What is the main difference between spaying and neutering a dog?
Spaying and neutering are similar in that we remove the gonads from the dog with both of them. For a male dog, like Koa here, we remove the testicles. That's commonly known as the neuter. For a female dog, we remove the ovaries. That's commonly known as a spay.
Dr. Adam Boe, DVM
Smithfield Animal Hospital
How does spaying or neutering affect the overall health and wellness of my dog?
There are a lot of benefits to spaying and neutering at an appropriate age. Not least of which is making sure we're not putting too many puppies and kittens into shelters. We also see some good behavioral benefits from doing it at an appropriate age, like decreasing many medical conditions.
What are some possible medical conditions that can be helped or prevented by spaying?
For a female dog, if we spay at the right time, we see a dramatic decrease in the incidence of mammary tumors. We see a significant decrease in testicular cancer for a male dog, of course. We also see prostate disease decrease.
Will my dog's personality change after a spay or neuter?
Not necessarily. It's mostly going to depend on the timing, but since we're moving the main source of testosterone, we often see aggression decrease after that procedure.
You mentioned some behavior changes. Will my dog stop running away from home after neutering?
They can. As we discussed, spaying and neutering decrease a lot of libido-driven behavior. So if they're running away, or if they're vocalizing a lot at night, for instance, in search of a mate, those behaviors can lessen. If we do the procedure too late, sometimes those behaviors can become learned. So even after the initial reason is removed, they continue to do that because it's what they do. We can still address those issues. It just usually requires behavioral training.
Will my dog gain weight after a spay or neuter?
Not necessarily. After we spay or neuter, we see metabolism decrease. So if you are not changing how much they're eating and their exercise levels, then yes, they can gain weight. But after that procedure, I always discussed an appropriate nutritional plan with my clients. They can do really well after that surgery as long as we're monitoring them.
What would my veterinarian need to know about my dog before spaying or neutering?
The time that we do the spay and neuter is very patient-specific. I like to know the dog's medical history, like if they've ever had any reactions to medicine, how big they're likely to get, what their breed is, and what their parents' breeds are. That will determine the ideal time to do the procedure.
How long is the recovery after a dog spay or neuter?
Great question. I always tell my clients they need seven to 10 days in a warm, clean, calm environment. But with the advances in the procedure and the equipment used, I often see dogs return to their normal selves within a day.
Will my dog need pain medication at home after the procedure?
We are very careful to make sure they have adequate pain control before, during, and after the surgery. Most of the time, dogs feel fine after the procedure, but I always want to ensure that they are completely comfortable during the recovery period. So I always send home pain medication.
How might I go about scheduling a spay or neuter for my dog?
The best thing to do is give us a call. You can bring them down, and we can take a look at your dog to get a basic history. We can decide if they're a good candidate for that surgery and when the ideal time to do that is.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (570) 421-7738, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.