What to Expect After Neutering a Dog

Dog owners often have questions about dog neutering and what to expect after neutering a dog. First, let’s define the words Neuter and Spay. Neuter, from the Latin word neuter, means the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term neuter is often used incorrectly when it is used to refer to male animals when the term neuter correctly refers to both males and females. The correct term for males is “Castration” while the correct term used for females is “Spay” or “Spaying”.

For this purpose of this article, we will refer to neutering in regards to the male dog. For details about how to prepare for neutering and what happens the day of neutering – please read: What Happens When You Neuter a Dog? If you have a female dog, learn more about What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed.

For those of that are still planning your dog neuter, this article may help you understand the cost and why the cost can vary. Go to: How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Cost?

The risks associated with castration in a healthy young dog is very low. While there are no published statistics, it is estimated that the risk of death is probably less than 1 in 500. The major risks are those of general anesthesia, bleeding, post-operative infection, and wound breakdown over the incision. Overall the complication rate is very low, but serious complications can result in death or the need for additional surgery.

How Your Dog Will Start Recovery After Being Neutered

Most dogs are released the same day or occasionally the day following surgery. After being neutered, your dog may feel tired or groggy. He may want to sleep more for the first day or two. Occasionally, some dogs may feel nauseated and not eat his full meal or on rare occasions even vomit. Generally, young dogs begin to act normally within 24 to 48 hours.

Additional recommendations for care post neuter surgery include:

  • Post-operative medication should be given to relieve pain, which is judged in most cases to be mild to moderate.
  • Keep your dog quiet for approximately two weeks after he returns home from the hospital to allow him to heal. Some dogs may be prescribed sedative medications to help keep him calm.
  • Two commonly prescribed medications include Acepromazine and Trazodone.
  • Do not allow him to be excessively active and prevent him from “rough-housing.”
  • Skin sutures, if present, will be removed in 10 to 14 days. Most often the sutures are absorbable. Many veterinarians may want to check the incision one-week post-surgery to ensure he is healing normally.
  • If the castration was performed for reasons other than to prevent reproduction, further treatment and/or monitoring may be necessary.
  • You should inspect the incision line daily for signs of redness, discharge, swelling, or pain.
  • Do not allow your dog to lick or chew at the incision. If your pet licks the incision line, prevent your pet from licking by placing an e-collar.

Other Changes: What to Expect After Neutering a Dog

You may notice that your dog is calmer and more relaxed. Neutered dogs no longer have the intense drive to mate, roam, and seek out females. This change is not immediate as it may take weeks after castration for the hormones to gradually dissipate from their system. Other changes you may expect after neutering is that dogs will roam less, stay closer to home, do less urine marking, fight less, be less hyper, and become more affectionate and gentle. Some pets may gain weight after neutering and as they get older. Cutting back on food intake or increasing your pet’s activity will help reduce weight gain.

What You Should Plan On, How To Notice If Something Is Wrong

The best way to determine if something is wrong is to monitor your dog’s incision. If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge from the incision, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

If our dog is lethargic, won’t eat, has vomited more than once, diarrhea, or you have any other concerns, please call your veterinarian.

How Your Pet Insurance Can Help

Clients often ask for suggestions to help with dog neuter costs. There are low-cost neuter clinics available in most areas. Learn more about the pros and cons with this article: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics vs. Your Local Vet.

If you haven’t scheduled the procedure yet, there are pet insurance policies that will help pay for “wellness” costs which include the neuter procedure. If your dog already had the neuter procedure, pet insurance can help you pay for other wellness costs such as vaccinations, deworming, dental cleanings, and parasite prevention. In addition to wellness care coverage, the main benefit to pet insurance is how they can help pay for up to 90% of unexpected of your veterinary bills. Learn more from Pets Best here.

What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed?

Spaying is a procedure performed on female dogs (and cats) that remove their reproductive organs to prevent them from having puppies or kittens. In this article, we will review what happens when a dog gets spayed, how to prepare your dog for the surgery, and how to care for your dog after surgery. If you have a male dog, you may be interested in these articles — What Happens When You Neuter a Dog? and What to Expect After Neutering a Dog.

Spaying is most commonly recommended around 6 months of age, however, can be done as early as 6 to 8 weeks as well as later in life. The best time to spay a dog is when they are young and healthy. The worst time to spay a dog is when they are old, sick and have secondary complications from not being spayed such as a uterine infection called pyometra or breast cancer.

Why Dog Spaying is Important

Having your dog spayed can have many health, financial, and behavioral benefits. The benefits to spaying your dog include:

  • Prevents your dog from going into heat
  • Prevents your dog from getting pregnant
  • May make your dog more gentle and affectionate
  • May help prevent your dog from getting breast cancer later in life
  • Prevents your dog from getting an infection in the uterus later in life
  • Prevents cancer of the uterus or ovaries
  • The cost of spaying is far less expensive than the cost of raising a litter of puppies
  • Spaying your dog when she is young and healthy is less risky and much less expensive than spaying after your dog is ill or has a problem

What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed

The spaying procedure, medically known as an ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical procedure in which both ovaries and most of the uterus is removed from your dog’s body.
Below we will provide details of what happens before surgery, the day of surgery and some information about post-op spay care.

What to Expect the Day Before The Surgery

Before surgery, your vet will provide you with recommendations on what you should do the day before the spay surgery. For most dogs, they will recommend that you not feed your dog food after 6 pm or give water after midnight the night before surgery. This means no food and no treats. The times may vary slightly based on your veterinarian’s preference and also other factors such as concurrent medical problems or the size and breed of your dog. For example, some small and toy breed dogs may be offered food later in the evening to prevent a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

If your dog is taking medication, ask your vet if they want you to give the medication the morning of surgery. Make sure that you follow those instructions exactly. If your dog is a diabetic, please discuss the insulin dose you should give with the staff prior to the morning of surgery. Plan to bring any medication that your dog is taking with you in case they decide to give it to them or your dog needs to stay in the hospital.

