To answer this commonly asked question we need to know a little more about spaying and the pros and cons of the procedure. First of all, what is spaying anyway?
Spaying is the sterilization of a female dog by removing her organs of reproduction, namely the ovaries and uterus (or womb). This is a fairly major surgical procedure but is commonly arranged by dog owners, as it has several benefits for both the dog and the owner provided that there is no wish to breed from the dog.
Benefits of dog spaying:
Prevention of unwanted pregnancies – this helps to control the dog population and any unintended cross-breeding with other dogs.
Reduction in mammary cancer (breast cancer) – particularly if the spaying is performed before the dogs first “heat” (or period) when it is reduced to almost zero. Otherwise, the risk of mammary cancer in many breeds is 25% or higher.
Prevention of Pyometra (infection of the uterus) – this is an extremely common condition in unsprayed dogs and is a serious infection inside the uterus which leads to blood poisoning and even death of the dog if untreated. Spaying completely prevents this as there is no uterus remaining to become infected.
Convenience and hygiene – the unspayed dog will have a menstrual period every 8 months or so when the dog will lose blood from the vagina this can give an offensive odor, be messy and attract male dogs. Spaying will completely prevent all of this.
Drawbacks of dog spaying:
These are very few and would include really only the risks of surgery and the anesthetic required for the procedure, and the inability to have pups from the dog. Breeding dogs, however, have many health risks for the dog and are usually best left to the professional dog breeder in any case, who is equipped and experienced in handling these.
Spaying should always be carried out by an experienced vet and although it is a significant surgical procedure, it is very safe in the hands of a good vet. Most dogs will go home the following morning and should be placed on relative rest for about 1 week.
When to have your dog spayed :
The ideal time to have your dog spayed is from about 5 – 14 months. Opinion varies as to whether to let her have her first season before being spayed, as there are advantages and disadvantages for the dog. These and other issues related to spaying will be covered in more detail in a further article and any specific issues can be discussed in the forum.
In general, then the answer to this question for most dog owners is a definite yes. As it results in a healthier, happier pet who has a longer life expectancy. It is not only beneficial for the dog but also the owner, the dog population and society at large.