So, You Got a Puppy! Spay? Neuter?

The Short Answer: Yes.


Bob Barker was right all along. Every time an unexpected litter of puppies comes into the world, even if those particular puppies go to a good home, that same number of puppies just lost a chance of finding a loving family. That’s half a dozen important little lives that … well, let’s not dwell on the negative.

Should you spay or neuter your puppy? Yes, I really think you should.

Of course, any responsible dog owner is going to want to know what they’re getting their dog into. Spaying and neutering isn’t about denying your dog sex. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about spaying and neutering a puppy.

What does “spay” mean?

Female puppies are “spayed,” which means their reproductive organs are removed. Anesthesia will be used, and there will be a recovery period at the veterinarian’s office that may last overnight.

What does “neuter” mean?

Male puppies are “neutered” aka castrated. The testicles are removed. The puppy will be anesthetized, and may need to stay overnight for recovery.


What are the risks of spaying / neutering my puppy?

The few risks that exist, are very low risks. If your dog is older, he or she will need careful monitoring during the surgery to prevent complications. Puppies, on the other hand, are made of rubber – we all know that! Seriously, though, a puppy has more risks running through the house, than during a spaying or neutering surgery.

Still, after the surgery, check the affected area each day to make sure infections aren’t developing. Poofy red skin, swelling, loss of appetite, or seepage / drainage – these are the things to watch out for, and if you see them after a spay/neuter surgery, call the vet.

How old or young should my puppy be before spaying / neutering?

That’s a question for your veterinarian, but generally the answer is between six and ten months.

How much does it cost to spay / neuter a puppy?

First off, a tip: Almost every city has a clinic that runs a discount day, at least once a month, to encourage dog owners to have spay / neuter surgery done. With that said, a full cost spay / neuter surgery costs around $100, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Do puppies lose or gain weight after being spayed or neutered?


If your puppy is spayed / neutered before reaching sexual maturity, then no. If the surgery is done after that, then maybe. Sexual maturity brings about hormonal changes, and spay/neuter surgery will reverse or stop those changes. As a result, some mature dogs will comfort themselves with food after they’re spayed/neutered, but not to the extent that they become obese. Make sure the food you give your dog is high quality food, and keep playing with your dog, and this phase will pass.

How will spaying / neutering my puppy change his/her personality?

There will be no bad changes to your dog’s personality after spaying / neutering surgery. Sexuality and aggression are tightly linked; sexuality and territorial markings go hand-in-hand; and, same story goes for sexuality and escaping the yard. All these problem behaviors will reduce or quickly end after the surgery.

Nevermind the dog population – how does spay / neuter surgery benefit me and my dog?

There are a few huge benefits:

  • Look at the previous question about changes in personality, for three behavioral changes you’ll probably appreciate.
  • Unwanted pregnancies can’t happen after the spay/neuter surgery is complete.
  • Two words: Reproductive cancer. Without testicles and other reproductive organs, your dog can’t get any form of reproductive cancer, which is a fairly common problem for older dogs after they’ve been sexually active.
  • Bitches who are spayed before sexual maturity are also at much lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Finally, bitches have a period twice a year, complete with bleeding. Aside from ruining your furniture and carpet, the second this happens you can expect every male dog in the neighborhood to be outside driving your un-spayed dog – and you – crazy. Just, crazy in different ways.

Is it wrong to deny my puppy the right to sex?

Dogs can’t deal with the sex drive at all. Whenever there’s a bitch in heat anywhere near your neighborhood, your male dog will suffer a very serious form of insanity, where he won’t eat or sleep, and will be simply unable to be his normal, obedient self. It truly is what you could call a mental illness, and it’s not pleasant. In short, you’re only denying your dog the right to experience a sudden onset of enslavement to his or her body. It’s different enough from human sexuality that you can stop worrying.

Learn how to train a dog, or read about other dog health care topics.

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