Your vet will ask you to bring your dog to the hospital in the morning at a specific time. Many clinics will ask that you drop off your dog between 7 am and 9 am but this varies with the hospital’s surgery schedule.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

You will need to load up your dog and take her to the hospital. Make sure the collar fits properly and she cannot slip out of it. Bring them on a regular leash and not a retractable leash. Small dogs can be taken in a pet carrier.

Below is what happens at many veterinary hospitals but the exact protocol may vary depending on your veterinarian and the individual veterinary hospital.

  • When you arrive at the veterinary hospital, they will likely ask you to sign a surgery consent form that confirms the surgery to be performed as well as routine questions about if you want optional baseline bloodwork or an electrocardiogram (EKG), any needed vaccinations, CPR status, if you would you’re your dog microchipped (if not already done), and any other procedures such as removal of baby teeth, dewclaw removal, or repair of an abnormal hernia. Older dogs may also have mass removals after the spay procedure. This consent form may also include a cost estimate.
  • It is also important that you provide the veterinary hospital with an accurate phone number where you can be reached during the day.
  • Once your dog arrives, she will be taken back to the hospital’s treatment room where she will be evaluated by the technicians for any problems. Often at this time they will draw blood if approved by you to ensure your dog’s organs are healthy. If they identify any problems or concerns, the doctor will call you before proceeding.
  • The doctor will examine your dog and give injectable sedation. While your dog is relaxed, they will often shave the leg to place of an intravenous (IV) catheter and give additional drugs that allow total relaxation.
  • Your dog will then be moved into the surgery room. Most dogs are intubated (a tube placed into the trachea) to deliver safe inhalation anesthesia. Veterinary hospitals have anesthesia protocols that consist of very safe drugs and monitoring equipment that constantly monitors your dog’s heart rate, respirations, blood pressure, EKG, and temperature. The monitoring equipment is attached to your dog.
  • Your dog will then be positioned on her back and feet secured to the edges of the table. The technician will generally proceed to shave the hair on your dog’s belly. Disinfectant is then used to gently and thoroughly clean the skin.
  • Your veterinarian will put on a sterile hat, gloves, and a gown and organize their surgical instruments for surgery. An incision is made near the belly button and will vary in length depending on the size of your dog. The uterus and ovaries are identified and surgically removed. The body wall, tissues between the body wall and skin, and finally the skin is sutured closed. The actual surgery takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on your dog’s age, breed, and size.
  • Your dog will continue to be monitored as they wake up from their anesthesia. This can take anywhere from an hour to several hours. At first, they are groggy then gradually become more aware and alert as the drugs wear off.
  • When you pick your dog up from the vet, the veterinary team will provide you with detailed post-op instructions. Your pet may be sent home with pain medication and/or antibiotics. Those instructions will most likely include:
    • Keep your dog in her e-collar at all times until your vet gives you the clearance to remove it. This will most likely be approximately 10 to 14 days post-op.
    • Keep an eye on your dog’s stitches to monitor its recovery. If the area becomes inflamed, swollen, or has discharge, please call your veterinarian immediately. Some dogs have sutures and other dogs have sutures under the skin that are absorbable. This will vary with the veterinarian.
    • Keep your dog calm for two weeks after surgery. If there are other dogs in your house, you may need to keep your dogs separated post-op.
    • You may need to get creative with your feeding routine. With the e-collar on, some dogs won’t be able to eat out of their food dish. Most have found success by elevating their dog’s dish so that the e-collar doesn’t hit the floor while they’re eating.
    • You’ll need to keep up with your dog’s pain management routine carefully post-op. Attach a magnetic whiteboard to your fridge so that you can write down when you last gave your dog meds and when it will need them again.

What to Expect After Dog Spay Surgery

Some dogs will be sleepy immediately after surgery and some will be slightly nauseated. Begin feeding your dog slowly, small amounts at a time. Immediately after surgery, offer small amounts of water. If there is no vomiting, you can offer small amounts of food. Don’t offer a huge meal as some dogs may vomit. Give a little bit of food at a time and you can always offer later.
What is most critical is to keep your dog quiet and ensure she doesn’t lick at her incision. If there is any indication she will lick at her incision, it is critical that you use an E-Collar.
Check the incision twice daily looking for swelling, redness or discharge. Call your vet immediately if you notice any problems. Assuming everything goes well, see your vet for any recommended follow-up appointments and suture removal.

What Happens When You Neuter a Dog?

Dog owners commonly have questions about what happens when you neuter a dog. Below we will review exactly what happens before, during and after neuter surgery. First, let’s review the terminology used for dog neutering because the term “neuter” is commonly used incorrectly.

Neuter, from the Latin word neuter, means the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term neuter is often used improperly when it is used to refer to male animals when the term neuter correctly refers to both males and females. The correct term for males is “Castration” while the correct term used for females is “Spay” or “Spaying”.
For the purpose of this article, we will use the term neutering as a term to mean castration of a male dog.

Why Dog Neutering Is Important

Each year, there are millions of dogs turned over to animal shelters. Last year it was estimated that the number was almost 20 million. If you look at the fact that only one out of every 10 dogs taken in to shelters find homes, that means 18 million dogs and cats were destroyed. This brings a tear to my eye just typing these words.

Neutering can prevent this. Neutering is a simple procedure that can prevent unwanted animals.
The benefits of neutering include:

  • Removes the risk of pregnancy.
  • Dogs are often calmer, less roaming, fewer aggression issues.
  • Eliminates or minimizes health issues such as prostate problems, breast cancer in females, uterine cancer, and uterine infections.
  • Castration is especially important in dogs that testicles fail to descend into the scrotum. There is a high rate of cancer in these dogs and neutering can minimize the chance of future problems.

