Most veterinarians strongly recommend that dog owners should have their pets spayed or neutered to manage temperament and control the pet population. While it goes without saying that the purpose of spaying and neutering is to prevent a litter of puppies, you may wonder about the effectiveness of these procedures.
If you think about it, most birth control methods for humans aren’t 100% effective, so it’s only natural that you may question whether or not your dog could possibly still produce puppies after spaying or neutering, especially if you have noticed that your dogs have still been trying to mate.
Fortunately, spaying and neutering are highly effective procedures, but there are still a few things that you should be aware of when having your dog spayed or neutered.
Can Dogs Still Have Puppies After Being Spayed or Neutered?
If you have had your female dog spayed, then the answer to this question is no. Spaying is also commonly known as an ovariohysterectomy and is similar to hysterectomy in humans. The procedure will completely remove your dog’s ovaries and uterus, so she will not be able to get pregnant, let alone carry a litter to term.
While the primary reason for spaying female dogs is to avoid pregnancy, the procedure may also be conducted as a treatment for false pregnancy, canine diabetes, or uterine infections. Nevertheless, the end result will be that your female dog will be completely sterilized and incapable of producing puppies.
Neutering is the sterilization procedure for male dogs. Also known as castration, this procedure will remove both of your dog’s testicles to prevent the production of sperm. However, neutering isn’t quite as effective as spaying. Initially, following the procedure, your dog will still be able to impregnate a female.
Can Male Dogs Still Mate After Being Neutered?
Technically, your male dog will still be able to mate to mate after he has been neutered, but there will no longer be any sperm in his ejaculate. Even though your dog will still have the capacity to mate, most likely he will have absolutely no interest in doing so.
Neutering your dog won’t necessarily deprive him of the pleasure of mating, but the procedure will inadvertently lower his levels of testosterone and decrease his libido. While neutering your dog is likely to reduce aggression as well as territorial and roaming behaviors, he may still occasionally attempt to mate, even if the procedure was done years earlier.
It’s only a natural instinct for males to be attracted to females, and this is no different in dogs. Neutered dogs may still attempt to hump a female that is in heat, but he’s unlikely to wander out of the yard to track down the scent of a nearby female dog, and the majority of the time he will show little, if any, interest in females.
That said, you should still be particularly cautious if your male dog has recently been neutered, as the sperm won’t be immediately eliminated from his body and it may take time for his testosterone levels to begin to decrease.
How Long After Being Neutered Can a Male Dog Still Breed?
Once your male dog has been neutered, you will still need to keep him away from females for four to six weeks after the procedure. Neutering will remove your dog’s testicles, so he will be incapable of continuing to produce new sperm, but there may still be some residual sperm left in his reproductive organs.
This built-up reserve of sperm will usually die off or become expelled from your dog’s body within a month, but in rare cases it could take up to six weeks after neutering for your male dog to officially become sterile.
Just to clarify, neutering eliminates the testicles, but your dog will still have an intact penis and will be capable of erections when exposed to the scent of a female in heat. This is only natural, and there is no need to be concerned as long as it has been at least six weeks since your dog has been neutered.
Additionally, it will take time for your male dog’s testosterone levels to decrease, so don’t expect the wandering and territorial behaviors to be immediately eliminated following the neutering. Also, keep in mind that dogs respond differently to being neutered, so there is a possibility that your dog will continue to engage in some of his former behaviors. Eventually, most neutered dogs will become more docile and less interested in their female counterparts.
Do Spayed Dogs Still Go Into Heat?
No, your spayed dog cannot actually go into heat, but in some cases she may still display the symptoms and behaviors of her typical heat cycle. Since the spaying procedure completely removes your dog’s ovaries and she will no longer be able to produce estrogen, it isn’t possible for her to go into heat. If your spayed dog continues to display physical and behavioral symptoms of heat, then she may have what’s known as ovarian remnant syndrome.
This means that when she was spayed, the veterinarian likely missed a tiny piece of her ovarian tissue, which has continued to remain functional. While this small piece of remaining tissue wouldn’t be sufficient to produce a pregnancy, your dog may continue to experience symptoms of a heat cycle and may need a second surgery to remove the remaining tissue.
Sometimes an additional surgery may not be financially or medically plausible, but in this case, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to manage your dog’s symptoms. If your spayed dog is still exhibiting behavioral signs of heat, but isn’t experiencing bleeding or swelling, there’s a good chance that the original surgery went fine and it’s a behavioral issue, not a medical one.
Regardless, you should promptly make an appointment with your veterinarian if your spayed dog is still displaying symptoms of a heat cycle. Occasionally, this could be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as a malignant tumor.