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Spaying and neutering guide for dogs

Spaying and neutering guide for dogs

Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters and will save you the trouble of having to find homes for unexpected puppies.  

It can also have behavioural and health benefits for your dog and can help lower the risk of some serious illnesses.

Tom Harrison
Content writer
4
minute read
posted 7 OCTOBER 2019

What is neutering?

Neutering is a routine operation involving the removal of the reproductive organs. 

  • In males, it’s called castration - the removal of the testicles, the main source of the male hormone testosterone.  
  • In females, it’s called spaying - the removal of the ovaries and uterus.  

The surgical procedure is done under general anaesthetic by a vet and, in most cases, dogs can be taken home on the same day.

  • Spaying takes about an hour and your female dog will need around two weeks recovery time at home.  
  • Castrating takes about 30 minutes and your male dog will need around 10 days recovery at home.

Why should I get my dog neutered?

By neutering your dog, you’ll prevent unwanted puppies being born and the expense and trouble of trying to find new homes for the litter.  

It’s estimated that an un-spayed female dog and her offspring could produce 67,000 puppies over the course of six years. Some breeds can have as many as 12 puppies in just the one litter.

Spaying and neutering can also provide behavioural and health benefits.

Spaying benefits for female dogs:

  • No ‘phantom’ pregnancies, which are common after each season and can cause distress and behavioural problems.
  • Greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumours and breast cancer.
  • There’s no risk of pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the womb.
  • You don’t need to worry about your dog being in heat around every six months.  Female dogs in heat produce a bloody discharge that can last for three weeks or more and they often experience hormonal mood changes. During this time, your dog will need to be kept on a lead, away from other dogs.


Castration benefits for male dogs:

  • They’re less likely to stray and cause nuisance to females in season.
  • They’re less likely to get into fights or risk being attacked by other dogs. 
  • Un-castrated males may be more aggressive towards other dogs and show embarrassing and unwanted sexual behaviour towards humans.
  • Reduces the risk of prostate problems and testicular cancer.

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of neutering your dog and whether it’s right for your pet, then your vet should be able to answer any questions.

Are there disadvantages to neutering?

Although the benefits outweigh any disadvantages, you may find that neutering affects the texture, shine and growth of your dog’s coat.  

There’s also a higher chance of your dog becoming overweight in later life, so it’s important to control your pet’s diet and ensure they get plenty of exercise.

When should I get my dog neutered?

  • Female dogs can be spayed from around six months old.
  • Depending on the breed, male dogs can be castrated at around six to seven months old. 

How much will it cost to neuter my dog?

Neutering costs can vary depending on the size, weight and breed of dog. Costs can range from £60 to £300. The best way to get an accurate price is to speak to your vet. You might want to phone a number of vets to compare prices.

To encourage owners to neuter their dogs and avoid the risk of stray and abandoned dogs, The Dogs Trust offers a low-cost £50 neutering scheme across the UK. The subsidised scheme is available to owners on means-tested benefits with specific breeds of dog. To find out if you qualify for the scheme, you can call the Dogs Trust neutering hotline on 0333 202 1148.

Although insurance doesn’t usually cover the cost of routine neutering, it can offer protection should your dog become ill or is injured. Compare pet insurance quotes to find the right policy for you.

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