When Are Most Dogs Neutered?

Neutering is done most commonly at or around six months of age. However, many veterinarians perform this procedure as early as 8 to 10 weeks. Early neutering can be done safely and has a number of advantages, especially in cases of pet adoption.

There are some studies that suggest there are health benefits to neutering later in life. Learn more in this article: To Neuter or Not to Neuter.
In general, most veterinarians recommend neutering around 6 months of age.

What Happens When You Neuter a Dog

The male neutering procedure, medically known as a castration or orchiectomy, is a surgical procedure in which both testicles are removed from the dog’s body.

What to Expect the Day Before The Surgery

Your veterinarian will provide you with recommendations on what you can do the day before the surgery. For most dogs, they will recommend that you not feed your dog food after 6 pm or give water after midnight the night before surgery. This means no food and no treats. This may vary slightly as some toy breed dogs may be offered food later to prevent low blood sugar problems (hypoglycemia).

If your dog is taking medication, ask your vet if they want you to give the medication the morning of surgery. Make sure that you follow those instructions exactly. If your dog is a diabetic, please discuss the insulin dose you should give with the staff prior to the morning of the neuter. Plan to bring any medications your dog is taking with you in case they decide to give it or your dog needs to stay.

Your vet will ask you to bring your dog to the hospital in the morning at a specific time. Many clinics will ask that you drop off your dog between 7 am and 9 am but this varies with the hospital’s surgery schedule.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

You will need to load up your dog and take him to the hospital. Make sure the collar fits properly and your dog cannot slip out of it and plan to use a regular leash (preferred over retractable leads). Small dogs can be taken in a pet carrier as well.

Below is what happens at many veterinary hospitals but the exact procedure may vary depending on your veterinary and the individual vet hospital.

  • When you arrive at the veterinary hospital, they will likely ask you to sign a surgery consent form that confirms the exact surgery to be performed. It will also include routine questions about if you want baseline bloodwork, any needed vaccinations if you would like your dog microchipped (if not already done), and any other procedures such as removal of baby teeth, dewclaw removal, or repair of an abnormal hernia. Older dogs may also have mass removals after a neuter procedure. This consent form commonly includes a CPR form. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a routine question asked for any pet undergoing anesthesia. Don’t be alarmed. We are asked the same questions when we go to the ER or are admitted to the hospital. The veterinary team will do everything possible to provide the safest experience for your dog but are obligated to ask this question to honor your beliefs and wishes in regards to CPR. This consent form may also include a cost estimate.
  • It is important that the veterinary hospital have an accurate phone number where you can be reached during the day.
  • Once your dog is at the veterinary hospital, he will be taken back to the hospital’s treatment room where he will be evaluated by the technicians for any problems. Often at this time they will draw blood if approved by you to ensure his organs are healthy. If they identify any problems or concerns, the doctor will call you before proceeding.
  • The doctor will examine your dog and give injectable sedation. While he is relaxed, they will often shave the leg to place an intravenous (IV) catheter and give additional drugs that allow total relaxation.
  • Your dog will then be moved into the surgery room. Most dogs are intubated (a tube placed into the trachea) to deliver safe inhalation anesthesia. Veterinary hospitals have anesthesia protocols that consist of very safe drugs and monitoring equipment that constantly monitors your dog’s heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, EKG, and temperature. The monitoring equipment is attached to your dog.
  • Your dog will then be placed on his back and feet secured to the edges of the table. The technician will generally proceed to shave the hair on your dog’s belly around the testicles.
  • Disinfectant is then used to gently and thoroughly clean the skin. A sterile drape is placed over the surgical site.
  • Your veterinarian will put on sterile hat, gloves, and gown and organize their surgical instruments for surgery. An incision is made just cranial to the testicles on the midline using a scalpel blade or laser. The length will depend on the size of your dog. The testicles are identified and surgically removed.
  • The incision is then closed with one or two layers of self-dissolving sutures (stitches). The outer layer of skin is closed with sutures or surgical staples. The actual surgery will only take about 20 to 45 minutes. The procedure can take longer in older or large-breed dogs.
  • Your dog continues to be monitored as they wake up from their anesthesia. This can take anywhere from an hour to several hours. At first, they are groggy then gradually become more aware and alert as the drugs wear off.
  • When you pick your dog up from the vet, the veterinary team will provide you with detailed post-op instructions. He may be sent home with pain medication and/or antibiotics. Those instructions will most likely include:
  • Keep your dog in its e-collar at all times until your vet gives you the clearance to remove it. This will most likely be approximately 10 to 14 days post-op.
  • Keep an eye on your dog’s stitches to monitor recovery. If the area becomes inflamed, swollen, or has discharge, talk to your vet. Some dogs have sutures and other dogs have sutures under the skin that are absorbable. This will vary with the veterinarian.
  • Keep your dog calm for two weeks after surgery. If there are other dogs in your house, you may need to keep your dogs separated post-op.
  • You may need to get creative with your feeding routine. With the e-collar on, some dogs won’t be able to eat out of their food dish. Most have found success by elevating their dog’s dish so that the e-collar doesn’t hit the floor while they’re eating.
  • Give your dog the prescribed medications. It can be helpful to attach a magnetic whiteboard or paper to your fridge so that you can write down when you last gave your dog meds and when it will need them again. This also helps all members of the household understand the medication schedule to minimize errors.

What to Expect After Dog Neuter Surgery

Some dogs will be sleepy immediately after surgery. Learn more about What to Expect After Neutering a Dog.

How to Deal with Dog Neuter Costs

Clients often ask for suggestions to help with dog Neuter costs. Learn more about How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Costs here. Some shelters have special pricing. Another option is to have pet insurance. Some pet insurance companies offer “basic care” or “wellness care” coverage that will cover routine care such as vaccinations, dental cleaning, parasite control, neutering, and much more. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of surgery and any associated complications. You can learn more about types of pet insurance at Pets Best.

Should You Worry About Your Dog Having Surgery?

Most healthy dogs do well during routine neuter surgery. By knowing what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your dog, the surgical procedure, hospital stay, and home recovery can go smoothly.

Additional Articles Related to Dog Neutering

How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Cost?

The cost to neuter a dog can vary based on the age of your dog, size, breed, if he or she is healthy or ill, your vet hospital, and where you live in the country. We will review dog-neutering costs, what is included with the dog neutering fee, and offer ideas on how to save money.

How Much Neutering and Spaying Can Cost On Average

The cost of neutering your pet generally includes a package of offerings. Before we get into that, let’s review the definitions of neutering and spaying. The term neutering refers to the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term neuter is often used incorrectly when it is used to refer to male animals when the term neuter correctly refers to both males and females.

The correct term for removal of an animal’s reproductive organ for males is “Castration” and the correct term used for females is “Spay” or “Spaying”.

Most veterinary clinics know what you mean when you ask about the price to neuter your dog but depending on the clinic – don’t be surprised if they ask if your dog is male or female. The cost for a spay surgery is higher than the cost for castration. Spaying takes longer and involves opening the abdominal cavity.

It is important to know what is and what is not included in the spay or castration fee. When you get a quote, ask what is included so there are no hidden costs or surprises.

The neutering procedure generally includes the following (this will vary with the individual each hospital):

  • Examination
  • Sedation
  • General anesthesia
  • The surgery (Spay or Castration)
  • Post-op recovery monitoring
  • Pain medications
  • Antibiotics (if needed)
  • Nail Trim
  • E-collar
  • Post-op recheck such as suture removal
  • Optional additional cost: Laser therapy of the area post-surgery
  • Optional additional cost: Screening blood work

When getting an estimate for spay or castration procedures, be sure to ask what is and what is not included. There are a few optional items that will be an additional cost such as prep bloodwork or an electrocardiogram (EKG) as health screening tool. Some clinics or veterinary hospitals have packages that include all of the above in the neuter costs.

Other services and procedures that are an additional cost include hernia repair, removal of baby teeth, anal gland expression, vaccinations, parasite control medications, and/or lump removals. Nail trims are often included with routine spay and neuter surgery, however, some clinics may charge an additional fee. Learn more about the step-by-step details of What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed and What Happens When You Neuter a Dog?

Cost ranges for a dog spay can vary from $65 to $500 and castration can range from $45 to $300 in most areas. The cost will also vary with the facility offering the procedure. Shelters, humane societies, and other low cost spay/neuter clinics are generally less expensive than veterinary hospitals. There can be a big difference in the cost just based on where you live in the clinic. A spay in New York City may be $500 while only $200 in the Midwest.

How The Size and Other Things Impacts The Surgery Cost

The size of your dog impacts the cost of surgery. Why? A bigger dog requires more drugs for sedation, more time to clip and clean the area, more time to do the surgery, more suture materials, more pain medications to go home, and well…more everything. Big dogs generally cost more.

Other factors that can impact the cost of spay and castration surgery for dogs is the breed, age, if your dog is sick, obese, or if your dog is in heat or pregnant. Some breeds such as bulldogs can require more time to do surgery. Young dogs are often less expensive to spay then older dogs. Younger dogs are often healthier, smaller, and therefore easier to spay. Obese dogs can require more surgical time. Dogs that are in heat or pregnant require more time to perform the surgery because the blood vessels that feed the reproductive organs are larger which lengthens the surgery time required. Lastly, if the spay or neuter procedure is done as a treatment for a sick dog, the cost is substantially higher because other treatments are required such as intravenous (IV) fluids, pain medications, and antibiotics. The hospitalization time is longer and the risk of complications are also higher with sick dogs. The recovery time is about the same for both small and large dogs. Most dogs will go home the same day of surgery or occasionally the day after.

How Pet Insurance Can Help You Manage The Costs

The amount of money pet owners in the United States spent on pets nearly doubled from 38.5 billion to 66.8 billion dollars over the past decade. Costs include one-time costs such as those associated with spaying and castration procedures, annual costs (such as food, treats, vaccinations, and parasite control), and unexpected costs (such as costs related to lacerations, bite wounds, or other medical problems).

  • Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of illness, unexpected trauma, as well as the cost for basic care ore “wellness” such as vaccinations, parasite control, and spaying and neutering your dog.
  • Pet insurance can be a very good way to help pet owners do the best they can while on a budget. After you pay your deductible, pet insurance will pay for a percentage of your vet bill that will depend on your policy. For example, if you have a policy with a 90% copay – this means the pet insurance company will pay for 90 percent of your bill. This can really help with unexpected costs. Some pet insurance companies offer basic care options to help you off-site the cost of spaying and neutering. Learn more about Pets Best here.

Additional Articles of Interest Related to Dog Neutering Costs

Dog Neutering and Spaying: What You Need to Know

Many dog owners have questions about dog neutering and spaying. First, let’s define the words Neuter and Spay. Neuter, from the Latin word neuter, means the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term neuter is often used incorrectly when it is used to refer to only male animals when the term neuter correctly refers to both males and females.

The correct term for the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ in males is “Castration” while the correct term used for females is “Spay” or “Spaying”. Other terms used to refer to neutering is “de-sexing” and “fixing”.

