Can Dogs Live Longer if They are Fixed?

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Introduction

Many people worry about getting their dogs spayed or neutered for a number of reasons. Some feel that their dog may not be the same after the procedure, others are worried about the pain and discomfort it may cause, and some think that this is something that may affect their pooch over the long term. 

However, it is important to remember that having your dog fixed can be highly beneficial, as it ensures that more unwanted puppies will not be put out into the world. Also, the procedures to sterilize a dog are sometimes linked with health benefits. But does fixing a dog help them to live longer?

Signs Your Dog Should be Fixed

If you have a puppy and you want to get them fixed, you will generally be advised to wait until they are at least 5-6 months of age, although your vet will be able to provide you with further information on the best time to get your specific pet fixed. 

If you have taken on an older dog, the procedure can be more stressful than for a puppy, but as long as the dog is healthy and able to cope with the surgery, it can still be done. Once done, it can help your dog to avoid various health problems and have a positive impact on the unwanted pet population by reducing unwanted canine pregnancies.

When your dog needs to be fixed, you may notice a number of indicatory signs. This includes displays of increased aggression, roaming and trying to escape from the yard, mounting amongst male dogs, urine marking, and even howling in a bid to attract a mate. 

By having your pet fixed, you can reduce or eliminate problems such as these in addition to potentially extending the life of your pooch.  If you have a female dog, you can also avoid the stress of suddenly finding yourself with a litter of puppies on your hands that then need to be homed. 

You should look out for the various body language signs that indicate your dog may need to be fixed. There are various signs that your pet may display and some of the ones to look out for include increased signs of aggression through actions such as growling, teeth baring, and fighting. You may also notice that your dog is scratching at the gate or door to get out and this is because dogs that are not fixed want to roam. If you are walking your dog, you may also notice that they try to get away from you desperately, particularly if another dog of the opposite sex is nearby.

There are some other signs that can indicate that it is the right time to get your dog fixed. They may become more aloof with family members because their mind is on something else. They may also become disinterested in activities and there could even be appetite changes. 

Body Language

Some signs that show your dog is ready to be fixed include:

  • Growling
  • Howling
  • Scratching
  • Exposed teeth

Other Signs

Other signs to watch for are:

  • Disinterested in Play
  • Eating Less Food
  • Restlessness
  • Escaping
  • Roaming

History of Dogs Getting Fixed

Over the years, pet owners have become more aware of the importance of spaying and neutering their dogs, but in the past, this was not necessarily the case. Many pet owners didn’t even entertain the idea of getting their dog fixed because they were not really aware of the dangers and problems that could stem from not having this operation performed. This included unwanted canine pregnancies as well as diseases that could have been prevented from having their dogs fixed, such as testicular or mammary cancers.

Fortunately, a lot of research has been carried out over the years and pet owners now have a far greater knowledge of the benefits of getting their dogs fixed. Responsible dog owners do not want to contribute to the population of stray dogs and unwanted puppies. 

In addition, they want to ensure that they take steps to prolong the life and aid the good health of their pets. We now know that getting your dog fixed can help to avoid various serious conditions and could enable your pooch to benefit from an increased lifespan and better health. That being said, every breed and every dog is different. So it's best to do research on the procedure you are thinking of having done and talking to your vet about your specific situation.             

Science Behind Getting Your Dog Fixed

The whole process of getting your dog fixed is a relatively simple one and generally your dog can be out of surgery and back home on the same day. When a male dog is neutered, basically they are castrated by their testicles being removed. With female dogs, the ovaries and the uterus are removed (sometimes called an ovariohysterectomy). 

This means that your male dog can no longer sire puppies and your female dog can no longer get pregnant. As a result of this type of surgery, the risk of conditions such as cancer of the ovaries or testicular cancer can be eliminated. That being said, certain bone cancers and other issues may develop from a procedure done before puberty is complete.

Helping Your Dog to Heal After They are Fixed

When you are having your dog fixed, you should first take them for a visit to the vet because blood tests may need to be performed to ensure that your pooch is healthy enough to have the procedure and that there are no problems. In younger dogs and puppies, there are generally no problems, but if you have taken on an older dog there could be some issues that may mean that your pet is unable to have the operation, at least for the moment.

Once your vet has confirmed that your dog is fine to have the procedure carried out, you simply book the day that you want it done. Your dog will only have to be in for the day providing there are no complications, so you can generally pick your pet up later on that same day. During the procedure, your dog will be under anesthetic, so when you do pick them up, don‘t be surprised if they are very groggy. Your pooch may also be nauseous and off their food for a short period because of the anesthetic and the procedure.

Before you take your dog in to be fixed, make sure you check with your vet with regards to any preparations that you have to be aware of. Usually, you should not give your dog any food for at least eight hours prior to taking them in. However, your pooch can drink water, so they won’t have to go thirsty. 

With this type of procedure, complications that are serious are not common at all. This means that you can book your pet in for a procedure that is considered largely safe and could save or prolong their life in the long run. 

Safety Tips for Having Your Dog Fixed

  • Check with your vet with regards to any other preparation.
  • Let your dog have water.
  • Have them fast for at least eight hours beforehand.
  • Do your research.