Neutering is the term used for the surgical procedure to prevent animals from breeding. In females, this is called spaying and in males, castration. The procedure involves removing the organs responsible for breeding. Neutering is performed for a number of reasons, mainly based on the sex of the animal. Female dogs come into season on average every 6 months. This involves a period of 2-3 weeks during which she is very attractive to male dogs. For the first half of this season, there will be a bloody discharge from the vulva. Some bitches, after a period of 4-6 weeks, will have a false pregnancy where they may produce milk and their behaviour may change. Neutering will stop the season's accompanying changes. A neutered bitch will never get a potentially fatal condition called pyometra where their womb becomes infected. There is also evidence that shows neutered bitches have a lower incidence of mammary tumours.
Male dogs mature around 6-8 months of age. At this point, they will become very attracted to dogs in season and will mark their territory by urinating. They can often run off, looking for bitches in heat and may disappear for days. Neutering prevents this.
Dogs may be castrated at any time over 6 months of age. Bitches need to be neutered at a time that fits in with their natural cycle to make the surgery as safe as possible. We recommend doing this either 4 weeks after their season has finished or else between 3-5 months after a season. Unless there are any complications, which are rare, neutered dogs go home the same day as their surgery. Normally within 1-2 days they are back to normal, although we recommend keeping them quieter until the stitches are removed 10 days later. Male dogs may be fertile for up to 6 weeks after castration.