Q. How old does my dog have to be before she can be spayed?
A. Most vets would recommend spaying dogs at around 6 months of age, which is usually before their first season. Some vets prefer to wait until after the first season as there is some evidence that this may reduce the risk of urinary incontinence later in life – but most vets nowadays believe that the benefits of early neutering in terms of preventing cancer mean that it is preferable to spay before the first season. If your dog is older, then she will need to wait until 2-3 months after a season before being spayed.
Q. My dog is aggressive with other dogs – will castration help?
A. Probably – although there are many reasons for aggression and it may be that behavioural help is required. Castration removes the main source of testosterone from the body and this tends to reduce aggression related to dominance, but it will have little effect if your dog’s aggression stems from another emotion such as fear for example.
Q. I would like to have my male guinea pig neutered but I have heard that guinea pigs do not cope with anaesthetics well – is it worth the risk?
A. It is true that guinea pigs do suffer from a much higher level of anaesthetic risks than cats or dogs, so a neutering operation is less safe. There are also other risks due to the anatomy of guinea pigs which mean that they’re are prone to suffering hernias after the operation if it is not carried out carefully. However, most vets nowadays can deal with these issues and the incidence of problems is actually very low, so if there is a good reason to do the operation, I would recommend that you have it done.
Q. I am thinking of getting my dog spayed but have heard that she is likely to put on weight afterwards – is this true?
A. It is true that spayed dogs generally put on weight more readily than entire dogs – but it is easy to prevent any weight gain by simply reducing their daily intake of calories by 15-20% by either reducing the amount you feed or switching to a lower calorie ‘light’ diet.