Spaying Your Dog: What You Need to Know

To spay or not to spay? When it comes to healthcare for your fur-baby, there’s a lot of information out there. So let’s cut through the fog and talk about a sometimes difficult decision all pet-owners must face: whether to spay your pet. To spay is the technical term for neutering a female dog. We neuter boys, we spay girls. It’s nothing more complicated than that. The decision on whether to do it, however, can be confusing.

Why Spay Your Female Dog?

There are a lot of benefits to spaying your pets, both health-related and behavioral. On the medical side, spaying can:

  • Prevent uterine infections and breast tumors in female dogs.
  • Prevent pregnancy and birthing complications and infections.

About 50% of breast tumors in female dogs are cancerous and one in four intact female dogs will develop a toxic and potentially life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra. By spaying you are ensuring a longer, healthier life for your pet. In fact, spayed females won’t go into heat, at all. That means no yowling or spraying around the house. The benefits of spaying also extend to you as a dog owner. With fewer potential veterinary bills in the long-run and a guarantee of no puppies to care for, your wallet gets a break.

Why Not Spay Your Female Dog?

There are a lot of misconceptions about the potential side-effects of spaying and neutering, but the only really solid reasons not to spay your pet are:

  • If you have an intention to breed them.
  • If you are entering them in a show that requires intact dogs.

Many people think that spaying causes weight gain, but that is a myths disproved by research. Spaying your pet will not cause emotional problems, leave the dog with a sense of loss, or cause long-term pain. Spaying is, however, a major surgery requiring general anesthesia. Although routine and considered very safe, this may be a factor in your decision on whether and when to spay your pet.

When To Spay?

Most veterinarians will not operate on a dog younger than six months. Despite this, though, spay surgery can be safely performed much earlier, as young as eight weeks for healthy puppies. The ideal age range for the surgery is between two and nine months. The older a dog is when going under the knife, the higher the chances of complications. Dogs with weight problems or dogs with pre-existing medical problems are also at higher risk and you may wish to resolve these issues before booking the procedure. Pregnant dogs can be spayed and simply require your veterinarian to consider the health of your dog and the stage of pregnancy before proceeding.


You can expect your furry friend to be a little sore after their surgery, but not for long. Typical recovery time is a week and during that time you will need to:

  • Give your pet time and space away from other animals.
  • Stop them from running, jumping or any other vigorous activity.
  • Prevent them from licking their incision site, perhaps with a cone.
  • Avoid bathing or getting the incision site wet.
  • Check the incision for proper healing and take your pet back to the vet if you notice any blood, redness or discharge around the site of the surgery.

After about a week they will be back to their normal selves, none the worse for their surgery, and a lot healthier in the long-run. If you’re considering spaying your pet and want help with the cost, get started for pet insurance with optional Wellness 500 coverage here.