One of the questions I am most frequently asked by dog owners concerns the safety of neutering and spaying procedures in the Philippines.
This is perfectly understandable. Neutering and spaying pets is not a deeply ingrained practice in the country, and it is only recently that more Filipino dog owners are recognizing the existence of these procedures.
Thankfully, neutering and spaying dogs is a perfectly safe procedure in the Philippines. I have been having my dogs (and cats) neutered since 1993, and I am happy to say that all these animals recovered quickly from the procedure.
Most people ask me what I think are the benefits of fixing dogs. For me, the biggest benefit is that the males no longer go crazy and attempt to escape from the house whenever there is a female in heat. A lot of people do not realize that males can smell a female in heat even if she lives two blocks away, and would do anything to get to her. If you’ve ever seen those announcements of lost dogs or dogs that have been run over by vehicles, there’s a big likelihood that these were males on the prowl for a partner.
Let me tell you about my heart dog, Panda. At one year old, he determinedly found ingenuous ways to escape our house so he could go to the female in season living somewhere in the neighborhood. He managed to bore a hole through the window screen so that he could get to our front yard, then by some Houdini act, managed to squeeze through the grills, to escape our house. He refused to return the whole night. When he finally returned the next day to catch his meal, I kept him locked up in a room. Lo and behold, he managed to figure out how to open the door and escaped, this time breaking the back door. This went on for a few nights, and he even came home one night with a wound. Exhausted from worrying about him and having to search for him, I finally hauled him off to the vet to cut his balls.
So how did this story end? Let’s just say that he has not broken any windows or doors or escaped our home since then. He is now 10.5 years old, still energetic, and has not thought about chasing any more hot-blooded females living in the block. He remains the alpha dog at home, and has not gone down in rank simply because he has been neutered.
For females, the benefits are less dramatic although I do get peace of mind knowing that I no longer have to worry about pyometra, which is life threatening.
The other benefit, of course, is knowing that your girl will not get impregnated. Remember that hot-blooded male dogs from around your neighborhood can smell your dog, no matter how fortified your home is. The last thing you want to happen is for a dog to mate with your female without you knowing it, and next thing you know, you have a bunch of puppies that you’re not ready to have. (Yes this happens a lot.)
Another thing I like about neutered dogs is that they do not have that distinctive doggie scent. I haven’t really read anything that says something about this, but a lot of people ask me why my dogs don’t “smell like a dog” (go figure), and this is all I can think of.
Having a male dog neutered is a simple process. In my experience, my dogs didn’t spend more than half a day at the vet’s, and were up and about within a day.
It’s a little bit more involved and challenging when spaying females though. This is the equivalent of a hysterectomy in a human being, so the recovery period takes as long as a week and you have to pay attention to her wound.
One question that often springs up is when to neuter/spay a mini schnauzer. Vets seem to provide conflicting answers to this, although I find nothing wrong with waiting for a dog to attain its full adult size before doing the procedure. Personally, my non-breeding dogs are fixed at 2 years old (although I had six-month old puppies neutered and spayed uneventfully). For those breeding females whose lines I believe should be propagated, I neuter after the second pregnancy or at age 4, whichever comes first.
One last word: if you have a female dog, ask your vet what kind of spay procedure she will do. There are different kinds of spaying techniques, some of which spare the ovaries which secrete hormones that can benefit your dog.
Next time you’re worried about your dog’s attempts to escape to get to a nearby female, considering neutering him. You’ll be amazed at how it can ensure his safety.