Did you know that spaying and neutering have health benefits for your pet?
If you're the proud owner of a female puppy, you'll be interested to hear that spaying can reduce her chances of developing breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. It also lessens the likelihood of uterine infection. All that, plus you'll avoid the risks associated with an unplanned pregnancy.
If you have a male puppy, you should know that neutering will prevent testicular tumors and may prevent prostate problems. It also reduces the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias.
Some vets prefer to spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle, but others don't. For male dogs, the timing is less specific, so it's best to get your vet's recommendations.
The benefits to you
The obvious benefit of you and your family having your puppy spayed or neutered is that you'll never have to deal with unplanned litters. But there are other advantages too. Males neutered early in life are less aggressive, less distracted by females in heat, less likely to mark their territory with urine and less likely to mount the furniture or your leg.
Spaying a female puppy will stop stray males from camping in your garden and decrease her desire to roam and breed.
The benefits to society
Tragically, millions of dogs are euthanized in this country every year. Most of them are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming, un-neutered dogs. By neutering your puppy, you will know that you won't be adding to this problem.
Worries you may have about spaying and neutering
Despite all the strong evidence in favor of spaying and neutering, you may have some concerns. Let's tackle a few common ones.
Is the surgery safe?
Spaying and neutering are straightforward operations, and ones that your vet will have performed dozens of times before. It's natural to feel nervous, but you can also feel confident that you are doing the best thing for your puppy.
The procedure is straightforward when you are neutering a male (removing the testes). A female spay (removing the ovaries and uterus), is considered major surgery, but is a routine procedure and the risk is minimal.
Will my puppy gain weight?
There's absolutely no need for a neutered puppy to gain weight. Just remember to adjust how much you feed him according to his activity level. You may also consider switching to a lower calorie food such as Hill's Science Diet™ Light dog food when he reaches one year old.
Will my puppy's personality change?
Maybe, but only for the better. A neutered male puppy may be less aggressive and less likely to wander.
What else should I know?
Your pet will be required to have a general anesthetic for this procedure, so your vet will ask you not to give your puppy anything to eat or drink for twelve hours before the operation.
You'll probably be able to bring your puppy home on the same day, although he may have to stay a little longer if he's very sleepy.
To discuss these concerns further, or if you have any additional worries, it is best to schedule an appointment with your vet.