Just for Kids: Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

When your puppy is about 6 months old or maybe even younger, it's time to have an operation so that he or she won't have puppies. If your dog is male, we call it a neuter operation. If your dog is female, we call it a spay. Your new pet may already be spayed or neutered when you bring him or her home because many cats have the surgery very young – even as early as eight weeks.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and by allowing your dog to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Dogs can have puppies twice a year. That can add up to a lot of puppies. When people let their dogs have puppies when there is no one to take care of them, the puppies become strays or end up in dog shelters. If nobody adopts them, they are eventually euthanized. Finding homes for your new family additions is not as easy as you may think.

Spaying and neutering do more than prevent your dog from having puppies. It also keeps your pet healthy.


Your veterinarian calls spay surgery an ovariohysterectomy, which means removal of the ovaries and the uterus from a female dog. These are the reasons to spay your dog:

  • It prevents your dog from going into heat.
  • It prevents your dog from getting pregnant.
  • It makes your dog more gentle and affectionate.
  • It prevents your dog from getting breast cancer later in life.
  • It prevents your dog from getting an infection in the uterus later in life.


    Your veterinarian calls neuter surgery an orchiectomy, which means removal of the testicles from a male dog. These are the reasons to neuter your dog:

  • It prevents your dog from getting a female dog pregnant.
  • It makes your dog more gentle and affectionate.
  • It will keep your dog from roaming and getting into fights with other animals.
  • It prevents your dog from getting cancer of the testicles or prostate gland later in life.

    The Surgery

    Your veterinarian can do the operation in a veterinary hospital. This takes about 30 minutes and is very safe for your dog. There are some simple things you will have to do to get your dog ready:

  • Take away all food and water when you go to bed the evening before surgery.
  • Do not give your dog anything to eat or drink during the morning of the surgery.
  • Take your dog to the hospital at the time specified by your veterinarian. This is usually 7:30 a.m.
  • Give your dog lots of hugs and praise to make him or her feel reassured.
  • Pick your dog up later in the day when your veterinarian says it's all right.
  • Follow instructions when you get home concerning care of your dog.

    Home Care

    When you bring your pet will feel fine, but he may be tired and want to sleep. Keep him or her quiet and indoors until your veterinarian says it's okay. This is usually about two weeks. Don't play rough. Just take quiet walks on a leash at first.

    If your dog has stitches, don't let him or her lick or chew at them. If this happens, you may have to use a special collar called an E-collar so your dog can't reach. Have your parents check the stitches every day to make sure they are healing properly. Your doctor will remove them in 10 to 14 days.

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