​Dog Neutering and Spaying FAQs

​Bringing a mischievous bundle of fur home is so much fun. When you’re teaching your puppy to sit and tickling their tummy, it’s unlikely that the thought of them having their own litter will even cross your mind.
Woman cuddling puppy
Woman cuddling puppy
Woman cuddling puppy

However, neutering your dog will help them avoid any unplanned pregnancies and make them less susceptible to certain diseases. It may also improve any behaviours that are sexually-driven.

Spaying or neutering your dog plays a big part in responsible pet ownership. Make sure you have all the information you need before making this big decision.

Our Purina Pet Care Team are here to answer some of your commonly asked questions about neutering, so you’ll be able to make the best decision for you and your dog.

What is neutering?

Neutering or spaying a dog is a common routine operation where your dog’s reproductive organs are removed. For male dogs this involves the removal of the testicles, and for females the procedure means the removal of their ovaries and sometimes womb.

For male dogs, neutering can also be known as castration. This is usually a very straight-forward operation which they should recover from rather quickly. However, the procedure may be a little more invasive if your dog’s testicles hasn’t dropped by 6 – 12 months old. In this case, they will need to be assessed by your vet.

For bitches, neutering can also be called spaying. This operation is more invasive than the equivalent operation for males and is done via an incision along her tummy. You may also request that the operation be conducted via keyhole surgery - doing so can decrease recovery time by 3 days.

After the operation, your vet will give your dog pain-relief injections to ease any post-surgery discomfort. They will also provide you with anti-inflammatory medicine and painkillers to give to your dog at home as part of their after-care.

Talk to your vet as soon as possible if you are thinking of neutering your dog, as they will be able to answer any questions that you have, such as possible side effects, the cost of neutering a dog, and more.

Why should I neuter my dog?

​Your dog or bitch should reach sexual maturity at around 6-7 months old, but this can vary slightly depending on their breed.

There are several advantages of neutering that your dog can benefit from such as:

  • Prevents testicular tumours and reduces the risk of prostate cancer and other infections.
  • Decreases the possibility of tumours and hernias around the bottom, which are common in older, un-neutered dogs.
  • Can reduce certain aggressive impulses, which can decrease the likelihood of your pet hurting himself, or others, by fighting.
  • Prevents your dog straying away from home in search of a mate.
  • It can improve sexually-driven behaviour such as marking his territory or trying to mate with objects/people.
  • Reduces the chances of her developing breast (mammary) cancer.
  • Prevents uterine and ovarian cancer, as well as other life-threatening uterine infections.
  • Removes the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.


How do I get my dog neutered?

​To get your dog neutered, book an appointment with your vet. You may be required to bring your pet in for a pre-anaesthetic check-up before they have the operation.

Your vet will request that you don’t feed your dog the night before their anaesthetic. Make water available as normal but pick it on the morning of the procedure to make sure that they don’t drink anything before surgery.

What post-surgery care will my dog need after being neutered?

​Female dogs

  • Stay with or near to your pet for the first night after their operation, just in case.
  • The anaesthetic used for your dog’s operation can make her a little disorientated, so she might whine or cry. This shouldn’t be anything to worry about but contact your vet if it continues.
  • Give your bitch bland food for her first few meals after her operation, as her stomach may be a little sensitive.
  • You will be provided with medication to give to your dog to aid her recovery. This can include painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Your vet will organise appointments 3 and 10 days after their operation to check that they are recovering well.
  • Unless you’ve opted for keyhole surgery, neutering female dogs requires quite a large incision. Check the wound regularly to ensure that it is healing and contact your vet if you notice it worsening in any way.
  • To stop your dog from licking, biting or scratching her stitches, she will have to wear a “cone” buster collar. You can dress her in an old t-shirt if she finds the collar too uncomfortable.
  • To protect her stitches and allow them time to heal, prevent your pet from jumping and walk her on a lead until she is given the all-clear by the vet.
  • If non-dissolvable stitches are used, your vet will provide a date when they should be removed. This is usually around 7-10 days after the procedure.


Male dogs

  • Stay with or near to your pet for the first night after their operation, just in case.
  • Your pet might whimper or whine as they recover from the anaesthetic. Don’t worry – this may just be because they are disorientated. If it continues, contact your vet.
  • Dogs can sometimes experience an upset tummy as a reaction to the anaesthetic. Help them avoid this by giving them bland food for their first few meals after their operation.
  • Give any medication provided by your vet for post-surgery care. This can include painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Your vet will schedule check-ups 3 and 10 days after your pet’s operation to monitor their recovery.
  • Your dog can go outside the day after their operation but walk them on a lead until they get the all-clear after their 10 day check-up.
  • To stop them licking or scratching their wound, dogs will have to wear a buster “cone” collar for up to 10 days after their operation. If this irritates your pet, wearing a t-shirt may be more comfortable for them.


Weight gain

Sometimes neutering is associated with weight gain due to the hormonal changes that take place after neutering. You can help them stay fit with regular exercise and by reducing their calorie intake with smaller food portions, as they won't may not need quite as much food as before. You can help them stay fit with regular exercise and by reducing their calorie intake with smaller food portions.

What if I think my dog is already pregnant?

Often dogs do not show many obvious physical symptoms until they are well into their pregnancy. You can read more about the signs of pregnancy in our Spotting the Signs of Pregnancy article if you think that your dog is expecting, speak to your vet who will be able to confirm this. It may be possible that she can still be neutered whilst pregnant, which will end her current pregnancy and prevent any more in the future.

Your vet will be able to give you more information to help you decide about neutering your dog whilst she is pregnant. At the end of the day, neutering is completely your decision to make, based on what is best for you and your dog. If you have any further questions about neutering your dog, speak to your vet.


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If you’d like more information on Dog Neutering and Spaying FAQs or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM