Spaying/Neutering is one of the most critical steps in a dog parenting journey. Simply, spaying/neutering is a surgical procedure done on dogs and cats to remove their reproductive organs.
It is called spaying when done on a female dog and neutering when done on a male pup. Either way, the idea is the same — this procedure makes them unable to reproduce.
Although invasive, spaying/neutering is generally not a big or risky deal. There are, however, a few things you need to know about this process, including the benefits and why you should probably get your dog spayed/neutered.
Knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions will put you at ease if and when you get your dog spayed/neutered.
Dog Spaying/Neutering - FAQs Answered
What Is the Recommended Time to Spay/Neuter a Dog?
In general, dogs are spayed/neutered between six to nine months of age. However, healthy puppies are spayed/neutered even as early as eight weeks.
You should talk to a vet before making this decision.
Can You Spay a Dog in Heat?
A female dog’s heat cycle typically lasts for three weeks. They can be more irritable and less active during this period, which occurs once every six months.
Their bodies, too, go through change during these weeks. Vaginal bleeding, nervous and aggressive behavior, and swelling of the private parts include a few changes.
Now, coming back to the question. Can a dog be spayed while in heat?
The answer is yes, they can be. However, the bodily changes mentioned above can pose a few complications.
Due to swollen reproductive parts and blood vessels, the surgery might carry more risk than usual. Further, tissues are more fragile and the bleeding is heavier.
This problem is worse in large breeds and overweight dogs.
Because of this, your vet might refuse to do the surgery or ask you to schedule it later.
You have to think about how likely it is that your dog will get pregnant. If you think there’s a good possibility, you might be better off spaying them immediately, even if they are going through their heat period.
How Long Does It Take To Spay a Dog?
Let’s answer this question in two parts. First, we’ll talk about how long might the actual procedure last. Then, we’ll come into how long you and your dog might have to stay in the hospital.
The actual spaying procedure lasts anywhere between 20 minutes to 90 minutes. This depends on a few things:
- Any health complication your dog might have
- Their age
- Their size and breed
As for how long you might have to stay at the hospital, you and your dog will be there for a couple of hours. This is because your pup has to recover from the anesthesia and go through a few checks before getting discharged.
How Long Will Dog Spay Recovery Take?
For the anesthesia to fully wear off, it might take anywhere between 24 hours to two days. Constantly monitor them during this time because if they are lethargic even after 48 hours, it might be a sign of infection or other related issues.
After this, their recovery depends on how well you take care of them.
So, for the following 10-14 days (which is the usual recovery period), make sure your dog does not do much physical activity.
Keep them from jumping and running around for those 14 days, as excessive physical activity can cause the incision to tear and reopen. Also, inspect the wound regularly for any signs of infection.
Be vigilant for behavioral changes, and call your vet immediately if you sense something wrong.
Does Female Dog Behavior Change after Spaying?
Questions like this one, like ‘will spaying calm a female dog?’ ‘Does spaying a dog calm them down?’ and ‘Do dogs calm down after being spayed?’ get asked a lot.
The reason behind this might be the widespread misconception that spaying or neutering your dog will automatically make your dog calmer, more compliant, and remove inappropriate behaviors.
But, these are more complex questions to answer. Here’s why.
Spaying or neutering will not change your dog’s general behavior and temperament. They will remain the same, for the most part, and will not show drastic behavioral changes after a spay or neuter.
There is a catch, though.
Even though spaying or neutering will not overhaul your dog’s behavior, it might curb a few hormone-related behaviors.
For instance, your dog might not show the irritability it displayed during a heat period. This is because they do not have to undergo those hormonal changes every six months.
Similarly, they might not be as aggressive towards strangers because spaying could remove hormonally driven defensive behavior.
It also potentially eliminates behaviors like “false pregnancy,” where dogs adopt objects and treat them like their puppies, even though they are not actually pregnant.
This is similar for male dogs as well. While they may not display hormonal behaviors like running away, looking for a mating partner, or periodical aggression, their general behavior will not change.
Do Spayed Dogs Still Get Hormonal?
A question similar to this is, ‘Do spayed dogs go into heat?’
Here’s the answer:
Not in standard cases. However, sometimes spayed dogs can get hormonal.
This condition, also known as ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS), is when female dogs display signs of being in heat even after getting spayed.
It happens when a part of the ovarian tissue is left behind during the surgery.
A few signs of ORS can be:
- Swelling of the private parts
- Vaginal bleeding
- Behavioral changes
If you notice any of these, contact your vet immediately. The risk of complications gets higher the longer the tissue is left inside.
Do Spayed Dogs Have Periods?
This one (finally) has a simple answer. And that is: No, spayed dogs do not have periods.
Once the ovaries and the uterus is removed from a female dog’s body, they no longer have periods.
Can I Bathe My Dog 10 Days after Spaying?
As mentioned above, it usually takes around 10 to 14 days for the spay incision to heal. So, it is best not to get the incision wet before at least 14 days.
This means no licking the incision, no bathing, no swimming, no playing in the rain, and definitely no rolling around in the glistening morning grass for at least two weeks.
If you want to keep your dog entertained in a way that does not harm their wound, you can try giving them our yak chews. They are suitable for this especially because they last a long time.
Benefits of Spaying a Female Dog
The benefits of spaying female dogs are:
- They will live a long, healthier life: Spaying decreases the odds of them getting uterine infections and breast tumors by around 50%, and prevents irregular cycles and false/phantom pregnancies.
- They will not go into heat: Spaying will stop female dogs from going into heat and the issues that arise from that, like irritability, excessive urination, and yowling.
- You will have lower medical costs: Spaying your female dog is a lot easier and cost-effective than having to care for a litter or handling the medical expenses for potential health issues.
Male dogs, too, see some benefits after neutering, like:
- They are less likely to roam outside the house in search of a female companion.
- They might become better behaved as hormone-induced behaviors might stop after neutering.
- They will have a better, healthier life as neutering reduces risks of testicular cancer and prostate problems.
Side Effects of Spaying a Female Dog
While it is widely agreed upon that spaying a dog will increase the health and lifespan of a dog, there are still a few unintended effects. Some of them are:
- Reduced metabolism, which might lead to obesity if their diet and exercise are not taken care of
- Knee injury risks in large breed dogs if they are spayed before their bone growth is complete
- Increased risk of behavioral issues like noise phobia if spayed before maturity
- Increased risk of urinary incontinence (a condition where dogs leak urine by accident) in some middle-aged and older female dogs
Dog spaying and neutering is a big decision as it affects the long-term health of your dog. Going into it uninformed about the important aspects might cause a headache later.
We hope this post cleared up some of your confusion regarding spaying and neutering.
If you liked this blog, share it with your fellow dog parents. If you want to learn more about dog parenting, here are our dog parenting guide, food guide, and dog grooming tips to help you out.
Note: This blog is not intended to be a medical guide and meant only to be an informative piece. Please always consult your vet for medical advice regarding health concerns about your dog.