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Answers from vets about your dog:

Why Should I Spay My Puppy?

Posted March 26, 2015 in Dog Surgery A-Z

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” (

Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, PA, contributed to this article.

Vaccinations, deworming and spaying a new puppy are all strong recommendations you may hear from your veterinarian. You may then be asking yourself why you should spay your puppy.

Definition of “spay”
Spaying a puppy means removing the ovaries only (ovariectomy) or removing the ovaries and the uterus (ovario-hysterectomy). Most U.S. veterinarians perform an ovario-hysterectomy. Spaying a puppy, as long as certain precautions are taken under anesthesia, is considered safer than spaying an adult because puppies tend to recover quicker. Most veterinarians recommend spaying puppies before 6 months of age.

Puppy playing with a ballSpaying to prevent more puppies
Spaying will prevent bringing more puppies into the world. Breeding a dog is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Breeders should be knowledgeable about genetics, breed standards and how to handle a pregnancy. Some dogs can have a litter of 8, 12 or even 14 pups! Are you prepared for that amount of dedication?

Puppies can be a lot of work, and cost a lot of money. Extra veterinary care during pregnancy and for the puppies themselves should be expected. Also be prepared for possible complications that may require a C-section. Although it may seem costly to have your dog spayed, it will be far less costly than an emergency C-section.

Spaying to prevent pyometra
Not spaying a puppy can lead to pyometra later in life, i.e., an infection of the uterus which causes it to fill up with pus. Murphy’s Law says that a pyometra is more likely to happen after hours—on an emergency basis, because early signs can be vague until your dog becomes very sick. Once again, it is much less expensive to spay your puppy than it is to take a chance with emergency surgery for pyometra. In addition, pyometra can cause serious kidney disease or could even be deadly.

Spaying to prevent mammary tumors
Not spaying a puppy before the first heat cycle increases the risk of mammary or breast tumors. The more heat cycles a dog goes through, the higher the risk. Half of these tumors are benign, while the other half are malignant, i.e. cancerous. Either

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. You can visit his website at, and follow him at