Neutering is used to reduce the risk of unwanted puppies to control the animal population issues, reduce behavior issues with intact pets such as roaming, humping, heat cycles, reduce the incidence of aggressive behavioral issues, and eliminate the risk of diseases such as infections of the uterus, referred to by the medical term pyometra, breast cancer, and/or prostate problems.

The Male Dog Neutering: Castration

Male neutering, known by the more accurate term “Castration”, is used to describe the surgical procedure that involves removal of the testicles. Castration is also known by the medical term “orchiectomy”. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and involves a surgical incision just cranial to the testicles. Learn more about What Happens When You Neuter a Dog?. Another good article that may be of interest is What to Expect After Neutering a Dog which considers what to expect from your dog’s behavior post neuter as well as post-operative care.

The Female Dog Neutering: Spay

Female neutering, known by the more accurate term “Spaying”, is used to describe the surgical procedure that involves removal of both the ovaries and uterus, which is called an ovariohysterectomy (commonly abbreviated as “OHE”). This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. It involves an incision along the midline of the abdomen near the umbilicus. Learn more about What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed and about post-op care.

When Do You Neuter Dogs?

Neutering is most commonly recommended around six months of age. However, neutering is done in some situations as early as 6 to 8 weeks and can also be done at any age. Learn more about The Pros and Cons of Early Spays and Neuters In Dogs and Cats. Some studies may suggest that there are benefits of waiting to neuter. Learn more in this interesting article — To Neuter or Not to Neuter – What You Should Know.

However, the best time to neuter is when your dog is young and healthy as opposed to when your dog is older and has life-threatening uterine infections (Pyometra) or prostate problems.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Manage Cost of Dog Neutering

Dog neutering can be costly. It is more expensive to neuter a female dog than a male dog. The female neutering procedure takes longer and involves opening the abdominal cavity. The male dog neutering procedure does not involve opening the abdominal cavity and takes less time.

The cost for dog spays can range from $100 to $500 depending on the size and age of your dog. The cost for dog neuters can range from $45 to $350. Learn more about the costs of Spaying and Neutering with this article: How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Cost?

Many pet owners consider if they should have their pet neutered at their local veterinary hospital that may be more expensive vs. at a low-cost spay neuter clinic. Many shelters offer discounted spay and castration services. They will often also offer lost cost vaccinations and microchipping services that can be done at the time of the surgery. Here is another article that may be useful: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics vs. Your Local Vet.

Pet insurance plans are another method that can help you pay for medical costs associated with illnesses and injuries as well as wellness costs such as for vaccinations, dental cleaning, blood work, fecal checks, parasite control, and spaying and castration surgery.

For example, Pet’s Best offers a “routine care” option that you can add to your pet insurance plan. One thing that’s nice about this is that the benefits are available from many companies with no waiting period, meaning you can often use the benefits within a day or two of enrollment. The best wellness plan will provide $100 toward your dog spay or neuter. Learn more about Pet’s Best Routine Care Options to see if they will help you pay for your dog’s neutering procedure.

If you are planning your dog’s spay-neuter procedure and need help paying, it is possible to sign up for the routine care options and start using the benefits soon.

Additional Articles that May Be of Interest About Dog Neutering

How Much Does Dog Spaying or Dog Neutering Cost?
What Happens When You Neuter a Dog?
What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed 
What to Expect After Neutering a Dog 
A Major Investment: The Costs Associated with Dog Ownership
Are Pet Wellness Plans More Affordable than Insurance?
Factors to Consider Before You Compare Pet Insurance Policies
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
How Much Should You Expect For Dog Vet Costs?
Is There Pet Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions?
Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics vs. Your Local Vet
Pet Insurance: What It Covers & What It Doesn’t
Preparing Your Dog For Surgery: What You Should Know
Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering in Dogs
To Neuter or Not to Neuter – What You Should Know
What Are the Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet?
What’s the Best Pet Insurance in Regards to Cost?

Does Pet Death or Euthanasia Teach Kids a Life Lesson? The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out

A client caught me off guard last week. While giving their dog a routine examination the owner said, “Doc, do you think it is good for kids to be there when a pet dies?” It can seem like an odd question but it’s one I’ve heard before. Today I want to talk about what effect this “life lesson” could really have on children.

Before I go any further, let me introduce myself for those of you that don’t know me. I’m the Irreverent Veterinarian and I give you my honest opinion of issues in the animal care world. Some might say that I’m honest to a fault. I speak my mind and I won’t sweet-talk you or sugarcoat the truth. I tell it like it is – to you, the drug companies, the pet product manufacturers, professional breeders and pet owners. Some of what I say can be controversial, but that doesn’t stop me—it can be hard to hear the truth.

So back to the topic – is it a good idea for kids to witness a pet die, either naturally or through euthanasia? Well, every situation is different and in my opinion, it really depends on the child. Even then, it can be a very traumatic lesson indeed.

For example, when I was just out of veterinary school one of my first duties was to euthanize a very old dog. The owner had a 3-year-old and insisted that her child be present during the procedure. I was hesitant but the parent knows best, right? The owner explained what was happening by telling the little girl that their dog was “going to sleep.” Two weeks later the client called me for help; her daughter was now crying and crying when it was bedtime because she didn’t want to “go to sleep” and never wake up. I felt so bad for the little girl and for her mother too.

In hindsight, it is clear that the little girl was too young to understand what was happening and should not have been present. In general, I think kids under the age of 12 can find death and euthanasia disturbing even if they understand the concept. (Some vets say 14 years is a better age.) This will depend on the child’s maturity level as well. No matter what age you decide is right, I think an honest and open discussion is the best approach. It’s best not to use words like “going to sleep”; even though it can be difficult to talk about a beloved pet’s death so frankly, unclear wording can confuse children.

What age do you think is appropriate to allow a child to witness euthanasia? I want to know what you think. Send us your comments @ timo@petplace.com.

