Often new dog owners ask us if they should get their puppy fixed. Here, our Suffolk County vets explain how spaying or neutering your dog not only helps to prevent unplanned puppies, it can also benefit your dog's health and may prevent some unwanted pet behaviors.
Should you get your dog fixed?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year across the USA.
Spaying or neutering your dog is the best way for you to help reduce the overall number of unplanned puppies each year while improving your pet's behavior and reducing their risk of some serious health conditions.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
First, it's important to understand what 'fixing your dog' actually means. 'Fixing' is the blanket term we use when talking about spaying or neutering a dog.
Spaying Female Dogs
Spaying entails the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs through either an ovariohysterectomy (both uterus and ovaries are removed) or an ovariectomy (only the ovaries are removed). After your female dog has been spayed she will not be able to have puppies.
Neutering Male Dogs
For male dogs, neutering, or castration, involves the removal of both testicles and their associated structures. A neutered dog is unable to reproduce.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Besides reducing the risk of unwanted puppies, there are a number of other benefits to spaying or neutering your dog.
Neutering helps to prevent male dogs from developing testicular cancer and can also help reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggression, straying and humping.
Spaying your female dog can help to prevent serious health problems such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
When Should You Get Your Dog Fixed?
There are a number of factors that can influence the timing of these procedures, however, both spaying and neutering can be done on puppies as young as a few months old. Traditionally, puppies were fixed when they were between 4 - 6 months old.
Speak to your vet in order to determine the best age to spay or neuter your dog.