When should you consider neutering?
From around the age of 6-8 months, puppies reach sexual maturity and are therefore capable of breeding and producing puppies themselves!
Some veterinary surgeries will advise that the best time to have your female dogs neutered is before their first season and others may say afterwards, but none will do this during the season, preferring to wait 6-8 weeks after a season to perform the procedure.
Most surgeries will recommend neutering a male dog at 6 months of age.
It is advisable to keep your dogs on a leash at this time, as female dogs may be able to get pregnant slightly before this age. We would also recommend not leaving your dog tied up outside shops during this time for the same reasons.
The benefit of having dogs neutered far outweighs the consequences and is a very responsible thing for a dog owner to do.
Neutering a dog - castration in the male (removal of the testes), and spaying the female (removal of the ovaries and uterus), not only prevents unwanted pregnancies occurring, but also curbs unwanted behavioral patterns associated with sexual activity.
It also reduces the risk of false pregnancies and certain diseases such as mammary tumors, radiometry (uterine infection) and testicular tumors.
Once sexual maturity is reached, the female will begin to come into season. Cycles of sexual activity typically occur twice yearly and will only stop once your dog has been spayed. Signs of a season may include penitence, lethargy, frequent urination and a swollen vulva.
How can I tell if my dog is pregnant?
If you do not get your dog spayed, they may become pregnant. You will not be able to tell if your dog is pregnant until 5-6 weeks after breeding. The pregnancy will last 63 days. Signs may include enlarged nipples and a swollen belly from around 4-5 weeks.
We would recommend taking your dog to the vets for a check-up to confirm pregnancy. Once there, the vet will be able to advise on the best course of action.
What changes should I expect after neutering?
In the male, you may find that your dog will not stray as much (to find uncluttered females), may become calmer and may cease any aggressive behavior or sexual behavior such as mounting or marking their territory with urine, but it will not change their basic character.
Dogs usually recover from the neutering operation remarkably quickly. They may be a little drowsy for a few hours, but by the next day they are usually lively again.
It is important to remember that once a dog has been neutered, there is a stronger tendency for it to become obese. This is because it may become less physically active due to no longer feeling the urge to roam around looking for a mate.
You may therefore need to adjust the amount of food you provide should your dog start to put on too much weight.