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?