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Healthy Dogs

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Spaying or Neutering Your Dog FAQ

WebMD veterinary experts answer commonly asked questions about spaying or neutering your dog.


The only responsible thing to do, given the problem in this country, is to not allow your pets to reproduce.

Some people say they want their children to witness birth. OK, you can still do that. There are plenty of rescue groups out there trying to help animals that have been abandoned by irresponsible pet owners. Many have pregnant animals. Volunteer to foster a pregnant dog. You’ll be helping the group as well as the dog, and you’ll give your children a chance to see a litter being born and raised.


Q: Should I let my dog have a heat before I spay her?

A: Medically, it’s better to spay your dog before her first heat. It greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors. People who wait to spay their dogs until after their second heat greatly increase the risk of mammary tumors in their pets. Once they’ve had several heats, intact female dogs have a one out of four chance of developing mammary tumors.


Q: Is it OK to spay my dog when she’s a puppy?

A: We spay or neuter dogs at our clinic at 8 weeks as long as they weigh at least two pounds. Of course, it varies by breed. Some of the tiny breeds have to be done later. But larger breeds are usually ready by two months of age.

There are still some people who say pediatric spay/neuter is dangerous, but that’s not true. It has become much more widely accepted. Those ideas about needing to wait until after a dog is six months or a year old are really antiquated and the evidence is to the contrary. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association supports early spay/neuter.

The puppies recover a lot faster than adults. It’s an easier surgery for them, and it reduces the rate of disease later on. It’s just a much easier procedure on younger animals.


Q: It can cost hundreds of dollars to get a dog spayed or neutered. I can’t afford that. What can I do?

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