When to Spay

Kelly Roper
Vet with Dog

When to spay your dog is a personal decision, but certain times are more advantageous than others.

Determining When to Spay

Can Bitch be Spayed During Heat?

When is the best time to have your female dog spayed?Currently my dog is six months old. We think she is slowly showing signs of coming into her first heat, but we can't be certain. Her personality has changed slightly; she's quite sad, and likes to be alone, etc. Is this an early sign of going into heat?.

I assume it's too late to have her fixed prior to her first heat. How long should I wait after it to have her fixed? As an owner, what do you suggest we need to do for her during heat, emotionally, other than keep her away from male dogs. We live in a city flat, and there are very few dogs in the area, so I think we're safe from male dogs.

Off topic, I also think my dog swallowed a pebble. This is obviously not good. What do you suggest?

Thank you~~Stina

Expert Reply

Hello Stina,

Let me begin with your question about spaying. Veterinarians tell us we can have our dogs spayed or neutered as young as four months old. Some vets are even willing to spay a bitch during her heat cycle, but they will charge extra for it because the procedure carries extra risks at this time. Personally, I would never recommend anyone have their bitch spayed in season. It's simply not worth it.

If your dog is not actively bleeding, you can probably still schedule an appointment with your vet to have it taken care of before she comes all the way into season. If you do choose to let her go through her first season, there's not much you need to do for her. Keep her away from males dogs, and you might want to invest in a couple pairs of doggie britches to prevent her from spotting on the floor and furniture.

Some bitches do get a little mopey, so you can try playing one of her favorite games with her if she's willing to participate. Rest assured, once her season is finished she should get back to being her normal self, albeit probably a bit calmer overall.

Now, for the pebble. Did you actually see her eat it? There's a chance it could pass harmlessly through her system, but depending on its size it could become lodged and cause a blockage. The only way to be sure about what's going on would be to take her to your vet for an x-ray. Then he/she can determine what the logical course of action should be.

Thanks for your questions~~ Kelly

Question: Should We Spay Our Possibly Pregnant Senior Dog?

Hi,I have a 12-year-old Rottweiler who is a beloved family pet. She has not been spayed. I noticed that she was in heat about two weeks ago, and when I woke up this morning there was another dog in the yard attempting to ride. I can't be sure he didn't already breed her.

I have spoken to my vet who said to spay her, and I find this drastic. I have been told that there is a morning after pill, but the vet said they can only offer me three injections instead, and they carry serious side effects.

I am very worried because my dog is 12, and I don't want her to suffer through an operation. She is very agile and healthy. Any advice would be appreciated.

~~ Lisa, Desperate Dog Lover

Expert Reply

Hi Lisa,

If it were my own dog, I would choose the spaying surgery over the pills and injections. If your vet has accessed that your bitch is healthy enough for surgery, then this would be the most expedient way to exit a pregnancy and keep one from happening again.

Consider her future heat cycles. What if another accidental breeding takes place and you don't know it has happened? You were lucky to have caught what was going on this time. I think going through the pregnancy at her age would be far harder on her than a surgery that only takes about 48 hours to recover from. Of course, you do know your dog better than anyone else, so take your vet's advice and my opinion, and weigh your choices.

My best wishes for a happy outcome, no matter what you decide. Thanks for your question.

~~ Kelly


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When to Spay