Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 7 – Puppy Health Care (Part 3)
Chapter 7 – Puppy Health Care (Part 3)
Neutering Your Puppy
Neutering involves the removal of the entire uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes (also called “spaying”) for female dogs, and the removal of both testicles (also known as “castration”) for male dogs. Both spaying and castrating are major surgeries, but they are also the most common surgeries that veterinarians perform.
Neutering Myths and Facts
Neutering a puppy can be a sensitive topic for some people. With some couples, one supports the surgery while the other doesn’t even want to talk about it. It’s important to decide what’s best for your puppy and for your family when considering neutering. Let’s examine some myths and facts:
Myth: Neutering will change my puppy’s personality.
Fact: Your puppy’s personality is made up of a lot more than reproductive organs. Puppies are still masculine or feminine after the surgery, and it doesn’t affect their ability to play or participate in dog activities or sports. There is an added benefit to neutering males: The reduction of testosterone reduces the biological need for them to search for a female in heat, which makes males less likely to roam and mount.
Myth: Neutering will make my puppy fat.
Fact: People make dogs fat. If you overfeed your puppy and don’t give her the proper amount of exercise, she will gain weight. Neutering and weight gain unrelated.
Myth: A female dog should have at least one litter to feel fulfilled.
Fact: Your female does not stay up at night worrying about her biological clock. Getting pregnant, even one time, will not improve her behavior. The mating instinct actually can lead to undesirable behaviors and stress for you and your pet.
The truth is, there are certain benefits to neutering both male and female puppies.
Female dogs usually come into heat between six months and one year of age. Small-breed dogs tend to come into heat earlier than do large-breed dogs. Females then have a heat cycle about every six months, depending on the breed, which can last as long as 21 days. During this time, a female will start to bleed and may become anxious and irritable. As long as your female is in heat, you cannot leave her unsupervised for even a second! Don’t think that a fence will stop an intact male dog from getting to your girl. They will dig under, climb over, and do anything to respond to their hormonal instincts.
If you spay your female, you’ll eliminate the heat cycle and the stress that comes along with it. You also will reduce her risk of certain health problems, such as uterine infections and mammary cancer.
Male dogs are capable of breeding at as young as six months of age. They tend to “mark” their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine on your house, furniture, and other belongings. Males also will follow their natural hormonal instincts to find a female dog in heat. This isn’t a longing for a nice girl to settle down with and build a family—it’s a strong hormonal urge. Male dogs will run right into the road following that scent. They will fight other dogs over a female and can get seriously hurt or even killed.
If you neuter your male, he will focus more on you instead of his hormones. He will also have a lower risk of contracting certain health problems, such as prostate disease, testicular cancer, and infections.
The Best Time to Neuter
When should you neuter your puppy? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and other organizations all agree that it is safe to neuter puppies as early as eight weeks of age. Many shelters and rescue organizations are neutering very young puppies before they place them in their homes to help to reduce the pet overpopulation. Talk to your veterinarian about the best time to neuter your puppy. Every breed is different.
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