Desexing Your Dog

Dog desex

Photo by Samuel Foster


Desexing Your Dog

Desexing, also known as spaying or neutering, is a surgical procedure that involves removing your dog’s reproductive organs. Not only does this procedure help prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it can also benefit your dog’s overall health, and may even help with certain undesirable behaviours.

To ensure your dog has a speedy recovery, it’s important you understand what the procedure entails and how to best care for your pet before and after their surgery.

Why does your dog need to be desexed?

There are numerous reasons why vets recommend that you desex your dog, from preventing them from reproducing to managing their behaviour. If you’ve got concerns about having your dog desexed, be sure to have a conversation with your vet.

To prevent unwanted litters

Desexing prevents dogs from reproducing, so if you don’t plan on breeding, it’s important to get your dog spayed or neutered.

To reduce the risk of certain health issues

Dogs that are desexed are less likely to develop reproductive system-related health concerns, including certain types of cancer, pyometra (a serious infection of the womb), uterine infections, and prostate issues.

For behaviour management

Desexing your dog can help reduce or put a stop to a range of fertility-related behaviours. For example, male dogs can tend to wander in search of a mate and might mark their territory by urinating around the house, while unspayed female dogs may experience signs of heat (their fertile period), including restlessness and whining, as well as urinating frequently. It’s important to understand that desexing is not a cure for all behaviour issues, however, if you have any concerns these should be discussed with your vet.

At what age should a dog be desexed?

It’s typically recommended to have your dog desexed when they’re around six months old, but the ideal age can vary depending on their breed, size, and overall health. Recent studies, especially in medium and large sized dogs, have shown the importance of allowing a dog to reach their full adult size prior to desexing. It’s best to consult your vet to determine when the best time to desex your dog is.

Caring for your dog before and after desexing

Desexing is a surgical procedure, so it’s important that you know how to prepare your dog for it, and how you can best care for them afterwards to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible.

Before the procedure

Before the procedure, ensure that your dog is up to date on all their vaccinations and has cleared a pre-surgical health check to ensure they’re fit for surgery. You will likely be asked not to feed your dog the night before the operation and, ensure they’ve had plenty of water, to reduce the risk of anaesthesia-related complications. Your vet may also advise you to restrict your pet's activities a few days before the surgery to reduce their chances of injury.

Following the procedure

After your pet has undergone the surgery, it’s essential that you care for them appropriately to aid a speedy recovery. Ensure that they have a comfortable resting area where they can recover peacefully, and you can monitor them for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour, such as lack of appetite or lethargy. Provide them with plenty of water and make sure they don’t lick or chew at the surgical site. During their recovery, be gentle when petting your dog and give them the space they need to feel at ease. Your vet may also provide medication to manage any pain your dog is experiencing.

When to see your vet

It’s important to see your vet both before and after the procedure. Before the procedure, they will examine your dog to ensure they’re healthy enough to undergo the surgery. After the procedure, they will monitor your dog’s recovery progress, ensure that they’re healing well, and are free of any complications. It’s important to follow your vet’s instructions, and if you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Desexing is a routine surgical procedure that can improve your dog's quality of life, including the prevention of unwanted litters, reduced risk of health problems, and management of certain behaviours. If you’re planning on having your dog desexed, be sure that they’ve had all the essential medical checks beforehand, and that you keep them comfortable throughout their recovery. For more advice on caring for your dog, check out our pet care blog.


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