Spaying and Neutering Explained

A dog with a cone on its head

As the owner of an adorable new puppy, you may have concerns about spaying and neutering. Is it safe? Necessary? Will my puppy’s personality change? Though concerns are natural, the benefits to spaying or neutering far outweigh the risks. 

What is Spaying and Neutering?

Neutering is the general term for canine sterilization, as well as the term for the procedure that removes a male dog’s testicles. Alternatively, females get spayed, a procedure that removes her ovaries and uterus. Both procedures require general anesthesia, and your puppy will likely stay at the veterinarian for anywhere between a few hours to a few days afterward to recoup. 

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

Most veterinarians recommend that a female dog be spayed before she reaches sexual maturity, usually between 6 and 7 months. Conversely, male dogs should be neutered just after reaching sexual maturity, at about 6 to 8 months. 

What are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of spaying and neutering extend far beyond population control. As a result of the procedure, your puppy will be a healthier, friendlier, and more attentive pet. Spayed and neutered dogs also have a reduced risk of certain infections, tumours and cancers. They’re known to be easier to train and less likely to fight with other dogs. Neutering is also an important safety precaution, as it may help prevent your pup from roaming and possibly running away. 

One potential negative side effect is obesity, caused by hormonal changes and a calmer lifestyle. This risk can be easily countered, though, by monitoring your puppy’s diet and encouraging regular exercise. 

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