Spaying your dog is the responsible decision for a pet owner to make. The term spay refers to a surgical procedure carried out by a veterinarian to remove your dog's ovaries, thus preventing the heat cycle and unwanted pregnancy.
The first step in having your dog spayed is waiting for the appropriate age. Some believe that a dog should go through at least one heat cycle before spaying is carried out. However, most veterinarians claim that six months of age is a perfect time to have your female dog spayed. There are actually many health benefits to having your dog spayed before the first heat cycle. Dogs spayed before the first heat cycle have less chance of developing breast cancer than other female dogs. If you own a puppy, contact your veterinarian for an appointment when your dog reaches six months of age. If you have a dog that is older than six months, any time is appropriate. Most veterinarians recommend that your dog not be in heat during the operation. The surgery is still possible at this time, but an additional charge is typically applied.
Once you have an appointment to spay your dog, it is time to inquire about pre-surgery care. Your veterinarian will likely ask you to withhold food and water from your pet the night before and the morning of the dog's surgery. If your dog runs freely outside, bring it inside or put it in a pen for the night. You will take your dog to the veterinarian's office early the day of the surgery. Because spaying your dog is a medical procedure including anesthesia, you will be asked to sign papers explaining the risks involved.
After your dog has been spayed, you will pick her up either the night of the surgery or the next day, depending on the veterinarian's policies. When you bring your dog home, she will be groggy from the operation. Her belly will be shaved, and she will have a small incision with stitches.
Caring for your dog after spaying is very important. For about a week after surgery, she will need rest and quiet. Keep your dog indoors or in a pen. Her activity should be minimal. Watch the incision for excessive swelling or redness. Light swelling and redness is typically normal. However, contact your vet if you have any doubts about the healing process.
Ten days to two weeks after spaying your dog, the vet will ask that the pet return for a check up. The doctor will examine the incision and remove the stitches if they are not the type which dissolve.