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FAQs - Why Desex?

Are you uncertain about desexing your pet? To help you to make an informed decision, we've gathered information, debunked myths, and provided insights into why desexing is beneficial and the best thing for your dog.
 

Why Desex? Your Guide to Making Informed Decisions

Desexing 101: Understanding the Basics 

Desexing, also referred to as neutering, spaying, or sterilisation, is a crucial decision for pet owners.

In simple terms, it involves the surgical removal of the animal's reproductive system to prevent breeding or having babies.


To desex a female dog the vet removes the ovaries and the uterus. Male dogs are neutered; the process involves a simple incision and the removal of both testicles.
 

Desexing is simply the BEST way we can reduce the number of unwanted dogs and puppies in New Zealand.

Rescues and shelters are overwhelmed and can’t keep up with the sheer numbers – and there aren’t enough homes available. We know that the very best thing you can do is to desex and help break the cycle, but we also understand there are lots of myths and misinformation about desexing your pets.

So let's break down common myths to help you navigate through the decision-making process.

Myth 1: They should have one litter before being desexed
 

Fact: Not only does this add to the population of puppies needing homes, but there is no evidence supporting the idea that female dogs benefit from having a litter before desexing! In fact, females that have not been spayed are at higher risk of developing cancers of the uterus, ovaries and mammary glands. They also risk complications during pregnancy and birth, which can be expensive or fatal for the mum and/or pups. And a male dog isn't going to 'miss out' or 'miss it' (see myth 6 for more). 
A litter is expensive for the owners. Puppies need to stay with their mum until they are AT LEAST 8 weeks old and need worming, flea treating, feeding, microchipping and you can't always guarantee they'll find a home...  

Myth 2: There are no benefits to desexing
 

Fact: Desexing has numerous health benefits, preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing the risk of various cancers and infections. For females, it prevents pyometra - a life-threatening infection - and it's advisable before the first season to reduce the risk of mammary cancer. Males benefit from a lower risk of prostate diseases and certain cancers.
 

Myth 3: Their behaviour will change after desexing
 

Fact: Desexing positively influences behaviour by removing hormonal fluctuations. It reduces unpredictability, aggression in males, roaming, marking, and the risk of injuries related to mating behaviours.

 

Myth 4: Desexed dogs will gain weight

Fact: While hormonal changes may slightly slow metabolism, desexing itself does not cause weight gain. And it's easy to manage weight with responsible feeding and exercise! 

 

Myth 5:  Desexing a trained guard dog will reduce his/her ability to guard
 

Fact: Guarding behaviour is instinctive and not altered by desexing. Desexed male dogs are less likely to wander, reducing the chances of getting hurt or lost while enhancing their focus on guarding.

 

Myth 6: My male dog will 'miss it'
 

Fact: Desexed dogs do not "miss" anything. Desexing eliminates mating behaviours, making them calmer, less prone to escape, and more focused on living their best lives. Your dog will not feel self-conscious after being desexed. Be sure you don't confuse your dog with you!

 

Myth 7: It's expensive


Fact: While desexing has an initial cost, it is a long-term investment in your pet's well-being - preventing potential expenses related to unwanted litters, emergency surgeries, and complications. 
Financial concerns? Explore our community desexing programme for support.


Myth 8: It’s not safe

Desexing is safe and recommended by experts. Like any surgery, there are some risks, but the procedure is performed in a sterile surgical suite by experienced vets, with careful monitoring and post-surgery care. Research shows that desexed dogs live longer and healthier lives.

Myth-busting

Desexing is performed as a day surgery. Like any surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. Before and after the surgery, the vet will administer pain relief.  Your dog will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your dog will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

 

All surgeries are done in a sterile surgical suite by our awesome vets. Your dog is under anaesthetic during the desexing procedure. Before they go in for surgery, they are examined before any anaesthetic drug is given, to make sure your dog is fit and healthy with no underlying problems. They are then monitored during the entire procedure for any signs of discomfort or distress.

 

Recovery:

Recovery involves keeping your pet quiet for a few days.

The recovery time varies, with female dogs taking around 10–14 days and

male dogs recovering in 3–7 days, depending on size and health.

Follow post-surgery care instructions provided by your vet.

What to expect

How old does my dog need to be?

Around 6 months is the most common age for desexing. Your dog must be 5-months-old to qualify for our community programme - however, they are never too old to be desexed! 


Desexing adult and senior dogs can reduce the risk of cancers and infections that can be expensive to treat - or fatal. 

  • Prevents false pregnancies in females

  • Eliminates “heat” cycles in females, which are often inconvenient and messy for owners.

  • It reduces the risk of your female dog being injured by roaming male dogs

  • Reduced roaming activity (in search of mates) - meaning they are also less likely to be hit by a car, get into a fight, or come into contact with infectious diseases and parasites

  • Less chance of developing certain kinds of cancers

  • Eliminates the chance of uterine infections and pyometra (in females)

  • Reduces fighting and aggressive behaviours, which reduces risk of wounds needing vet care or your dog contracting infectious disease spread by fighting

  • Reduces unwanted animals being attracted to your property by females in heat

  • Reduces urine and scent marking behaviour

  • Reduces dog registration fees

  • Desexed animals generally live longer, healthier, happier lives due to various health benefits, some of which are listed above.

     

(Thanks to the SPCA for the list of benefits)

What are the other benefits of desexing?

If financial concerns are stopping you from desexing your dog, our community desexing programme is here to offer the support you need.

 

Desexing is not just a responsible choice; it's a commitment to the well-being of your furry friend!

What to expect:

Desexing is performed as a day surgery. Like any surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. The vet administers pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

All surgeries are done in a sterile surgical suite by our awesome vets. Your dog is under anaesthetic during the desexing procedure. Before they go in for surgery, they are examined before any anaesthetic drug is given, to make sure your dog is fit and healthy with no underlying problems. They are then monitored during the entire procedure for any signs of discomfort or distress

 

Recovery:

Recovery involves keeping your pet quiet for a few days.

The recovery time varies, with female dogs taking around 10–14 days and male dogs recovering in 3–7 days, depending on size and health.

Follow post-surgery care instructions provided by your vet.

Myth 8: It’s not safe

Desexing is safe and recommended by experts. Research shows that desexed dogs live longer and healthier lives. The procedure is performed in a sterile surgical suite by experienced vets, with careful monitoring and post-surgery care.

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