Spaying The Older Female Dog
Most dog owners admit that there is a serious dog population explosion, but when it comes to spaying or neutering the family pet, that decision, as it’s now personal, is much harder to make.
“Should I have my older female dog spayed since we don’t want to have any more puppies?”
“My older female dog, Maggy, has been around for almost 10 years, has had 25 healthy puppies, and even earned her AKC niche. She has even made us enough income to have totally covered all of her dog food expenses and veterinarian care. Now that she’s retired, wouldn’t it be better to leave her baby-making-machine intact?”
“Wouldn’t it be cruel to take away her femaleness? Could it make her mean, or let her get fat? I don’t want her to suffer through an operation!”
Most of us have had thoughts like these when considering neutering of any of our pets. But the human psychological factors should not be the most important ones here. Think about it from the health standpoint of your dog.
Just what are the advantages of having an older dog spayed?
Many veterinarians and specialists in small animal care agree that there are dozens of reasons why you should have your non-producing female, five years or older, spayed. Here are a few great arguments for this decision:
Physical Harm Could Result From Accidental Breeding
Remember that female dogs never have a change of life or menopause as humans do. A very old female dog of 14 years could still bear puppies. Such unfortunate and accidental breeding could result in severe physical problems for the female.
By spaying an older female, especially one who has served her time as a producing unit in a kennel, the danger of indiscriminate breeding is eliminated as a physical reality, and as a worry for the owners.
Spaying Can Stop Health Defects
Spaying is an effective tool to stop congenital defects before they can be passed on through inheritance. Any severe physical problems such as hip dysplasia, undershot jaw, overshot jaw, deafness, blindness, hairlip, cleft palate, in a female, should be stopped in that generation.
If the female is not destroyed at birth, early spaying can stop the continuing procreation in that line. If your family pet has any of these characteristics or others which should not be reproduced, and the female is not spayed, such action should be considered at once.
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Spaying The Older Female Dog Part 2
Older female dogs should not be left to become pregnant, especially if by accident. While you may not agree with this notion, it can only enlighten your opinion by understanding a few solid reasons why these senior citizen lady dogs should be fixed.
In addition to the prevention of inheritable diseases and avoiding physical problems from have puppies at such an old age, the following arguments also stand a firm ground for the decision to have the older female dog spayed.
Spaying Can Help Prevent Your Dog From Being Exposed To Communicable Diseases
The overwhelming rush of male dogs at six-month periods often brings your female into contact or close proximity to a variety of dogs which could be infected. In some cases females will put down an aggressive male and result can be a biting, scratching, and fighting, which results in medical attention needed.
Spaying Will Reduce The Mess Of Heavy Discharge
If your dog has a heavy discharge during her heat period, you have probably spent your fair share of time cleaning up blood stains from rugs, floors, and furniture. A quick operation by your veterinarian can stop this problem. While this is not a major consideration, you’ll appreciate this point if you’ve ever tried to get blood out of a soft, fuzzy, white bathroom rug.
No More Dog Riots Outside Your Front Door
One of the benefits of spaying any female is the elimination of the twice-yearly nuisance factor of other dogs in your neighborhood trying to break down your door or fence. The attractiveness of a female dog in heat is extremely powerful.
While you may have adequate means of restraining your female and warding off male dogs, there is still a nuisance factor to your neighbors from the barking, and urinating and defecating on lawns and shrubs. If your female is through producing, you can eliminate this twice-yearly problem easily.
Spaying Your Older Female Dog May Increase Her Energy Levels
Many older dogs go through this, especially females. If your dog is constantly thin and weary, it could be that spaying will release a new directional burst of energy for her. Their whole physical well-being takes on a different turn, which can even be noticed in their coat, appearances, responses, and attitude.
Spaying The Older Female Dog Part 3
If your dearly beloved older female dog is not spayed, consider for a moment the positive reasons for having your vet perform the operation. Not only will this quick fix prevent health problems, potential diseases, and may even increase the dog’s energy and well-being, it could also prove to be beneficial for the following reasons:
Prevention Of Cystic Ovaries
One physiological problem many older female dogs suffer from is cystic ovaries. This condition leads to what appears to be real pregnancy, but is actually a false pregnancy. The dog goes into all of the traits she normally would have during pregnancy, including lactating, putting on weight, becoming very protective of some object such as rug or a box – but the dog is not actually pregnant.
Treatment is required to correct this problem. While this condition is not limited to older dogs, it can be eliminated in them with a panhysterectomy.
Possible Elimination Of The Disease Known As Pyometra
Another illness of the older dog is pyometra, an infection of the two tubes in the reproductive tract. This is a serious problem and requires surgery to cure. If the condition is allowed to go untreated it can develop into peritonitis, and have fatal results. By removing the tubes during spaying, the possibility of this illness is eliminated.
Spaying Removes The Onset Of Many Uterine Infections
The older female dog is also subject to several types of uterine infections. While these are not fatal, all of them may take some time to clear up with medications. By spaying your older female dog, the operation removes this problem permanently.
The Connection Between Non-Spayed Female Dogs & Neoplasma
The older unspayed female can also develop mammary neoplasma. There is a high correlation between dogs having this condition and those that have not been spayed. While there is no hard-proof that your dog is guaranteed not to experience this disease if she is undergoes the operation, the odds are indeed in her favor.
Cancer Of The Reproductive System
A continuing problem with an older female dog is cancer of the reproductive tract. When the female reproductive organs are removed in spaying, this ailment can be eliminated. Again, such as that with the disease neoplasma, there is no guarantee that being spayed will eliminate the total possibility of getting cancer in the reproductive tract, but based on the research available and statistics of this kind, your dog’s chances of being cancer-free in this area are greater when spayed.
Spaying The Older Female Dog Part 4
If you have read our most recent studies and arguments for the positive health changes associated with the older female dog and spaying, we have indeed only talked about the benefits of spaying. But are there any drawbacks?
Some veterinarians think there are, but by comparison they are minor. Now and then a dog might show a very slight shedding condition after spaying. This usually is not a long-lasting problem.
Some just-spayed females develop swelling around the vulva, but this is usually of short duration and quite normal.
“We have not noticed any big increase in the neutering of dogs of either sex in our practice over the last ten years”, says Dr. Gordon, of his private veterinarian practice, located in San Diego, CA. He goes on to say, “There is a great cry about the dog birth rate, but we have detected no large shifts.”
Birth Control For Dogs?
Decades ago there was one large pharmaceutical company that came out with a shot that could be given to female dogs which would delay their heat periods for six months to a year. It worked very well, but in some cases the side effects were noticed. It turned out that many dogs so delayed had undergone ovarian and uterine changes that adversely affected their health. The drug was removed from the market, however, today these drugs come in various types and are readily available.
Are birth control pills safe for your older female dog? Not according to the possible side effects. While the pharmaceutical companies will boast about safety usage, use common sense before administering any chemicals to your dog and better yet – just have the operation done by your veterinarian. It’s safe, effective, and will not lead to deadly side effects.
Birth Control Chemicals Added To Pet Food?
Now there is new talk of a new chemical which is added to pet food and is supposed to have the same effect as birth control pills. It does prevent conception. Pet food marketers would include the chemical in marked cans and it would cost reasonably cheap in order to induce pet owners to use it.
This idea is still not developed and quite honestly I am not sure how well the public would accept such a drug in their dog’s food. Whatever happened to healthy living? And again, just like using common sense with any type of birth control drugs for your older female dog, refrain from using any chemicals if at all possible. Spaying is the safest route to take.
The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.