Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

Spaying or Neutering Your Dogs, What Should You Know?

Spaying or neutering your dog is the procedure of surgically removing your dog’s reproductive organs. The procedures are performed to keep dogs from reproducing and it also helps provide several health and behavioral benefits.

When a female dog is spayed, the vet removes the ovaries from them and sometimes their uterus as well. Spaying prevents dogs from reproducing and also puts an end to her heat cycle.

When neutering a male dog the vet removes their testicles. Like spaying, neutering puts an end to the male dog’s ability to reproduce. 

What are the Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog?

The major advantage of spaying or neutering your dog is that it prevents unwanted litters. Every year animal shelters and rescue centers are filled with abandoned puppies and dogs. Spaying or neutering your dog prevents them from reproducing which reduces the chances of puppies ending up at animal shelters or rescue centers.

There are also other benefits to spaying and neutering:


Spaying and neutering help dogs live a healthier and longer life. Several life-threatening health issues can develop in unspayed females and unneutered male dogs. Mammary cancer and pyometra (life-threatening uterine infection) are common diseases that can occur in unspayed dogs. Spaying helps prevent female dogs from developing this disease. Neutering male dogs will prevent them from getting testicular cancer.

Behavioral Benefits

These procedures also help to reduce the aggressive behavior of dogs. Spayed female dogs will not go into their heat cycle. This means they will not make crying sounds or urinate at different places to get attention from male dogs. Likewise neutered male dogs tend to be less aggressive and are less likely to wander away from home. Male dogs can stray from home looking for a mate which can cause them to go missing. Neutered dogs are also less likely to mount other dogs, people, or pillows. 

How Safe is it to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

Spaying or neutering your dog is a common surgical procedure and is regarded as very safe. Like surgeries in humans, there are some risks associated with the procedures. 

While a healthy dog will generally not have any complications, there can be a few simple post-surgical complications in some dogs. 

These include infection of the incision, inflammation, swelling under the skin or bleeding. It’s important to keep your dog calm after having the surgery, otherwise they may lick the area where they had surgery which can cause the above complications. High energy dogs or young dogs can be difficult to keep calm. Long term, some spayed or neutered dogs could develop prostate cancer or orthopedic conditions post surgery, though this is rare.

Does Spaying or Neutering Your Dog Cause Pain?

Both the surgeries are carried out under general anesthesia. Anesthesia helps minimize pain, but just like human surgeries, your dog may have some pain for a few days after surgery.

Female dogs who are in their heat cycle should not be spayed. While the surgery can be performed on female dogs who are in their heat cycle, it will cause more bleeding and pain for your dog.

When is the Right Time to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

While dogs should only be spayed or neutered when they are 4 to 6 months old, several factors can influence the exact age to perform the procedure. The most important thing to consider is your dog’s breed. Large dog breeds tend to mature slower than smaller dog breeds, so it’s recommended that they be spayed or neutered a little later.

The number and gender of dogs you have should also be looked into. If you have both a male and female dog then it’s better to have them spayed or neutered earlier, especially if they are from the same litter. If you have a single puppy in your home, you can put off the procedure a little longer. 

Vets generally recommend spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle, which usaully occurs between 5 and 10 months of age. For males they recommend having them neutered between 6 to 12 months. You can ask your vet when the right time is to have your dog spayed or neutered.

How Long does it take to Spay or Neuter My Dog?

The surgeries are quick. Neutering is comparatively faster than spaying. Depending upon the size and age of your dog, it can take between 5 to 20 minutes to neuter a male dog. A female dog spaying can take between 20 to 90 minutes. If the female dog is in her heat cycle it could take a little longer. 

After the surgery it may take a little time for your dog to wake up. A reversible anesthetic shot is given to dogs to wake them. It can take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes for your dog to fully wake up. The Longer the surgery, the longer it will take for them to fully wake up. 

Your dogs will usually be able to walk at home after the surgery but sometimes the vet may decide to keep them at the hospital for observation. Sometimes this is for a few hours, but in rare cases it can even be overnight. After the surgery it may take a few weeks for your dog to fully recover. It’s important that during this time they don’t do anything too strenuous. 

Post Op Comfort

You can follow some simple precautions to make your dog feel comfortable and recover after they have been spayed or neutered:

  • Avoid letting them play with other animals by keeping them inside your home.
  • Prevent them from jumping or running around because it can cause them to open the incision. This should be done for at least 2 weeks or as recommended by your vet.
  • Your dog should not be given a bath for 10 days after surgery or as advised by your vet.
  • Prevent your dog from licking their incision area. 
  • Check the surgical area every day to see if it is healing properly. If there are any signs of redness, inflammation, discharge or a bad smell, call your vet.
  • Your dog should be taken to a vet if they are not feeling good, eating less, vomiting, is lethargic or having diarrhea. 

Follow any other precautions or advice that your vet has given you. It will help your dog recover faster and be more comfortable.

How Much Does it Cost to Spay or Neuter My Dog?

The cost of spaying or neutering your dog is far less than what it takes to care for a litter. It can cost around $300 to spay a female dog or around $200 to neuter a male dog.

The cost of the procedures depends upon several factors like your location, size, weight and breed of your dog. There can also be several associated costs like laser therapy or post-op check.

Shelters and animal welfare societies tend to be less expensive than veterinary hospitals,and if you are looking for cheaper surgeries you can contact your nearest animal shelter or rescue center. You should ask your vet how much it will cost before the surgery. If you can get the price in writing that is best, as some less reputable clinics have been known to charge much more after the surgery.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying or Neutering Your Dog?

Most pet insurance plans do not cover spaying and neutering surgeries. While it is true that vets recommend getting these surgeries done as a preventive measure to keep your dogs healthy, pet insurance companies view them as elective surgeries.

There are a few pet insurance companies that do offer pet insurance policies that cover the cost of spaying or neutering your dog. You can get more information on this by asking the pet insurance company before signing up. Remember to ask your pet insurance company if any conditions need to be fulfilled for you to claim reimbursement when getting your dog spayed or neutered.