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Prinna is growing up quickly, and I am starting to think about when/where to schedule her spay surgery.

I had been pretty convinced that it was better to wait a bit longer, to give her a chance to grow and develop with all of her hormone-producing organs intact. Now that we've waited, I've just read a pretty convincing article that says she should have been spayed sooner because healing and recovery would have been exponentially easier! So, just needing a little reassurance and any suggestions you may have on what our ideal timing is now that we're older than 6 months.

Next, I'm wondering where we should go for her spay surgery. I know that there are vet offices within an hour's drive that would probably cost less than the local office, but I'm not sure if increased travel time would just be an additional stressor (she is comfortable in the car under normal circumstances and is accustomed to car trips up to 2 hours long). I'm also not sure how to ensure that she is getting experienced care, or if that should even be a concern as I'm not sure how complicated spay surgery is in the grand scheme of veterinary care.

Finally, I'm wondering what everyone's opinion is re: the best environment for recovery. Do you think it's best if I have off of work for a few days (how many days)? Should I try to set her up at my parents' house on the same level as a fenced yard, for potty breaks? Or is it more important that she recovers in a quiet environment without other dogs inside, like my apartment, where we would have stairs or an elevator to contend with?

I may be overthinking things, but I can't remember what spay recovery was like for my childhood dog, and the two family dogs who have come along after her were shelter/rescue dogs, and already spayed when they came home. I try to read up on whatever I can find online, but it's hard to know which advice is the most current, esp. re: timing for spay surgery. TIA for any opinions and ideas!
 

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You'll find that there is not universally agreed upon "best" age to spay.

That said--
Volunteering in rescue, I regularly see adult females (and males) get fixed and while the plural of anecdote is not data, I have not seen anything to indicate that a healthy adult dog has a significantly harder time with a spay than a puppy and a bit to the opposite actually. An adult female has a lower chance of spay incontinence because the lady bits are full grown and, for both males and females, an adult dog in general is easier to keep calm during crate rest for the 10-14 days after surgery.

I would pick a vet clinic convenient to you because you will need to return to have sutures removed and in case of any complications. Spay and neuter surgeries are just about the most common surgery for dogs and I would venture a guess that most vets are pretty experienced with them. I mean, you're not looking at a specialist surgery or anything along those lines. Somewhere you can drop her off in the morning and pick her up in the evening and have a nice short drive home with your (probably) groggy and (possibly) carsick dog.

I prefer to schedule surgery for Fridays when I can be home the next two days but its also less about being home than just not being kept up at night that first night and still needing to go to work in the a.m. If they give fluids, a dog might have accidents inside or need to pee more often and some dogs have stomach side effects from the anesthetics. Not dangerous but just where you want to be home to rush them outside, ya know?

No running, no off leash play, no stairs if possible but elevator is fine and stairs slowly and carefully should be ok. Fenced yard for potty breaks is helpful in that no other strange dogs can run up on your dog; you still do potty breaks on-leash though.

For peace of mind, if you have the finances, get a complete blood panel work up (around here, $60-70). It is generally not needed/expected for dogs under around 6-7 years of age but it can't hurt to get a baseline of organ function and general "inner workings" but if the money is a stretch, don't stress that part. When my then-9.5 year old male went for knee surgery, I really liked seeing that results of the blood test showing that his organs were in tip-top form just like a much younger dog.

Remember no bathing a dog until the stitches are out so I recommend a good bath a day or two before surgery to reduce funk.
 

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The only thing I can add to what Shell had to say is that I tend to actively seek out and use the closest s/n clinic. I don't seek them out because they're cheaper but because they tend to have smaller incisions than my regular vet (probably due to practice), let me bring the animals home sooner (no overnights), and they use internal dissolvable stitches and external glue so there is no need for a return to have them removed.

So, that's my preference. what other people prefer and are comfortable with are going to very a LOT.
 

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We did it 2 weeks ago and my puppy was just 7 months. Honestly, she was miserable the first couple days. Stairs, jumping, running, playing with other dogs needs to be avoided to avoid stretching the stitches. I slept downstairs in the recliner for her for the 12 days she had her stitches on... took her on short 5 minutes walks in the street for potty breaks instead of letting her go alone in the yard.

She had bad nausea after the anesthesia so I'd keep that in mind too.. the car didn't help. The cone was horrible and my legs are still scarred all over from being slashed by the thing for 12 days! She was fine after 3 days though, just kept forgetting she had the thing on.

I second finding a vet close to you, we had to drop by for a script for pain meds and go back to take the stitches out (after 12 days). Now 2 weeks later she's back to normal activity-wise and the scar on her belly is already healed. I skipped the blood work as she's so young, but paid extra for pain meds etc.
 

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I have had several females spayed and have never needed to put a cone on any of them. I don't know if it was the way they were spayed as all were done at the same Vet. The stitches were dissolvable so never had to go back to get them removed. I did not let them run around and play with my other dogs for about ten days but other than that everything was normal. None of them were puppies so that could make a difference.
 

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am just sending good thoughts.... and be mindful of what pain meds they give you.
Pain meds-- good reminder.

Discuss with the vet the options for pain meds. Some old school vets don't give anything but I think that's a little rough. Tramadol is a common after-surgery painkiller but it is an opiate which means there are tight restrictions on prescribing it and it can be hard on the dog's digestive system (which means generally you either get only 1-2 days worth and that may not be long enough for the dog needing pain meds OR you get like a week's worth but the dog ends up with side effects after a day or two and then you have to properly dispose of the leftover pills).

My personal preference is a combination of 1-2 days of Tramadol for its extra-strength pain killing properties and then a few additional days of an NSAID like Deramax. Unless I already know a dog can't handle Tramadol, like my male, in which case for his knee surgery he got an injectable painkiller before leaving the vet and a full bottle of Deramax which I gave him full dose in beginning and then partial doses (its made split-able) as he healed. But that was a harder recovery than for a spay.
 

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Pepper was about 7 months when we had her spayed too. We didn't have to go back to have stitches removed, they used the dissolvable ones. We did get a cone for her, but she only wore it for a couple of hours, then we took it off because it just seemed to bulky and uncomfortable. We just watched her to make sure she wasn't licking the area too much and she didn't.

When we first got her home, she was really groggy and just cozied up in her blanket and stayed there all night. The next day she was back to her old self, wanting to run around and play. It's definitely easier to keep them calm if there are no other dogs around. She'll probably be more comfortable in her own home.

For the vet, I would use the one you trust the most. You can also call both to see what type of stitches they use, how long it will take, etc. and then decide from there. I wouldn't worry too much about the car ride. She'll be pretty tired anyway. I like Shell's advice about scheduling it on a Friday so you can be home with her for the first two days.
 

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I've never had to use a cone with any of my dogs (or cats, for that matter). If anyone seemed too interested in licking, a dab of bitter apple next to (NOT on) the incision took care of that. My last half dozen or so spays have used glue for the skin closure, so they haven't had any stitches to bother.

Do try to keep them quiet for at least a week afterwards.
 
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