It’s time to have an important conversation with your vet if you are a dog owner. Should you spay or neuter your pup? How much you do know about the process itself, its benefits, and its drawbacks? Though common sense says to get your dog “fixed” unless you are planning on creating more pups, there are some considerations you may want to be aware of before you schedule that appointment.
The upsides of spaying or neutering your pup are mostly obvious: your dog will not reproduce, display as much aggressive behavior, and you will have done your part in not contributing to the pet homelessness crisis affecting millions of dogs in the United States. Do these reasons sound good so far?
There are other benefits, too. If your dog is female, she can look forward to living a longer life as well as not going into heat during the breeding season. If your dog is male, he will not develop testicular cancer and he will be less likely to roam away from the house to find a mate. He also may resist the urge to mark his territory and mount other dogs (and inanimate objects).
With the above information under consideration, you may be wondering when you would not spay or neuter your dog. If you are planning on breeding your pup, it’s pretty obvious that you need to avoid removing any reproductive organs. Other reasons, like worrying about your dog’s recovery time, can be managed with care, the right recovery products, and pain medication prescribed by your vet. There are some myths out there about dogs developing diseases or gaining massive amounts of weight due to them being spayed or neutered, but researchers have yet to find evidence that any of these are true.
Dogs who are spayed prematurely can develop urinary problems, and they are at higher risk for lifelong medical conditions like hip dysplasia. If you’re set on spaying or neutering, make sure you do not have the operation performed too early. Dogs should be about four to six months old before you spay or neuter.
If you’ve decided that it’s best to spay or neuter your pup, you’ve probably arrived at the decision after some thoughtful research. Because you’re making this decision with your companion's health in mind, you are also probably searching for ways to make the process easier and less traumatic for your canine friend. Below are a few suggestions for products that will help your pet ease into this next phase of his or her life.
You may have giggled to yourself when you saw a tiny dog with a big plastic cone wrapped around its neck, but did you know that these oddly-shaped devices actually serve a purpose? They stop your pup from scratching, licking, chewing, and otherwise irritating stitches or a sore incision site, which can be perfect for a fidgety pup who would rather see what’s going on down there than sit quietly and ignore any discomfort. Cones can be worn for hours or days (taken off to sleep, of course), depending on how curious your pup is about his stitches and how well the healing process is going.
Inflatable collars serve a similar purpose to cones, but pups who are either annoyed or frightened by such a large device around their necks — especially if they have never had surgery before — may do better with a collar that functions as a barrier against your dog’s curiosity rather than something that blocks part of your his or her vision.
If you aren’t quite sure what you’ll need to send your dog along a speedy path to recovery, consider assembling a first-aid kit that will include goodies like healing creams, an inflatable collar, bandages, pill-pocket treats, and wound spray. If you have multiple dogs, you may want to have several of these items on hand for the next time one undergoes a spaying or neutering operation.
For pups who can’t stand the cone or the puffy collar, you can consider another option: a recovery suit . This suit slightly restricts your dog's movement, which lessens his or her ability to chew or scratch on a healing wound, but it does not interfere with vision or movement of the head and neck area in the way a collar or cone would. This suit comes in different sizes and is machine washable, so if you have more than one dog of the same size, it could be used multiple times. Suitical’s recovery suit is available in black, pink camo, and blue camo!
If your pooch isn’t a fan of taking medicine, you may be in trouble post-surgery, when dogs are frequently prescribed painkillers and other meds depending on their pre-existing conditions. Consider having a pack of Greenies on hand to hide the pills away in a secret pocket — your dog won’t even realize that he’s taking his medicine!
We wish your pup well and we’re sure he’ll have a fast recovery! As always, Baxter Boo’s got your back for all things canine. Check in with us regularly for more ideas and tips for living with your pup as well as managing behavior and providing a healthy diet.