Here is a complete guide to spaying and neutering your dog. In PART 1, I share an account of Pax's surgery and why things didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. PART 2 is dedicated to questions about neutering male dogs, and PART 3 is about spaying female dogs. All of this information should help make your decision about whether to go ahead with the procedure, or leave your dog intact, a little bit easier.
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As you may be aware, I have recently returned from my trip to Thailand and Myanmar. The trip was challenging especially in Myanmar (formerly Burma), because the lives of people and dogs is far from easy. Please read my blog about my journey and why I think we may have a solution to dog homelessness.
Why it's important to talk about dog's sexuality Yes, you are reading correctly and most likely are as amused as I am, the world’s very first sex toy for dogs was designed and successfully launched in France, the country of love. I swear that originally I had no intention to write a blog on dogs and their sexuality. My very pure intention was to reply to a few questions of my readers about spay, neuter and false pregnancy and then I did some research online and discovered a dog toy of a very different kind.We all have seen dogs expressing themselves freely in many different ways. Sometimes to our amusement and at other times are embarrassed when Fido decides to hump the leg of our mother in law or a dignified official visitor. So today, I would like to start a very public discussion on dog sexuality, the holistic approach to false pregnancies, spay and neuter procedures and yes, the world’s first sex doll for dogs. False pregnancy When I was a child, we used to have a dachshund named Gerda. In fact, she was on top of the children’s hierarchy when it came to my father’s rating because she adored him and never talked back. Spaying a dog was not as common back then and I remember Gerda wearing special pants that my dad called “the heat pants.” They not only prevented the carpet from being spotted with blood, but also the heat pants prevented undesired pregnancies. They were kind of a canine version of the chastity belt. What usually happened within two months after the heat was to me puzzling and also entertaining. As the surge of hormones in Gerda’s body made its way to her brain, she started acting funny. This occurred in two months dead on. She would pretend that she had puppies. This hormonal change is caused by a hormone called progesterone, which prepares the mother for motherhood after ovulation. This hormone also contributes to milk production, prevents the bitch from going into another heat too early and creates a very natural desire to nurture. During the false pregnancy stage, Gerda used to steal our plush toys, socks, underwear and other goodies and gather them in a nest that she made. She also started to produce milk. I’m not sure what the likeness is between an undergarment and a real puppy, but she was obviously satisfied. If you wonder how you should deal with your dog’s false pregnancy, I recommend allowing your dog to go through the motions and allow her body to realize that this is a false alarm. There is no need to worry except if your dog’s abdomen is significantly distended. In this case, you may want to seek the help of a veterinarian to rule out other problems. I definitely wouldn’t recommend any medication or doggie Prozac because suppressing the body’s natural tendencies would cause more imbalance and ultimately poorer health. Holistic approach to neutering and spaying First of all, I am definitely in favor of birth control for our pets. Many animals get euthanized because they haven’t found a suitable home. Excessive breeding makes it harder to find homes for homeless animals. I agree that there are some good and responsible breeders whose role it is to preserve the heritage of certain breeds, and I very much respect their work. I especially value those who breed responsibly for healthy genes and disease prevention instead of for looks. There is another reason I am in favor of spaying and neutering. I believe that un-neutered pets suffer unnecessarily because the majority are never allowed to breed. Imagine if you had to live in celibacy against your natural desires and instincts. My heart goes out to many un-neutered male dogs who are never let off the leash. Their owners worry that they will either get into a fight or run away to find “a girlfriend.” The life of a neutered dog is much easier, and they frequently make much better pets. Male dogs They may be neutered around the age of seven to eight months, however, some sources claim that neutering after the closure of bone growth plates is more appropriate which usually happens between 12 to 18 months of age depending on the breed. I suggest basing your decision on your dog's behavior and if there are no issues then you can wait until 15 months. However, because of the scrotum and testicle size, the surgery is more traumatic when done later. The neuter procedure is relatively simple and I recommend you not cheap out by going to low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter clinics. General standards of medical care vary despite clinic inspections. Presurgical blood work, intravenous fluids, proper inhalation anesthesia monitoring and gentle and caring handling are from my point of view essential. However, don’t get your hopes up thinking that your dog will stop having sudden urges and the leg humping will stop. I have been laughing my head off since I discovered the world's first dog sex doll. However, when I thought about it from the dogs’ health point of view, I feel that it is a great idea because a healthy sex life leads to good health. Think about it. If your dog’s first “best friend” is placed in a private location in your home, this could avoid embarrassing situations when guests arrive. Fido may also become much happier and less prone to get into trouble of any kind. Female dogs The spay procedure has become the subject of controversy as to whether to remove both uterus and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy) or remove the ovaries only (ovariectomy). This is from my point of view a better choice. If you can’t find a vet who is willing to perform such a procedure, just look elsewhere. The main benefit is that if the uterus is left behind, it continues to produce certain hormones that are beneficial to the body, despite them not being able to cycle or get pregnant. Females with an intact uterus appear to be more comfortable after the procedure and have lower rates of female urinary incontinence. Some people may be concerned about pyometra, a life-threatening buildup of pus and fluid in the uterus, but I haven’t seen this in my practice. If you are planning to spay your female dog, I suggest doing so prior to the first heat. As there is a difference in the onset of the first heat in different breeds. I suggest that you do not wait past 8 months in small breeds and 10 months in medium to large breed dogs. However, no one can give you a 100% guarantee your dog will not come into heat earlier than that. The reason is that once a dog goes through the first heat, the surgical procedure is considered to be more traumatic and involved due to increased blood vessel supply in the uterus and ovaries. [[advertisement product="skinspray-ad" /]] Natural approach to post-surgical care Over the years, I’ve developed a simple post-surgical care protocol that has worked very well. Arnica 1M – a homeopathic remedy administered orally once every two hours (or less frequently) for the first 24 to 48 hours depending on patient’s comfort level. Calendula 200 C – One dose daily for five days. This remedy has a very positive effect on the incision healing. Some people worry about what happens if the incision healed too fast. In fact, the faster it heals, the better. Incision care I have left toxic chemical soaps, disinfectants and antibiotics behind a long time ago. Instead, I have been using a formula called Skin Spray. My grandfather was a herbalist and thanks to the knowledge that he passed on, I've been able to create Skin Spray – a herbal mixture that is great for wound healing. Calendula improves the speed of the healing. Hydrastis (Golden Seal) has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) reduces inflammation and swelling and Yucca contributes to healing and reduces inflammation.I’ve used Skin Spray in my practice for more than eight years now and to my surprise, I have not seen problem incisions for very long time. The benefit of using Skin Spray is not only faster healing and recovery, but it also eliminates the need for antibiotics in most cases of skin and wound care. Just recently I accidentally stepped on a very dirty dog comb, and it was hanging from my foot about three-quarters of an inch deep. The first thought was that this would get infected and then I decided to test Healing Solution. I rinsed the wound thoroughly, sprayed it with Healing Solution and compressed it with a piece of gauze and held in place by Vetrap bandage and waited 24 hours to take the bandage off. There was no sign of an infection, no abscess and no antibiotics, no emergency, no drama. Skin Spray can also be used for hotspots, wounds, punctures, ulcerations, sores, some fungal infections, insect bites, stings and anywhere topical healing is required. Similar to GreenMin, it has been tested on people and is good for you and your animal friend. PS: In recent years, I’ve seen animals being neutered and spayed much earlier than necessary. This practice is not ideal because I find early spay and neuter often affects physical and even mental development. It is also more traumatic to the young and growing body. The ideal minimum time for spaying is somewhere around six to seven months of age and around seven to nine months in males.