My Final Thoughts on Whether Pet Death or Euthanasia Teaches Kids Life Lessons

I think that seeing all phases of life and death can help a child understand the world and prepare them for the future. The first time that they encounter death can be very upsetting, especially if it involves a pet that they love very much.

Does witnessing death, particularly euthanasia, help children? Depending on how it’s presented as well as their age and maturity, I think it can. I don’t think it should be the first time that they discuss or encounter death but it’s not a perfect world and things don’t always happen as we want.

I definitely don’t think that very young children should be in the room when an animal dies though. It’s just too upsetting for them and they often don’t really understand what’s happening. Some people think that kids can only understand death by seeing it happen but I totally disagree. If you believe that do you think all kids should be marched through prison so they can understand crime and punishment? It just doesn’t seem right.

Tell us your thoughts. Did you witness a pet’s death as a child or as a parent? Take our poll. If you have comments please leave them below in the article.

If you are struggling to find the best way to discuss euthanasia with your child, www.petplace.com has articles, which can help. We have been the #1 leader in pet health information for over 20 years now with over 11,000 articles.

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Zinc Deficiency (Zinc Responsive Dermatosis) in Dogs

Overview of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

Zinc deficiency in dogs can cause hair loss and skin problems. Zinc is an essential mineral required for the production of over 300 enzymes necessary for various bodily functions including healthy skin and hair, normal immune function, normal thyroid function, wound healing, and normal sexual function.

Zinc should be a normal component of a dog’s diet. The absence of zinc in the diet can cause various abnormalities affecting the skin, metabolic function and immune function. Zinc deficiency causes the condition called zinc responsive dermatosis.

Zinc isn’t readily or easily absorbed by intestine of dogs. It is estimated that only 5 to 40% of ingested zinc is absorbed in normal dogs.

Causes of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

Causes and risk factors for canine zinc deficiency include:

  • Young puppies and dogs fed a diet deficient in zinc.
  • Diets rich in calcium prevent normal zinc absorption. Calcium binds with zinc, which prevents absorption.
  • Dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute have a genetic inability to absorb zinc properly. Zinc deficiency has also been reported in Bull Terriers, Labrador Retrievers,
  • Doberman Pinschers, Standard Poodles, German Shepherd dogs, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Beagles, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Great Danes.
  • Diets excessively high in zinc prevent normal zinc absorption.
  • Diets with low levels of total fat and essential fatty acids affect zinc absorption
  • Plants contain a substance called phytate which hampers the absorption of zinc. Diets that are high in fiber (plant-based) can cause zinc deficiency.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease can cause abnormal absorption of zinc.

What to Watch For

Signs of zinc deficiency in dogs may include:

  • Hair loss (Alopecia)
  • Scaling and crusting skin lesions around the face, head, legs, and pads of the feet
  • Red or swollen footpads
  • Thickened crusted footpads
  • Fissures (cracks) on the nose and/or footpads

Severely affected dogs may display:

  • Generalized lymph node enlargement
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Stunted growth in puppies
  • Increased incidence of infection such as pneumonia or infections around the eyes and mouth

Diagnosis of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

Diagnosis of zinc deficiency is often made based on the clinical signs and history. Other diagnostic possibilities may include:

  • Zinc levels can be measured but are often unreliable based on various laboratory procedures. Zinc blood levels less than 0.8 ppm is suggestive of zinc deficiency although Zinc blood levels can be affected by age and other illnesses making them difficult to interpret.
  • A skin biopsy submitted for histopathology may reveal classing signs of zinc deficiency including skin changes suggestive of zinc deficiency but is not considered diagnostic.
  • Response to therapy with zinc supplementation is one informal way zinc deficiency is sometimes confirmed.

Treatment of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

  • Treatment is focused on daily zinc supplementation. Normal growing puppies require approximately 60 mg to 150 mg of zinc per pound of body weight (120 mg to 300 mg of zinc per kilogram) depending on the activity level of the dog. Working dogs require higher levels of supplementation. Supplementation should include up to 500 mg/pound (1000 mg/kg) of zinc for zinc deficient dogs. Breeds at risk should be supplemented with zinc.
  • Normal sources of zinc include meat and fish products. Grains are low in zinc such as corn and soybean. For example, a meal of rice has only 10 to 12 mg/lb of zinc while a meat meal contains 50 mg/lb and a fish meal contains approximately 75 mg/lb of zinc.
  • Zinc is available in many forms including an injectable version that can be given intravenously (IV) and oral supplements. Forms may include zinc sulfate (oral and IV), zinc methionine (oral), and zinc gluconate (oral). Common dosage recommendations for dogs may include:
  • Zinc sulfate oral: 5 mg/pound once daily (10 mg/kg)
  • Zinc methionine oral: 0.8 mg/pound daily (2 mg/kg)
  • Zinc gluconate: 0.75 mg/pound daily (1.7 mg/kg)
  • Some veterinarians recommend crushing tablets and mixing with food to encourage dogs to eat it well and minimize stomach upset which can occur with zinc administration.
  • Treats supplemented with zinc are also available such as dog treat by Zinpro (by Lincoln Biotech) which contains zinc methionine.
  • In addition to zinc supplementation, some dogs with infections may require antibiotic.
  • Therapeutic baths with shampoos to help remove crusts may be recommended. Examples of keratolytic shampoos include those with ingredients of sulfur and/or salicylic acid.
  • Some cases that do not respond to initial supplementation and above treatments may also need oral steroid therapy which can help increase absorption of zinc.

