Sterilizing your dog

You are a puppy owner and you are wondering if it is worthwhile to have your puppy sterilized. You have many questions about the consequences of such an act. Rest assured, spaying or neutering ensures your dog’s long-term health and spares him from many diseases.

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Spaying and neutering must be done surgically and is still mandatory for 1st category dogs. Veterinarians recommend that male dogs be neutered and that all dogs be spayed or neutered before puberty, which is between 6 and 10 months of age depending on the breed.

Health benefits for your dog
For females, removal of the ovaries reduces the risk of uterine, mammary or ovarian cancer. In case of unscheduled mating, the bitch may not be ready to give birth to puppies that may be too big for her body. Spaying or neutering allows to limit the risks due to abortions.

For males, neutering the dog prevents testicular tumors and reduces prostate problems. There are still many prostate diseases such as benign hyperplasia at the top of the list. Another advantage: castration limits the risk of abscesses and the appearance of tumors of the anal glands or perineal hernias for example.

Whether your dog is a male or a female, spaying and neutering is a sure way to avoid unwanted litters. The removal of the testicles in males also reduces your dog’s aggressive impulses since he will no longer develop testosterone.

The surgery
Before the operation, your veterinarian will ask you not to give your companion food or water for 12 hours before the operation.

During the operation, your companion will be put to sleep with an anesthesia adapted to his physical characteristics (weight, age, breed and medical history). The risk of complications is therefore very low. Equipment will also monitor his heart rate to ensure that your companion is doing well throughout the operation.

For females

The most common sterilization for females consists of removing the ovaries (with or without the uterus). Other options include tubal ligation. However, this procedure does not eliminate the bitch’s heat, but she will not be able to have puppies. This practice does not prevent the ovaries from continuing to secrete hormones. This can become dangerous for her health and lead to disease.

Castration consists of a single incision at the back of the penis through which the two testicles will be extracted. This opening naturally requires several stitches on several levels. There is also vasectomy which consists of excising the vas deferens, that is to say the duct that conducts sperm from the testicles to the prostate.

After the operation, your dog will go home the same day or in the worst case, the next day.

As for the post-operative care, your dog will have to stay at home for several days in order to remain calm. Avoid that he bites the stitches and that he jumps at the risk of preventing the healing and causing infections.

For the rest, your veterinarian will give you personalized advice according to the observations made on your dog and will tell you when to remove the stitches (generally 10 to 15 days after the operation).

Chemical castration
A temporary solution without surgery is possible. This is chemical castration. By means of drugs and different molecules, you can temporarily sterilize your dog.

For example, you can inject him with progestagens. This hormone prevents the secretion of testosterone for a variable effectiveness between 1 and 6 months depending on the case. Nevertheless, there are still many side effects, such as polyphagia (excessive hunger), diabetes or the risk of mammary tumors in males.

Finally, there is the contraceptive implant. This implant is placed under your dog’s skin and releases hormones progressively and continuously into the dog’s body. The dog will become temporarily sterile after 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the dog, for a period of 6 to 12 months in general. In some cases, the contraceptive implant can be effective up to 18 months.

It is a very interesting and efficient solution if you want to plan a litter of puppies. In addition, it has very few side effects except for a possible exaggerated excitement during the first 2 to 3 weeks.

The side effects of sterilization
Sterilization of your dog can have both positive and negative side effects. Here is a brief overview:

Your dog may gain weight: sterilization reduces your dog’s energy needs. His new metabolism makes him less active, even lazy. Nevertheless, there will be no problems if you pay attention to his diet and offer him regular physical activity.

A sterilized dog lives longer: the statistics speak for themselves. Your dog will become calmer and sterilization protects him from diseases dependent on sex hormones.

Your dog’s character will change: he will be less aggressive towards other animals. The marking of the territory by urine should considerably decrease after sterilization.

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