Should you spay your dog? It used to be simple – if you are a breeder, no. If you will not be breeding, spay your dog early. A lot of research has been done over the years and now it is time for people to really look at the facts before they make a decision that has the potential to change the life of a dog! Spaying your dog does not make you a responsible pet owner just as not spaying doesn’t make you an irresponsible pet parent. Both decisions can be the right decision. Your dog’s age is also an important factor.
DISCLAIMER: Although I sometimes play a doctor or veterinarian on my blog, My GBGV Life, I am not a doctor or veterinarian. The information in this post has been gathered by me from professionals and my own research. Please consult with your own veterinarian before you make any decisions regarding your own pets.
When my mom was growing up everyone spayed their dogs as puppies and no one thought twice about doing it. When she moved to Germany in 1997, one of the first things she noticed was that many people did not spay their dogs. Mom was the odd person with a dog that was spayed. Sure, some dogs were spayed for health reasons but the majority are not and there is good reason as we have come to find out. This post is very basic, but we wanted to get people thinking and talking to their veterinarian before they make a big decision with their dog.
Should You Spay Your Dog?
The pros of spaying your dog
- Probably the biggest reason to spay your dog is convenience.
- If your dog doesn’t go into heat, you don’t need to worry about the mess around the house.
- You won’t need to worry about keeping your girl away from intact males during the few weeks she is in heat.
- If you spay your dog before the first heat, there is almost no chance of her developing breast cancer.
- Being in heat won’t interfere with your dog classes and sports.
- Obviously, a spayed dog can’t have puppies.
The cons of spaying your dog
- Your dog will have an increased chance of being overweight.
- An increased risk of several types of cancer.
- The possibility of incontinence.
- Early spaying often results in delayed maturity.
- Increased risk of joint problems and hip displasia.
- A growing dog needs her hormones at least up to a certain age.
When should you spay your dog?
Don’t spay your dog too young. The longer you wait, the more time the hormones have to help your dog’s body develop. From what we have heard and read, if you would like to spay your dog, you should wait at least one heat cycle so she can develop properly.
What is our own experience with spaying?
Mom has had five dogs now, all of us girls. The first dog, Trine, was a shelter dog who had been through at least one heat and had a litter of puppies. She never had any health issues until she was almost eleven when she died suddenly of pancreatic cancer. Trine was a large, one hundred pound dog, making her a good example of waiting to spay.
Katie was spayed before her first heat which was the thing to do at the time. Unfortunately, she suffered from joint pain most of her life and her arthritis began around the age of five. This leads us to believe it could be genetic, or also from being spayed too young.
I was spayed at four years old after going through three heat cycles. Now I am eleven and it great shape with no sign of joint disease or arthritis. Being in heat was not fun as I was very nasty those weeks, and after the first cycle I refused to wear panties and ate them off myself constantly. We think my waiting to be spayed was a good decision despite my being hard to live with when I was in heat.
Bailie was spayed at about six months old, something Mom now wishes she had waited to have done. Mom knew she would not be breeding her, and with dog sports it was just easier. So far at four years old, she shows no signs of joint issues, but she is on medication for some incontinence issues, her legs are super long, and it is quite obvious, she is very immature for four years old. We say she is an example for waiting to spay being a better option.
Lastly, we have little Madison who is in the midst of her first heat right now. She is why we decided to write this post as we need to decide about her future. Madison is good about wearing her fashionable panties, is more snuggly, and has matured since she went into heat. It is causing some issues with her school and sports, but we are working on those. I think she will be spayed, but we don’t know if it will be in a few months or another year. Spaying at a younger age makes the recovery from the major surgery much easier. I had a tough time after I was spayed.
Our overall opinion, is to let females go through a minimum of one heat cycle. Be a responsible pet parent and don’t let your girl in heat run around or be out in the yard alone as intact males will come! If it really helps prevent cancer, joint issues, obesity, and other things, the few weeks of a heat cycle are worth the inconvenience in our opinion. Being a responsible pet parent means making the right decision for you and your dog and a well informed decision. What do you think?