That’s the total number of stray or at large dogs in the United States in 2020, according to the national database Shelter Animals Count. Shelters across the country are full of dogs, and neuter and spay surgeries help keep the stray population under control and reduce the number of pets in shelters.
Many dog parents are likely to have questions about these procedures, from what they are to taking care of them after a system and how CBD for pets can help. Find answers to these and more common questions here.
Difference Between Spaying and Neutering
Spaying refers to removing the reproductive organs of a female dog, while neutering is the procedure done for males.
The vet removes a female dog’s ovaries and uterus, eliminating her heat cycle and rendering her unable to reproduce. The spay process is called an ovariohysterectomy (OVH) or ovariectomy, depending on whether all reproductive organs are removed or only the ovaries, respectively.
Dog neutering removes the testicles and associated structures. The process is also known as castration. It renders the male dog incapable of reproducing, and behaviors such as humping may cease, depending on the dog’s age. Alternative procedures such as vasectomies for male dogs are available but not commonly performed.
The Benefits of Spaying or Neutering
Out of over 6 million animals entering the rescue or shelter system annually, only 3.2 million find their way into a home. Spaying and neutering help reduce unwanted litters, which decreases the number of stray animals or unwanted pets entering rescues and shelters.
There are also behavioral and medical benefits to spaying and neutering dogs, including:
- Females live longer, healthier lives because of the prevention of uterine infections and breast tumors.
- Female pets will not go into heat, so they yowl and urinate less frequently.
- Male dogs are less susceptible to testicular cancer and other prostate problems.
- Males are less likely to roam away from home in search of a mate.
- A neutered male is less likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine around your home and prevents aggression problems.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog
The traditional neutering age is six to nine months. Vets also neuter adult dogs, but there’s an increased risk of post-operation complications for older pets, overweight dogs, and those with health issues. Discuss with your vet to determine the best time to spay or neuter your dog.
Preparing Your Pet
The days before your dog’s surgery are critical. Make sure you are prepared to help them recover fast and safely. Preparation includes:
- Have safe dog areas– You might have to install gates that limit pet movement to specific areas of the home.
- No water or food– Withhold them the night before the surgery to prevent aspiration and vomiting.
- Staying calm– Your dog feeds off your emotions; if you are nervous, they can sense it. Do your best to be reassuring and relaxed as you bring the dog in for surgery. It will help your pet feel comfortable.
What to Do When You Pick Them Up
Neutering and spaying are routine surgical procedures for dogs and cats. However, the idea of your pet anesthetized can be very stressful. Some vets prefer keeping dogs overnight post-surgery, which can only add to the stress.
Dog neutering is a relatively mild procedure, and your dog may be released the same day. Spaying is more complex, so monitoring the animal afterward is critical for several reasons. A vet might recommend the same for neutering as well.
Reasons for vets keeping dogs overnight include:
- Ensuring the pet comes out of anesthesia well.
- Observation for post-operation complications.
- Keeping the animal still.
- Ensuring the dog does not traumatize the incision site or remove stitches by biting or licking the area.
- Take their temperature for infection detection and administer pain medication in the morning.
Keep your pet safe on the ride home. Post-surgery animals are more susceptible to issues associated with cold and warm weather. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds such as Pugs, Chihuahuas, Bull Mastiffs, and English Toy Spaniels have smaller noses than usual. This makes them prone to problems associated with heat. Keep your dog safely confined and comfortably cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather on the way home.
How to Care for Them
Before your dog is neutered or spayed, they receive a combination of long-lasting analgesics that help prevent pain post-surgery. They then receive a general anesthetic that induces sleep. Your dog requires and deserves proper care and observation over the next few days to facilitate the recovery process.
1 Day Post-Surgery
If you must handle your pet, be careful. The medications they received can make them uncomfortable, irritable, groggy, and even aggressive. Keep other animals, children, and strangers away from your pet the first day home. Confine your pet in a small space. This means NO free-roaming or access to human beds, furniture, and stairs.
You can offer small amounts of food and water and a small portion of pet CBD. Usually, a quarter of their usual daily portion at least two hours apart if they can keep the first portion down. Pets are generally nauseous or not hungry for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Do not change your dog’s regular diet unless your vet recommends it.
2 Day Post-Surgery
When your dog wakes up in the morning, they should act more like themselves. Feed and walk as usual, but limit activities as much as possible. Help your dog up and downstairs and keep them from making flying leaps off the couch or bed. Keep other animals separate from the patient to prevent play and roughhousing. No baths for the next 14 days since water can disrupt the sutures. Consult with a vet on whether you can continue to use CBD for post-neuter care or spay care.
1 Week Post-Surgery
Check the surgery area every few times a day to ensure it is healing correctly. Take the dog back to the vet for a checkup in case of discharge, the opening of the sutures, or redness. Licking of the area is expected, but if the dog cannot leave the site alone, you may have to get an Elizabethan collar (cone) for larger dogs or a soft collar for smaller pups.
Some post-surgery side effects appear worse than they are. For example, razor burns for clearing a bit of hair will resolve themselves. Suture material can also cause a reaction that causes swelling around the incision site as healing occurs. Knowing your dog’s normal behavior before they go in for the procedure can help identify issues that can occur during the healing process.
Follow Up Care
How do you get your pet companion feeling 100% again after surgery? Besides following the instructions above and your vet’s post-surgery instructions, it’s critical to keep the dog calm to ensure a full recovery. Keeping an active dog relaxed might seem like a pipe dream, but tips on how to calm a hyperactive dog can help.
Stock Up on Interactive Toys
Your healing dog needs quiet, but this does not mean confinement in the crate. Outdoor games are off-limits during the initial stages of recovery. Introduce mental puzzle games and interactive dog toys into the dog’s routine. Your dog wants to get back to its active lifestyle. You can help your pooch channel the built-up energy and natural foraging instincts by letting them work for snacks such as one of these Kong recipes.
Play Nose Games
Your dog cannot work out its paws, but it can work out the nose! Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, but they require practice to use scent instead of visual cues to find objects. Nose games keep your pet entertained and less stressed during recovery. Test your pup’s sense of smell by playing hide-and-seek with their favorite flavor of Edibites. However, keep activity at a low intensity. Hide the chews in your fists or place them under a cup and shuffle several to challenge your patient nose to the right one. After the dog feels better, you can hide the chews around the house to encourage them to move again.
Benefits of Downtime
It is important to reduce environmental stressors, stimuli, and activity during post neuter or spay recovery. Take this time to show your furry friend lots of affection by cuddling. Plus, limit houseguest visits and social interactions to avoid overstimulating your dog with the presence of new people.
Ensure Speedy Healing
Most dogs recover quickly after they are neutered or spayed. Failure to follow post-op instructions can lead to discomfort for your pet. CBD for post neuter care can be beneficial for promoting calmness and relaxation. Hold regular discussions with your veterinarian to address injuries or illnesses that are not from the surgery. Your dog needs your unconditional and utmost support at this point. These tips will empower you to take care of your pet after neutering or spaying and ensure a speedy recovery.