Most veterinarians strongly recommend that dog owners get their dog spayed between 4 and 6 months of age. We are going to take a moment and describe why those recommendations are being made.
Top 5 Reasons to Spay Your Dog
The first reason we recommend spaying your dog is that while we all love our canine friends, the fact is that there is a huge over population problem in this country. We want to make sure that every dog has a loving home and we are reducing the number of dogs stuck in shelters or being destroyed due to lack of resources to care for them. In order to reduce the demand on shelters, we want to make sure that dogs are being intentionally bred. Pure bred dogs or dog that are bred intentionally have a much higher likelihood of finding a suitable home than dogs that have been accidentally bred. Spaying your dog at the recommended age reduces the “oops” factor of unplanned pregnancies.
Second, we want to make sure that our dogs are protected. That means that they need to be at home with their families or in the secure environment of their yard. Dogs that have a hormonal drive to breed when their body tells them it is time are likely to jump fences or run from home even when that behavior is not normal for them. Removing the hormonal drive to get bred helps keep more dogs safe in their homes.
Spaying your dog is important from a medical standpoint as well. When a dog goes through a heat cycle, they run the risk of an infection entering the uterus. The owner does not typically notice these infections, but rather dogs visit their veterinarian because owners notice they are just really sick. In this case the diagnosis is called a Pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus. This infection commonly results in emergency surgeries and aggressive medical management. This condition can be fatal if aggressive intervention is not pursued. Spaying your dog removes the possibility that she could face a pyometra.
Several years ago, research demonstrated a significant reduction in cancer rates if dogs were spayed early in life. Mammary cancer is seen in over 30% of dogs that have not been spayed and it is seen in less than 2% of dogs that have been spayed before their first heat cycle. Research that strong is pretty convincing that spaying your dog can save them from serious medical issues later in life.
Finally, dogs that have not been spayed are going to go though heat cycles approximately every month of their life. During their heat cycles, they will bleed which most owners find very inconvenient for dogs that live indoors. After a heat cycle, dogs that have not been bred may go through a false pregnancy. False pregnancies happen when the dog’s body thinks she is pregnant even though she is not. Her body gets ready for puppies that are not coming. She will develop mammary tissue and produce milk. She will want to create a nesting spot in the house and will sometimes become agitated as her hormones rise.
These five reasons are just a few of the many reasons veterinarians recommend spaying female dogs. We encourage you to talk to your veterinarian for more information or to learn more about these topics.