If you're constantly hearing about the importance of spaying female dogs, make sure you're fully aware of the effects of not fixing them, too. Unspayed female dogs continue to go into their heat cycles regularly, which is a process that often leads to pregnancy and new litters of furry pups.
Spaying is a surgical procedure that is characterized by the permanent extraction of the reproductive organs, which stops the possibility of pregnancy from ever occurring. Without the uterus and the ovaries present, female dogs simply are no longer fertile. To conduct the surgery, veterinarians make small cuts into their abdomens, which allows for access -- and elimination -- of said organs.
Female dogs who are unspayed go into estrus. This is also known as "heat," and occurs about twice annually. When they're in estrus, they're in season and open to mating. They exhibit signs of estrus in different ways. Not only do they often give off bloody genital discharge, they often attempt to break away from home to encounter males for mating, behave in abnormally fidgety and nervous ways, try to invite mating acts by putting their bodies into position and urine mark -- a means of luring the boys in with their personal scents. Fierce behavior and agitation are also both characteristic of the classic canine heat cycle, which usually lasts between 6 and 12 days.
Female dogs who aren't spayed also often become pregnant -- as long as they've been around unneutered male dogs and mated, that is. Canine gestation generally takes around 63 days. If you think that your female dog might be pregnant, pay attention for hints of weight gain and changes in appetite. Toward the end of pregnancy as whelping gets closer and closer, you might also see your dog partake in nesting behaviors -- attempts to track down down an isolated, comfortable and calm spot in your home in order to give birth to her puppies securely. Take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you think she might be pregnant. Expectant canines require extra attention from their owners, including increased food portion sizes as parturition approaches.
If the effects of estrus and gestation are not what you want in your dog, and you don't plan on ever breeding her, then you might want to consider spaying surgery. It's extremely commonplace for female dogs to get fixed as puppies, even before sexual maturity happens in the first place. Talk to your vet to plan on a suitable spaying time frame for your precious pet.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: How Will Spaying Change My Dog?
- DogChannel.com: Spaying and Hunting Ability
- The Humane Society of the United States: Myths and Facts About Spaying and Neutering
- The Humane Society of the United States: Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Estrus or Heat
- Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital: Gestation in Dogs
- Quarry Hill Park Animal Hospital: Pregnant Dog Care
- Humane Society of Calvert County: Spay and Neuter Information
- UC Davis College of Veterinary Medicine: Spaying Your Cat or Dog
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