One of the most important aspects of owning and caring for a female dog is properly choosing if and when to spay them. This is an essential decision for your dog’s health, and if you choose to spay your dog, it must be done correctly.
It can be confusing to know how your dog’s heat cycles interact with her ability to be spayed. We’ve delved into all the details of heat and spaying in female dogs in the article below, to best equip you for this medical decision.
What is Spaying?
Spaying is the process of removing a female dog’s reproductive organs so that she no longer has a reproductive cycle and can no longer become pregnant. Spaying is a common practice in dog ownership, but it can be controversial.
There are a multitude of reasons why people choose to spay their dogs, that range from the health and happiness of the dog to the overpopulation and overproliferation of puppies that leads to pet homelessness. It is widely accepted as a good decision.
Some people choose not to spay their dog, as they consider it unnatural. While this is a valid point, if you choose to go this route you must ensure that you can properly care for your dog while she is in heat, avoid any unplanned pregnancies, and take care of puppies if your dog should become pregnant. It’s a lot of responsibility!
Symptoms of Heat
Most people choose to spay their dog before their first heat, and this is recommended by veterinarians. If you adopt an older dog, however, or do not spay your dog by the time she is around 6 months old, she will go into it.
Most dogs go into heat twice a year, every 6 months or so. You will notice the following symptoms:
- swelling of the vulva
- bloody vaginal discharge
- increased frequency in urination/marking
If you do not want your dog to become pregnant, it is essential to keep a close eye on her while she is in heat. She will give off pheromones that can attract male dogs from great distances, and may try to escape your property to mate. Even a few minutes outside unsupervised can be enough for her to become pregnant.
On average, each heat lasts about 1.5 to two weeks, though this can vary dog-to-dog.
When Can You Spay Your Dog After Heat?
While most people choose to spay their female dogs before their first heat, some believe that it allows the body to mature more naturally if done after your dog has gone through one heat.
If you choose to spay your dog after their first heat, or if you adopt an older unspayed dog, you should wait until after her heat to spay her. When a dog is in heat, she has increased levels of estrogen and blood in her body. This causes the uterus to swell and the location of the ovaries more difficult to find, leading to complications in the surgery.
A safe time frame to wait after heat until spaying is 2-3 months. At this point, the symptoms of heat should have completely gone, and it will be safe to spay your dog without worrying about complications.
Don’t wait too long, however. If you wait 5-6 months after her heat ends, you risk your dog entering another heat before you can spay her.
Spaying your female dog is a controversial but important decision for the health and happiness of your pup. And timing is everything- spaying your dog during her heat could lead to complications, but waiting too long could lead her into another heat before you get to spay her.
A good rule of thumb is to wait 2-3 months after your dog goes into heat to spay her. Your dog will be sure to thank you for making this choice for her health.
If you have any more questions about spaying your dog, feel free to let us know in the comments below. We’ll help you out with your inquiries as best we can!