When to neuter a dog

When to neuter a dog

When to neuter a dog will depend on a number of factors. Read on to find out more about dog neutering.

What is neutering?

Neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies. You may have heard it referred to as ‘fixing’ or spaying (female dogs) or castrating (male dogs). The operation is carried out under anaesthetic by a veterinary surgeon.

Should I have my dog neutered?

It’s a good idea to have your dog neutered but choosing the right time to have your dog neutered is very important for your dog’s behavioural development.

Benefits of neutering

Female dogs

Female dogs have seasons – also referred to as being on heat. An unspayed dog will come into season about every six months. Just like their female owners, dogs can experience mood swings and will bleed when in season. Spaying will stop your dog from coming into season. It can also prevent female dogs from developing cancer, and a life-threatening condition of the womb called pyometra.

Male dogs

Unneutered male dogs can be more likely to wander off – in search of the ladies – and may be aggressive towards other male dogs. Neutering your dog will also help to prevent him from getting testicular cancer and prostate disease. It can also help with some unwanted behaviours such as marking and straying, if hormones have been identified as a reason for the behaviour.

Will neutering change my dog’s personality or behaviour?

Some people worry that neutering will change their dog’s personality, or hope that it will be a ‘fix’ for unwanted behaviours. Unless the behaviours are influenced by hormones, training can often help. It is important to choose the right time for your dog to be neutered to avoid any detrimental effects on their behaviour. Speak to your vet to discuss when to neuter your dog.

At what age can you get a puppy neutered? 

It’s best to ask your vet for advice as the age can vary between different breeds.

How much does it cost to get a dog neutered?

The cost to neuter a dog in the UK varies according to whether your dog is male or female, the size of your dog and where you live. On average, it costs between £100 and £300 to castrate a male dog and between £100 and £400 to spay a female dog. The difference in cost between a male and female dog is because it is a more complicated procedure for a female dog.

If you have subscribed to a pet health plan, the cost of neutering may be offered at a discounted rate. Find out more from your vet. If you are on a low income you may be able to get help with the cost of neutering your dog.

What happens during the operation?

The procedure for both male and female dogs is carried out under general anaesthetic. For male dogs it is a very quick and simple procedure which involves removing the dog’s testicles. With female dogs, the ovaries, and sometimes the womb, are removed. This requires a surgical procedure, unless performed as keyhole surgery.

How long does it take for a dog to recover from being neutered?

Your dog may be a bit sleepy after they have been neutered. This is because of the anaesthetic. The vet may advise you to feed your dog something bland, like chicken, as they can sometimes get an upset tummy from the anaesthetic.

After surgery your dog will need to be prevented from licking their stitches and will be given a cone collar to wear. Your vet will also prescribe any medicine, such as pain relief, that your dog needs. It should be fine to walk your dog after a few days but they should be kept on the lead so they get over-excited and damage their stitches. Your vet will monitor your dog’s recovery at a follow-up check.

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