What Age Should A Puppy Be Spayed?
Spaying or neutering dogs provides a variety of health and behavior related benefits to the pets while allowing their owners financial reprieve in the form of averted medical bills. Here’s the million dollar question — what is the right time to have your puppy spayed? Before you decide to strip your puppy of the ability to procreate in the future you first need to understand the ‘why’ before you can decide on the ‘when.’
What Is Spaying Or Neutering?
Ovariohysterectomy (spaying) is the removal of the reproductive parts of a female dog. It usually entails the removal of the uterus and ovaries through a surgical procedure. In other parts of the world, partial spaying (no to the ovaries, yes to the uterus) is what is commonly done while complete spaying procedures are embraced within the United States.
Neutering, on the other hand, is the removal of the testicles in a male dog. While both neutering and spaying are surgical procedures, neutering is not intrusive and thus less complicated compared to spaying.
Why is the size of the Puppy Important?
The size and age of the puppy being spayed is an important consideration. Size is often associated with the age of the puppy. There is a better chance that larger dogs have had their hormones fully distributed. Additionally, the size affects the spaying procedure due to issues of anesthesia administration and safety. It also affects the complexity of the procedure. In larger and older dogs, you are likely to encounter robust and well-defined blood supply systems and deeper abdominal cavities. The fat in larger animals also makes the procedure difficult to carry out. It is no wonder that the risk of developing post spaying complications is higher in smaller dogs, like puppies, as opposed to larger ones. If you have a perfectly healthy puppy, spaying procedures you should delay spaying her until she is mature.
Benefits of Spaying
By removing the reproductive organs of a female puppy, primarily the ovaries, we interfere with regular hormone production. When done at the right age, such as when the dog is mature, we reduce the prevalence of diseases such as cancers associated with these reproductive organs. Spaying at the right age also helps reduce the prevalence of cancer of the mammary glands. Consequently, there are some benefits to delaying spaying until the dog has fully matured. In fact, perhaps we should consider delaying spaying as a real part of responsible pet ownership, and not premature spaying as is traditionally done in the United States.
Risks of Spaying
Where there are advantages, you are bound to find the disadvantages. Spaying brings with it some health risks including predisposing animals to osteosarcoma, cranial cruciate ligament disease (CCL), hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma. This is especially true for puppies that are spayed before attaining sexual maturity. Spayed puppies are also likely to develop urinary problems as well as excessive gain weight.
Now that we have looked at what and why of spaying, it is time to go back to the when. Recent scientific research seems to suggest that spaying should ideally be done when the puppy is not a puppy at all. In fact, responsible pet owners are better served with waiting until small dogs are at least 1–2 years old, and larger dogs are at least 2–3 years old. However, talk to your vet to get a clear picture on spaying before subjecting your puppy to the procedure.
Additional Information on Delaying Spaying for the Health of Your Dog and the Pet Anti-Breeding System:
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Originally published at Delay Her Spay.