Four months ago my life turned upside down when a little white and black puppy cascaded into my world. Today, she is six months old!
I’d like to say we celebrated by travelling somewhere post worthy, somewhere dog-friendly, scenic and virus free. But alas, there is still no such place and our travel destination dream list (see here) remains unexplored.
However, my puppy did get to let loose at dog daycare (see here) with her now canine comrades (while I stayed home and worked). So, I’m going to say she had a party.
Six months is also a significant milestone because she goes to the Vet tomorrow to be spayed. (Some birthday present, huh?). I know there are a lot of opinions about when to fix dogs – some even backed up with reason and research. According to the American Kennel Club, the results of fixing earlier or later vary significantly between breeds.
But I did my own research in consultation with my Vet, and spaying a small female dog before her first heat is beneficial for a number of reasons:
- Spaying a female dog, especially before the first heat, reduces the risk of ovarian, mammary or uterine cancer later in life.
- Spaying a female dog also reduces the risk of pyometra, an infection of the uterus (because it’s no longer there).
- Research indicates some minor benefits to waiting to spay or neuter larger male dogs, such as less risk of cruciate ligament injury later in life. Although my vet indicated the research showed no discernable advantages in smaller dogs.
- Spaying at six months means I won’t have to deal with heats. Dogs go into heat twice a year and can bleed or urinate excessively during this time – not to mention behavior issues.
- Most important: no risk of unwanted litters or attracting intact males. That last one is extremely important if I want to keep taking her to dog parks (selectively), dog daycare and travelling. The last thing we want to attract while exploring new vistas is roaming males, domesticated or otherwise.
There’s no question I always intended to fix my dog – but when? was the question I needed answered. Concerns with behavior issues and limitations on where I can take her prompted me to decide sooner (six months is the recommended time) rather than later.
Several Vets I consulted strongly encouraged my decision.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m nervous about it because it is major surgery. More than that, it’s surgery during COVID , so there’s additional stressors at the Vet clinic. But I worry about her in every context.
My baby dog. The one and only.