also a big NO to running or jumping for 7 to 10 days.
  • Put them on leashes and walk them outdoors.
  • Female dogs smell as if they are in heat for the next 14 days, keeping them from any unneutered male dogs.
  • Male dogs could be potent for the next 14 days. Thus, keeping them away from unaltered females is best.
  • Do not give them any painkillers prescribed for humans.
  • For the next 24 hours, they would be uncoordinated and still be under the influence of anesthesia.
  • Aversion to food is normal. So no need to fret.
  • Mild cough due to irritation caused by endotracheal tube use during surgery is expected.
  • Swelling and redness in the area can also be another thing to observe.
  • Avoid bathing them for the next 2 weeks as this might cause infection and break open an incision. A sponge bath is thus best.

Things That Require Immediate Medical Attention after Dog Spaying

If a spayed dog exhibits any of these below things, consult a vet immediately:

  • Loss of appetite or lack of properly eating food for more than 2-3 days
  • Any infection in the area which has undergone surgery.
  • Extreme depression, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting after a day.
  • Excessive bleeding, incision tear, drainage, and foul odor from the site of surgery.

Does Spaying Affect The Mental Health Of Your Pet?

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Many viral pieces over the internet do seem to indicate that, but the answer to this question would be a big no. Studies do point out that men and women who undergo similar surgeries to remove their reproductive organs may undergo acute depression and anxiety. However, pets are different in parenting and raising kids as much as humans. They don’t fret over if they could father any puppies, or what their mate would think, etc.


The topic of whether to spay/neuter your dog or not is vast, with a limited number of relevant resources present in the public domain. As this would be a decision that pet parents would take on behalf of their furry friends, there is a lot of significance and concern surrounding this topic. There seem to be many pros and cons to it, but to get to the inference, it is best to discuss this with your pet’s vet for better guidance. Also, if you want to know the answer for ‘can you spay a dog in heat?’, we strongly ask you not to. Bleeding that is already there will only increase due to the surgery.