References for Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

  • Bloomberg, M.; Taylor, R.; Dee, J. Canine Sports Medicine, and Surgery. W. B. Saunders. Philadelphia, PA; 1998.
  • Campbell GA & Crow D (2010) Severe zinc responsive dermatosis in a litter of Pharaoh Hounds. J Vet Diagn Invest 22(4):663-666
  • Colombini S (1999) Canine zinc-responsive dermatosis. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 29(6):1373-1383
  • Colombini S & Dunstan RW (1997) Zinc-responsive dermatosis in northern-breed dogs: 17 cases (1990-1996). J Am Vet Med Assoc 211(4):451-453
  • Griffin, C.; Kwochka, K.; Macdonald, J. Current Veterinary Dermatology. Mosby Publications. Linn, MO; 1993.
  • Hall J (2005) Diagnostic dermatology. Zinc responsive dermatosis. Can Vet J 46(6):555-557
  • Kearns K et al (2000) Zinc-responsive dermatosis in a red wolf (canis rufus). J Zoo Wildl Med 31(2):255-258
  • Kunkle GA (1980) Zinc in veterinary medicine. Int J Dermatol 19:30–31
  • Lewis, L.; Morris, M. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. Mark Morris Assoc. Topeka, KS; 1984.
  • Peters J et al (2003) Hereditary nasal parakeratosis in Labrador retrievers: 11 new cases and a retrospective study on the presence of accumulations of serum (‘serum lakes’) in the epidermis of parakeratotic dermatoses and inflamed nasal plana of dogs. Vet Dermatol 14(4):197-203
  • Senter DA et al (2002) Intracorneal vacuoles in skin diseases with parakeratotic hyperkeratosis in the dog: a retrospective light-microscopy study of 111 cases (1973-2000). Vet Dermatol 13(1):43-47
  • Sousa CA et al (1988) Dermatosis associated with feeding generic dog food: 13 cases (1981-1982). J Am Vet Med Assoc 192(5):676-680
  • van den Broek AH & Stafford WL (1988) Diagnostic value of zinc concentrations in serum, leucocytes and hair of dogs with zinc-responsive dermatosis. Res Vet Sci 44(1):41-44
  • White SD et al (2001) Zinc-responsive dermatosis in dogs: 41 cases and literature review. Vet Dermatol 12(2):101-109

Puppy Diaries #9 Mastering the Perfect Puppy-Human Social Interaction

Dear Diary,

It’s month nine, and Sommer is growing up. She’s still got boundless energy, but she’s less hyperactive than she was a few months ago. She’s starting to look less like a little pup and more like a gangly teenager, with awkwardly large feet that are too big for her body. She is an extremely fast runner and loves to sprint around the yard, easily chasing down our boys and then barking with joy when she catches them. Potty training issues are largely in the rear view mirror, although the occasional bout of diarrhea is always in the realm of possibility, and I am still on very friendly terms with our local carpet cleaner. Sommer’s face is so expressive at this age! Her eyes are bright and she looks at me for direction, eager to please. In our household, she has the routine down and understands the rules – no jumping on the good chair, ring the bell on the door to go outside, no counter surfing and the like. I guess you could say that she trusts us now, and I trust her (most of the time, although after the Advil-chewing episode, I am very thorough about keeping her away from things that might cause her to fall into trouble). But when the doorbell rings? That’s when all training bets are off.

We have an active household, with two sons and friends and family and sports carpools and music teachers and handymen and lawn mowing crews coming to the house on a regular basis. All that makes for a happy home and Sommer loves greeting guests. But do guests love it when Sommer greets them? In the beginning, the answer was decidedly “no.” And I can’t say I blame them. I don’t like a dog that jumps on me when I walk into someone’s home, and as a small dog, Sommer seems particularly prone to jumping. It’s in her nature to want to get up to human level. She’s also prone to excited barking, another habit that made door greetings a real challenge. It was one of the things that bothered me most about having a dog, so we decided to hire one of the trainers who taught Sommer’s group puppy training classes to come to our house to diagnose the issue and prescribe a solution.

The trainer was great at reinforcing that door greetings are indeed one of the biggest challenges around. She advised using a method where we would put a dog bed near the door, but not next to the door, and saying “go to bed” when the doorbell rang. I was to stand next to the bed and give Sommer treats as long as she stayed on the bed. The idea was that the guest would come in and then pass by the bed and greet Sommer, or not greet Sommer – whatever the guest wanted. Whether it was my lack of proper execution or simply Sommer’s puppy effervescence, although we worked on it for months, both in real scenarios and in trials where the boys would go outside and ring the bell, Sommer never quite mastered it. She would “go to bed,” but as soon as I gave her one little treat, she would grab it and run from the bed to jump on the person at the door. Answering the door became a two-person job, as I was stuck calling “go to bed” and standing by the dog bed, while one of the boys had to answer the doorbell – and they weren’t always at home to play that role. I thought Sommer might catch on and stay in the bed while I walked over to the door, but alas, the promise of a new human to greet was far too overwhelming and in fact seemed more alluring than any treat I could offer.

Back to the “beep” collar we went (note: we would only use a shock-free collar). When visiting my parents at their home one week, Sommer would get beside herself with excitement when she would see my parents each morning, as if she’d never seen them before. This turned into the perfect opportunity to put on her “beep” collar and teach her the no-jumping greetings rule. We were diligent in showing her that when she jumped up on them in excited greeting, it would result in a “beep.” When she stayed down, with all four paws on the ground, my parents made sure to give her lots of pets and “good girl” praise. The idea seemed to sink in. Back at home, the only trick to continue this method successfully was to make sure she had her collar on when guests were coming to the house, or in the case of an unexpected visitor, to have the collar at the ready near the door so I could quickly put it on her.

Top 5 BEST Dog Halloween Costumes

It’s estimated that 15 percent of Americans will buy costumes for their pets and will spend almost three times more on costumes for children than they will for pets. The business of pet costumes has been growing.  It’s no longer about a simple bandana or  Santa hat on your dog.

