De-sexing Your Puppy
Choosing whether to de-sex your puppy is an important decision for dog owners to make. This article discusses the most important things to know when making the decision and will guide you through the process of de-sexing your dog.
De-sexing is a surgical procedure which sterilises both female and male dogs. After being de-sexed, a dog will no longer have season or fall pregnant. Male dogs will not be able to impregnate females. Due to its invasive, surgical nature, de-sexing is a permanent procedure. It cannot be undone. De-sexing is most ideally performed while your dog is still young because it more greatly eliminates health risks and negative potentially behaviours. For female dogs in particular, it is important to perform the procedure before the dog has experienced its first heat cycle.
Obviously, the procedure to de-sex male puppies differs from that of females. Female sterilisation is referred to as saying. It involves the surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus. This procedure is a major surgery and quite often requires a short period of hospitalisation. Male sterilisation is referred to as castration. Castration is a less involved process and is therefore usually a shorter operation wherein the veterinarian removes the dog’s testicles.
Unless you intend to breed your dog professionally, it is generally considered a responsible decision to have your puppy de-sexed. By encouraging de-sexing, the dog-owning community can reduce the amount of dogs without homes and eliminate the strain on puppy shelters and community safe homes.
What Are the Advantages of De-Sexing My Dog?
De-sexing Male Dogs
Contrary to the belief of some, castrating male dogs is just as important as spaying females. Given the chance, male dogs will roam miles to find females on heat. Thus, to avoid unwanted pregnancies and abandoned puppies we suggest de-sexing male dogs as early as possible.
In addition, de-sexing male dogs reduces the risk of testicular cancer and complications associated with the prostate and hernias which are related to testosterone. Lastly, de-Sexing male dogs reduces potentially negative behaviours such as aggressive impulses and spraying to mark territory.
Benefits of De-Sexing Male Dogs
- Less aggressive behaviour
- Reduce unwanted pregnancies
- Minimise cancer risks
- Discourage territorial spraying
De-sexing Female Dogs
De-sexing your female dog is a critical step in avoiding unwanted pregnancies. This is particularly important when you consider the thousands of puppies who are forced to be put down in shelters each year. By de-sexing your female dog, you avoid her experiencing heat cycles and the complications that come with them. Namely, de-sexing female dogs will eliminate messy bleeding and reduce attention from male dogs.
In addition, de-sexing your female dog will make her more manageable in training using treats. She will also be more playful, affectionate and relaxed and will generally be less aggressive. Importantly, de-sexing female dogs is proven to reduce the risk of mammary and ovarian cancers.
Benefits of De-Sexing Female Dogs
- Reduced risk of mammary and ovarian cancers
- No heat cycle
- More playful and affectionate dog
- Less aggressive behaviour
When is the Best Time to De-Sex my dog?
As a general rule, the best time to de-sex your dog is around 6 months. This way, you avoid the heat cycle for females, and the onset of aggressive behaviour in males. In breeds where hip dysplasia and cruciate diseases are common, it may be a good idea to delay the de-sexing procedure to 12 months. For more information regarding “When is the Best Time to De-Sex my dog?”, check out our article where we discuss it in depth here.
Complications Associated with De-sexing
Before making the decision to de-sex your puppy, it is important to note that in some uncommon cases, there are complications that occur as a result of de-sexing. Most of these complications are relatively unserious however it is still useful to be aware of these risks before, during, and after the procedure.
Firstly, swelling and inflammation around the incision can cause moderate pain for the dog. This can be an uncomfortable experience for your puppy, so it is important to be able to comfort them while they recover. When a dog feels pain around the incision, they are likely to attempt to scratch, bite, and itch the site. This can lead to your puppy pulling sutures out.
When female dogs are de-sexed, their abdomen is opened. For this reason, this procedure is considered a major surgery. This means that there is a greater risk of haemorrhaging and complications such as infection. During the surgery, both male and female dogs are anaesthetised which is always considered to have inherent risks.
As always, the best thing to do before choosing to de-sex your puppy is talk to your veterinarian who will be able to discuss the risks and benefits with you, in more detail.
What are Potential Complications Associated with De-sexing?
- Swelling and Inflammation
- Sutures ripped out
- Complications associated with anaesthetic
Some people believe that de-sexing will cause your dog to gain weight. To the contrary, there is no evidence that de-sexing directly results in weight gain for dogs. De-sexing should not result in reduced activity levels in your dog. If your dog does gain weight after de-sexing, increase their activity level and reduce their diet. If problems persist and your dog continues to gain weight, there may be another underlying issue so be sure to see your veterinarian.
De-sexing is an important part of responsible dog ownership. Not only does it have benefit for you, the owner, but also for the whole community of dog owners. Unless you plan to breed your puppy, de-sexing is quite often the way to go. As always, speak to your veterinarian, and understand the risks and benefits before making a decision regarding de-sexing.