Dog Spaying Explained

Dog spaying, also known as ovariohysterectomy, is the sterilization surgical procedure for female dogs. During the procedure, the uterus and the ovaries are removed.

Spaying is recommended to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to control certain behavioral problems.

Best Time for Spaying

Spaying is a procedure that may be performed at any time in female dogs. The best time for spaying is just before the dog becomes an adult and has the first estrus or heat cycle. The first heat cycle may happen at the age of 6 to 9 months, depending on the breed of the dog, diet and environmental factors.

If the procedure is performed at an early age, it is less difficult. When the dog gets older, the spaying may be more complicated.

Spaying is not recommended when the dog is in heat or when she is pregnant, as there might be issues with the anesthesia and possible complications.

The Spaying Surgery

The ovariohysterectomy is the sterilization of female dogs. The ovaries and the uterus are eliminated. The surgery is not complicated; an incision is made and the removal takes around 30 minutes. If the dog is older or pregnant, the procedure may last longer.

The dog may be kept under surveillance for one day at the clinic, but may also be released on the same day of the sterilization surgery.

In rare cases, there might be surgery complications. The dog may get an infection post-surgery. Anesthesia may also raise problems for older dogs.

In case the ovaries are not removed properly, the dog will still have heat cycles twice per year and may become pregnant.

Post Surgery Care

After surgery, you have to make sure your dog gets a lot of rest. The dog shouldn't be performing strenuous activities 2 weeks post surgery.

The surgery is not painful and the dog will experience no pain after the surgery.

Monitor the surgery wound to make sure it is not infected. If the wound is inflamed and red and the dog has fever, she may have an infection.

Don't allow your dog to lick, scratch or bite the surgery wound.

Spaying Surgery Benefits

Besides preventing pregnancies, spaying has benefits for the dog's health and behavior. Heat cycles cause dogs to be more agitated and irritable; spayed dogs are calmer and friendlier. Spaying may also solve behavioral problems such as aggressiveness or excessive barking. The dog will not have heat cycles anymore.

In addition, the ovariohysterectomy will reduce the dog's exposure to infections and diseases of the reproductive system. The dog will also have a lower risk of breast cancer.

Disadvantages of Sterilization

Sterile dogs are more likely to get obese. Spaying is not directly related to obesity, however the procedure will make the dog less active and if she eats the same amounts of food, she will get overweight. This may result in joint problems and higher risk of heart disease.

Spayed dogs are more prone to bladder incontinence.

The sterilization procedure may also be performed with laser beams. The costs of laser spaying are higher.

Typically, a normal spaying procedure costs between $100 and $150.