When it comes to dressing up your dog in a costume, some pet costume options are just better. Our Top 5 Dog Costume list is filled with the most hilarious, adorable and favorite pet costumes out there!

Our Top 10 list was compiled by conducting interviews with pet owners just like you. Plus, we vetted the costumes based on quality and actual customer reviews from Chewy.com.

#1: Prisoner Dog & Cat Costume

With the Frisco Prisoner Dog & Cat Costume, your pooch or kitty will be the cutest jail-pet around. Dress up you fur-gitive with this two-piece costume that includes a prisoner’s hat complete with an adjustable chin strap for a secure fit, and a pull-over style shirt with bars for an authentic look. Perfect for all shapes and sizes.

  • Rated 5 Stars
  • Only $9.99 with a special $3.00 discount
  • 1-2 day free shipping option
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Click here to order in time for Halloween. 

#2:  Werewolf Dog & Cat Costume

Full moon or not, your furry one can get a whole lot furrier wearing the Frisco Werewolf Dog & Cat Costume. This three-piece werewolf costume comes complete with fluffy hands, “ripped” pants, plaid shirt, furry hat, and removable cape. Perfect for themed photo shoots!

  • Rated 5 Stars
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Click here to order in time for Halloween. 

#3:  Hotdog and Ketchup Costume

Hold the dog, because your pooch or kitty is actually the hotdog in the Frisco Hotdog Ketchup Dog & Cat Costume. Dress up your pal in between two plush sesame-seed buns and a generous squirt of squishy ketchup on the back. It’s super easy to put on thanks to the Velcro straps on the belly and the neck.

  • Rated 5 Stars
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Click here to order in time for Halloween. 

#4:  Red Riding Hood Costume

Whether she’s a wolf or just a sweet little girl on her way to grandma’s house, your precious pup will bring the fairy tale to life with the Rubie’s Costume Company Red Riding Hood Dog Costume. She’s sure to turn plenty of heads strolling through the woods or at a pet parade

  • Rated 5 Stars
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Click here to order in time for Halloween. 

#5:  Devil Dog Costume

Give your little angel a new look with the Zack & Zoey Sequin Devil Dog Costume. A must-have for your Halloween party—or just a share-worthy photo op—your friends will love the sparkling cape that is decked out in sequins for a devilishly cute effect.

  • Rated 5 Stars
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Click here to order in time for Halloween. 

 

 

Puppy Diaries #8: Mastering the Perfect Puppy Social Interaction

Dear Diary,

Now that we’ve made it through the first seven months and are into Sommer’s eighth month, I find that most of my time and training is focused around refining her behavior. And by “refining,” I mean “trying to make her behavior palatable to other humans … and dogs.” I don’t add “dogs” lightly. One of the main challenges we face is that while she loves people, she’s not so sure about her fellow canines. I get it. She’s smaller than most dogs, and as we all know, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Still, part of growing up is facing your fears and gaining confidence in the process, right? This month, I decided to work on puppy social interactions, so that Sommer and I could feel free to go out and explore the world. As an eight-month-old pup, Sommer needs exercise, so I was excited to put the off-leash dog park, puppy play dates and nice long walks around our neighborhood on my agenda. Boy, was I ever surprised when the events I looked forward to ever since she was a tiny pup turned out to be some of the most challenging I’d ever needed to manage!

When friends told me about our local off-leash dog park, I thought we’d found nirvana. I’ve never visited any other dog parks, so I’m not in a place to compare, but as I researched it online, I found it was fully fenced and 18 acres in size, with hiking trails circling a grove of tall oak trees. The day we first visited, I pulled up in the parking lot and counted four extended-cab pickup trucks parked nearby, which gave me the feeling that this was the place for athletic and sporty pups who regularly flush out pheasants. But I was excited to check it out, and I was prepared with my leash and poop bags at the ready. More than that, I had prepped myself to toe the line between being a neurotic helicopter dog parent and keeping a close eye on Sommer.

Unfortunately, what I had prepared for wasn’t what I encountered. At about 15 pounds, Sommer is a small dog, and to larger, sporting dogs, she must have looked like something fun to chase. In her first encounter, a large Goldendoodle sniffed her, which made her frightened and start running in terrified circles, barking in higher and higher pitches. The Goldendoodle took off in hot pursuit. The faster Sommer ran and the more she barked, the more the dog chased her. The dog was definitely not getting her “stand back, I don’t like this” message. No, what kicked in was the dog’s prey drive. I finally was able to scoop her up and take her back to the car.

The next time we visited, I noticed that she was shaking visibly, but that was par for the course: She shook with nerves when we went to the vet, doggy daycare of the groomer, and even the pet store. On our second visit, we had some fun, but she always seemed on edge. I liked it though, because she got lots of fresh air and exercise, and so did I. On our third visit, she had another run-in with a larger dog, and I started to question the wisdom of our exercise routine. I consulted a trainer, who shocked me by saying that under no circumstances should we return to the dog park. She warned that small dogs can become aggressive by being put into traumatizing situations when they are pups. “Have you ever passed by a Chihuahua sitting on its owner’s lap, and it automatically bares its teeth and growls at you, even though you’ve done nothing, not even approached it?” she asked me. I nodded. “That’s what can happen if you keep going to the dog park.” Needless to say, we never returned.

Puppy playdates were another activity that seemed like they should have been fun but turned into a challenging puppy parenthood adventure. We have a very kind and patient neighbor who has two mini golden doodles who are about a year and a half older than Sommer. Although they are smaller than Sommer, Sommer’s typical behavior upon meeting them was excited nonstop barking and chasing. It was as if she was doing unto them what had been done to her at the dog park. It was tiresome, as I wanted to catch up with my neighbor while the dogs played, but we could hardly hear each other over the din of Sommer’s incessant barking.