Petcover spaying and neutering everything you need to know blog

Spaying & neutering 101 – everything you need to know

Everything a responsible dog owner needs to know

Anyone who opens their home to a new dog, whether a puppy or older rescue, understands the responsibility that comes with it. From the moment you pick them up, your new dog is completely dependant on you for its health and wellbeing and to make the best decisions, you need to be armed with all the facts.

What is Neutering or Spaying?

There are a few terms for this procedure; spaying, neutering, castration, desexing, not to mention the myriad of colloquialisms you’ve also probably heard, but ultimately, they all mean the same thing. Neutering or spaying is the surgical process of ensuring your pet can’t reproduce.

What’s the difference between spaying and neutering?

Spaying is the procedure for female dogs, and neutering is for males.

Spaying is when the female reproductive organs are removed usually, the ovaries will be removed, but sometimes your vet might also advise the fallopian tubes and uterus are removed.

Neutering is when the male dog’s testicles are removed, as this is where most of their testosterone comes from, which means their hormone levels fall.

Both procedures are done under a general anaesthetic (so your dog is completely asleep). They can usually go home a few hours after surgery armed with some painkillers and usually a cone to stop them from licking themselves.

Why should I desex my dog?

Most animal organisations and charities advise getting your pets neutered. According to the SPCA, over 35,000 animals go through their centres every year and whilst there will always be circumstances that can’t be helped, every dog that’s spayed or neutered helps reduce this pressure.

· Unwanted pregnancies

o Dogs are inquisitive pets, and even the most-watched over canine would be likely to take advantage of an escape opportunity if one presented itself. You cannot guarantee your dog will never come into contact with the opposite sex, so desexing means there’s one less thing to worry about if your dog does take itself off for an adventure.

· Health

o Hormones like estrogen and testosterone can make your dog more prone to some cancers. With the ovaries and testicles removed, so too is the chance of these types of cancer. Studies have also proven that female dogs who are spayed are less likely to develop breast cancer later in life, whereas castrated males have a lower chance of developing prostate cancer.

· Behaviour

o Some female dogs can become especially hormonal depending on where they are in their season, and male dogs can be more driven to roam when they’re intact. Spaying and castrating reduce these tendencies. Dogs must always acknowledge you’re their pack leader. If you’ve got a male dog who often challenges your authority, you could find they become more amiable once they’re castrated.

Will spaying or castrating alter my dog’s behaviour?

Every dog has their own personality that’s a fundamental part of who they are. Castrating and spaying will often temper negative reactions, but it shouldn’t change the parts of your dog you love. Any concerns about their behaviour can always be discussed with your vet.

If your dog is prone to nipping, territorial marking or humping, you could find neutering resolves many of these problems, which will ultimately lead to your dog feeling less anxious.

What if I want to breed my dog?

Many new dog owners think they like the idea of puppy versions of their beloved pet running around, or it could be a great way to make some money. This is a decision that should never be made lightly. Any responsible and reputable dog breeder will tell you they don’t do it for the financial reward because there rarely is one.

Looking after a pregnant dog is expensive, and it’s not just pregnancy scans you need to budget for. A first-time mum will need closer attention, and you should always budget for a caesarean which can be expensive. Many pure breed dogs come with predisposed health conditions, which you’ll also need to factor in, and once the puppies are born, you’ll need to make sure they’re well-fed once weaned and vaccinated.

How long will it take for my dog to recover from surgery?

Whilst younger dogs will usually recover a lot quicker than older dogs. Most will be back on their paws within a few hours of surgery. When you pick your dog up, you’ll probably notice they’re a little groggy whilst the effects of the anaesthetic weares off, but this should be out of their system within a day. As well as receiving painkillers in the actual surgery, they’ll usually be sent home with some too, and your vet will tell you how and when to administer them.

Like any human surgery, your dog will need to take it easy for a few days, but most dogs will think they’re healing quicker than they actually are. Try to stop them running or jumping around whilst they’re healing, and make sure they’re not licking their wounds.

Most dogs will need around two weeks to recover from being spayed or neutered, but it’s important you follow the advice your vet gives you. If they’re sent home with a cone, make sure your dog is comfortable getting around your home with it on and make sure they don’t start trying to chew it. There are a few alternatives if your dog really struggles with their cone but always speak to your vet before you try anything new.

How Petcover can help your pet

Petcover specialises in offering quality, straightforward pet insurance with a range of policy options that suit your needs. Whether your pet is big or small, furry or scaly our range of cover options are packed with added benefits. Accidents can happen at any time and the reality of veterinary costs can come a quite a shock. With our range of cover levels for dogscats, and horses why not get a quote today.