February is known as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month – or, “Beat the Heat” month. Choosing to spay or neuter your dog has many benefits including keeping them healthier, better behaved, and preventing unplanned litters.

Your veterinarian can make the appropriate recommendations as to the age your dog should undergo the surgery. While dogs as young as 8 weeks old can be fixed, your veterinarian may recommend waiting until they are 12-18 months if you have a large breed dog. Fixing your dog reduces or eliminates the chance of your dog developing a variety of life-threatening conditions including pyometra, some forms of cancer, and prostatic hyperplasia.

While these are routine surgeries, all anesthesia procedures have some risk; therefore, your vet may request a pre-op physical or bloodwork. Monitoring devices such as MeasureON! continuously monitor your dog’s vital statistics and alert clinic staff to any potential problems before they may have been otherwise detected. Your vet will provide specific aftercare instructions, but you can expect that your dog will need to be kept calm and dry for several days after their surgery to minimize the chance of tearing stitches or developing an infection.

In addition to the health benefits of fixing your dog, they may also experience behavioral benefits. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are less likely to escape your yard to roam for a mate. While these procedures will not impact their ability to learn or play, some dogs become less aggressive and territorial. Finally, altering your pet also reduces stress on local animal shelters through preventing unplanned litters. It is estimated that there are as many as 6-8 million animals entering US shelters each year.

For more information about spay or neutering your pet, click HERE to visit the AVMA website.

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