There are about 19.5 crore pet dogs in India. Research shows that their population may rise up to 31 crores by 2023. As for stray dogs, in 2018 research concluded that there may be around 35 million stray dogs. In a country where humans can’t find the right houses and sound public transportation because of over-population, the need to spay/neuter your dog is self-explanatory.
Why Should I Sterilise My Dog
Overpopulation is the first and foremost reason to spay/neuter dogs. However, there are many health benefits to de-sexing your dog. Here are to name a few:
- Spayed dogs are less likely to develop breast cancer as they grow older
- We can save our dogs from uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pyometra with a spay
- We can save our dogs from testicular cancer
- The chances of prostate cancer will reduce in male dogs
- Increases their lifespan – a study conducted in America showed that Mississipi had the lowest lifespan for dogs – 44% of their dogs are not spayed
Apart from the health benefits, there are many other behavioural benefits as well. Males are less likely to mark territory or hump other dogs, humans and objects once they have been neutered.
Male dogs have very strong urges during mating season and may do everything they can to leave the house and mate. Dogs that are potty trained may suddenly start to mark territory within the house.
On the other hand, female dogs cannot be left unsupervised with other dogs during their heat cycle. Since we have many street dogs, it is sometimes not safe to walk them on a leash. You may have control over your dog, but you have no control over the other stray dog. This is why we highly recommend spaying female dogs in India.
Secondly, though female dogs are very clean, heats can be very messy. They often stain the sofas, beds, clothes etc when they’re in season. Cleanliness is an absolute must and it’s hard to maintain them if you are out for work for long hours every day.
When Should I De-Sex My Dog
The best time to de-sex your dog is right before they reach their puberty. Many dogs in shelters are sterilised much earlier because they cannot afford to have the vet come repeatedly for each dog.
If your dog is pregnant or lactating, you can sterilise them only after the babies are completely weaned off the mom.
Sterilising female dogs before their first heat greatly reduces their chances of breast cancer. If you sterilise them after their first heat, the chances of breast cancer increases and if you spay your dog after 2 years of age, the chances of breast cancer become the same as a dog who is still intact.
As for males, they should also be neutered before their puberty, which is at 7-8 months. This prevents many unwanted problems like humping and marking. Once your male dog is sexually active and they have developed a habit of humping, neutering may not solve the problem entirely. In such cases, you have to be ready to supervise and train your dog.
Spay And Neuter – Recovery
The neuter is less invasive than a spay. In most cases, your vet will ask you to keep your dog indoors for 2 weeks, or till the wound heals completely. Do not let them jump on beds or sofas.
They may have some post-operative pain, but doctors usually give medicine to handle pain. They may also give medicine to keep your dogs calm and sleepy. Don’t skip out on these medicines because it helps them keep calm during the later stages of their recovery when they are starting to feel better and are eager to run around (even if they aren’t allowed).
Post-operative care is very important because if dogs run or jump during this time they are liable to hernias which will require another corrective surgery.
Will My Dog Become Fat Post Surgery?
If you spay/neuter them before their puberty they are not likely to become fat. The reason for weight gain has very little to do with the surgery itself and more to do with a poor diet and exercise plan. Dogs must get enough playtime and high-quality grain-free dog food throughout life and if we maintain the basics, they are very unlikely to get fat.
Should I Spay/Neuter My Dog? – The Debate
While most veterinarians will tell you to sterilise your dog, a few are starting to advocate to keep them intact. Well known veterinarian Dr Karen Becker, feels very strongly about this issue. She argues that while an early spay and neuter will help dogs fight many diseases it will not protect them from a list of hormonal diseases like the Cushing’s Disease that they may develop later on in life.
There is a whole new debate where there are two groups – one that ardently believe dogs should be desexed at an early age while others believe they must stay intact unless there is a serious threat to their health.
At the end of the day, the choice to spay or neuter your dog is very personal. With the rising population of unwanted pets in India, we feel it is more important to be a responsible pet parent. If you decide to keep your dogs intact, please be sure to keep your dogs on a tight leash during mating season. Start training early if you have a powerful male/female dog. This will teach them to listen to you even when they are distracted by other male and female dogs during mating season.
With a female dog if it is very important to separate them from all other males when they are on their heat. Avoid dog parks and build a home enclosure if you have more than one dog at home.
Additionally, we feel there should be more options available to pet parents. For instance, currently, pet parents have two options – keeping their pets intact and fertile or completely removing the reproductive system.
Options like vasectomies and tubectomies are done on humans who don’t want more babies. It is a less invasive procedure and it makes the dog sterile without disrupting their hormonal balance. Options like these will broaden the spectrum for canine sterilisation as well.
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of desexing your pet. Have you kept your pet intact or are you planning to sterilise them? Do let us know in the comment section below.