The spaying of a female dog is a surgical procedure that involves the complete removal of the uterus and both ovaries. The surgery eliminates the possibility of pregnancy, all “heat” cycles, life threatening uterine infections and the desire to mate. Studies have demonstrated that dogs who are spayed before their first heat cycle, which can happen at 6 months of age, are much less likely to develop mammary (breast) cancer. There are several myths surrounding the spay surgery and the behaviour of dogs after the surgery.
The following myths are completely false:
- Dogs should not be spayed until they go through their first heat, or have a litter of puppies.
- A dog’s personality will change after the spay.
- After the spay, a dog will become fat and lazy.
Neutering a dog means to surgically remove the testicles. This will reduce the risks of developing testicular and prostate cancer, infections and some unwanted behavioural problems. It will also decrease his desire to roam in search of mates. It is recommended to have this surgery done at 6 months of age.
There are several factors that affect weight gain at the time of the spay or neuter.
- Growth requirements for the dog are declining because it is approaching its mature weight.
- Owners often continue to feed puppy food at the volume designed for growth.
- Spaying and neutering reduces metabolism, which is the rate the animal burns calories.
Therefore, the type of food and the amount of food being fed needs to be adjusted around the time of spaying or neutering. Also, an exercise regime should be established to ensure proper muscle tone and body weight is maintained throughout life.