Taking your precious puppy back to the vet to be desexed can be a daunting procedure for
new owners. So, what does it all mean?
Desexing is an operation that is performed under sterile conditions by a registered vet using
a general anaesthetic. It’s a permanent procedure that can’t be reversed. In female dogs, it
is called spaying and is best done before the pup’s first heat cycle. The dog’s uterus and
ovaries are removed, eliminating the chances of her having puppies and preventing future
infections. In male dogs, an incision is made in the scrotum and both testes are removed,
eliminating the source of sperm and the main source of testosterone.
Once the dog has returned home, owners should keep an eye on the wound to make sure
there is no swelling or discharge and to make sure the dog doesn’t chew at the stiches,
which are removed by the vet up to about two weeks after surgery.
The main, and obvious, advantage of desexing is to eliminate any unwanted pregnancies.
But there are other advantages to having your pet desexed. After the operation you might
find your dog has calmed down a bit, but you’ll notice no real change in his or her character.
Some believe a dog will become fat after desexing, but as long as you adjust their food
needs to suit their activity level and age, that won’t happen.
In females, desexing makes the dog less aggressive and more relaxed and because she won’t
be coming on heat, there will be no mess to deal with and no male dogs sniffing around your
house because they have caught her scent. Spaying before her first cycle is also shown to
reduce the risk of mammary and ovarian infections and tumours.
Castrating a male dog also reduces aggression and reduces the chances of your dogs wanting
to roam the streets looking for females. It also reduces the risk of testicular cancer and other
problems such as prostate cancer and infections.
Once you have set a date for the operation, your vet can guide you through the preparation
stages such as how long to withhold food and talk you through post-operative care and pain
As with any operation there are potential complications. Your dog will be given and
anaesthetic, which can have risks. In the case of female dogs, spaying involves an incision to
the abdomen, which comes with a risk of possible haemorrhage. Your vet will chat to you
about this before the operation.
Desexing is a crucial component in reducing the country’s unwanted pregnancies in dogs,
and reduces the number of pets put down every year. It’s critical that dog owners, whether
they decide to desex their pets or not, play their part in helping reduce the numbers of
unexpected pups that are born every day.