Veterinarians recommend spaying female dogs to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy can be both risky and expensive for owners alike, increasing shelter populations as more puppies and adult dogs enter our world.
How can you tell if a dog you adopt or find as a stray has already been spayed? There are several telltale signs.
1. Look at the Skin
Spaying, in veterinary medicine terms, refers to the removal of female dogs’ ovaries and uteri to prevent them from having more puppies. Also referred to as getting her “fixed,” most veterinarians advise spaying a female puppy prior to its first heat cycle – typically between 5-10 months of age depending on its breed.
As shelters and pet owners may not always know whether a female dog they adopt has been spayed, it’s important to know whether she has been fixed. Unspayed dogs tend to roam more freely during heat cycles looking for male mates which increases the chance of them getting lost, stolen or hit by cars.
First, examine your dog’s skin to look for signs of incision or stitches from her spay surgery. A recent spay incision should appear as a straight, clean wound sealed with glue or stitches and sporting slight reddish-pink hue around its edges; however if the wound appears more reddish-pink in color with excessive swelling or produces blood or pus at its incision site then contact your vet immediately as this could indicate that she’s not recovering well from her spay procedure.
Some veterinarians offer to tattoo the incision site with a green or blue line so they can more quickly identify spayed dogs. Unfortunately, if your pup was spayed before this practice became widely utilized, you might not be able to locate either scar tissue or tattoo markings so confirming her spay status will become more challenging.
Male dogs are typically easy to identify as neutered since you can inspect the area near their testicles and look for scars. But female dogs can be trickier as you cannot directly observe their ovaries and uterus; nevertheless there are some telltale indicators which might help you determine whether or not she has been spayed.
2. Look at the Teeth
When spaying a dog, veterinarians perform an ovariohysterectomy – a surgical process which removes both its ovaries and uterus – through anesthesia. While traditionally veterinarians would perform this operation on puppies aged six months old or later, more and more people are opting to get their pets spayed at younger and younger ages in order to combat pet overpopulation and ensure they won’t become pregnant again.
At an early age, it can be hard to tell if your pup has been spayed or not, although there are ways you can tell. One method involves looking at their teeth; typically if she has been spayed her teeth will be very straight and small while those of an intact female will be much crookeder and larger than usual.
One way of telling whether a female dog has been spayed is to look at her nipples and vulva, particularly at an early age. A bitch that was spayed will typically have smaller, less developed nipples and vulva than its intact female counterpart of similar size.
One way to determine whether your dog has been spayed is to examine her abdomen. After surgery, there should be no visible or palpable abdominal scar; however, if spayed at an older age and has experienced heat cycles or puppies she may have visible abdominal scars that haven’t faded with time.
Spaying can bring numerous advantages, including helping reduce shelter and rescue animal numbers and stopping your female from coming into heat, which is both uncomfortable and potentially hazardous to other household animals. Furthermore, neutering your male dog prevents him from seeking out potential partners despite not wanting them around; otherwise they might wander off in search of one anyway or fight with other male dogs in the neighborhood.
Spaying can not only prevent pregnancy and overpopulation, but it can also protect her from diseases like pyometra – an infection of the uterus – which is life threatening for unspayed dogs but easily avoidable with spaying.
3. Look at the Abdomen
Your spayed female dog should no longer have as many swollen mammary glands and nipples in her abdomen than when she was unaltered, along with smaller scrotum and less prominent vaginal opening.
Spaying can prevent puppies being born since surgery was performed to remove her uterus and ovaries, thus eliminating estrus cycles with their associated bleeding as well as decreasing risk for breast and ovarian cancer in adult dogs. Spaying is a popular procedure among both pets and strays alike and recommended to most.
The abdomen is closed using sutures or staples; some veterinarians offer dissolvable sutures which don’t require follow-up appointments to have them removed. Dogs that have had traditional sutures applied should remain under observation in a pet cone or Elizabeth collar until the recommended period has elapsed to avoid licking and playing with the incision site; it should also be checked daily for swelling, infection or irritation.
Some veterinarians advise spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle occurs – usually around 5-10 months of age – however research indicates that spaying large breeds this early could compromise vital hormones necessary for development and growth, potentially increasing their chances of mammary (breast) cancer later.
Male dogs may also benefit from neutering with an incision near the front of the scrotum, similar to spaying. Neutering reduces risks such as prostate cancer, testicular tumors and urinary tract infections such as pyometra. Furthermore, neutering also protects female dogs from unwanted pregnancies by decreasing intercourse with other male dogs while protecting female dogs from unwanted pregnancies. Whether or not spay or neuter is chosen is ultimately up to their individual owner, but most pet parents and rescue organizations advise having both procedures as soon as they reach old enough. Its benefits outweigh any risks!
4. Look at the Nails
A spayed dog’s nails may differ from those of an intact animal due to the quick, which runs along each nail and provides blood flow and sensation sense, being undamaged during surgery. When this occurs during nail trimming, pain ensues as soon as trimming stops causing blood flow issues; to stop further harm and stop further blood loss by applying styptic powder or gel (stop bleeding ) immediately.
Spaying is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia to permanently prevent female dogs from reproducing by extracting their reproductive organs, known as reproductive systems. Spaying should ideally occur during a young animal’s first year; however, older animals can undergo this procedure as well. An alternative option would be an ovariectomy procedure which removes only one set of ovaries without altering uterus structure.
Some veterinarians will mark an incision area with a green or blue line to make it easier for shelters and organizations to recognize which female dogs have been fixed, but this isn’t always accurate, so it is always advisable to carefully check a dog’s nails – if they lack scars then she likely remains intact.
While spaying can present some risks, its rewards far outweigh these issues. Spaying a female dog eliminates unwanted pregnancies while decreasing disease risks like pyometra – an infection of the uterus – as well as behavioral issues like aggression towards other pets or humans.
If you are uncertain whether your pet has been spayed, seek the advice of a veterinarian immediately to arrange an examination. A vet will be able to confirm whether a dog has been spayed by inspecting its incision site; and may also tell whether there remains any remaining ovarian tissue or whether its healing.
If the veterinarian suspects that your dog hasn’t been spayed, he or she will recommend using a pet cone to keep her away from the genital region until her stitches heal. A pet cone will prevent your pup from licking or playing with the incision site which could lead to infection and irritation; additionally, monitor any signs of infection or irritation regularly.