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My last dog came to me already spayed. I plan on getting a new dog within the next month as I have taken 2 weeks vacation and hope to use that time to watch after my puppy.

Was wondering at about what age is good for dogs to get spay/neuter surgery? Also what should I expect?
Do they need to wear a cone afterwards?
 

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Your first question is likely to open up quite a can of worms here. Is the dog a female or a male? The risks of not spaying are much higher than the risks of not neutering. First, you have unwanted litters, second you have pyrometra, which is a life threatening uterine infection. Most vets recommend spaying prior to the first heat, so usually around 5-6 months. Neutering does prevent testicular cancer and can prevent some behavioral issues when done early enough.

There is some evidence that sex hormones have influence over growth, so altered dogs are smaller than dogs altered as puppies. There has also been some evidence that the risk of bone cancer is somewhat higher in dogs that were altered as puppies, though that seems to be magnified in breeds with already higher rates of osteosarcomas.

Keep in mind, dogs will do anything to mate. Anything. If you aren't prepared to prevent your male from smashing through a wooden fence, then running a block on a broken shoulder and hopping over a 6' fence on a broken shoulder, don't keep your male intact. If you aren't prepared to keep males that determined away from your female, don't leave her intact.

As to what you should expect, most dogs are groggy and sick feeling after the surgery due to the anesthetic. Otherwise, they shouldn't be in too much pain, though, yes, some dogs need a cone to prevent them from licking or chewing at the incision. You can also use a t-shirt to cover the area, really anything that prevents them from being able to lick or chew at it. With a spay, the incision is larger and eventually fades away. With a neuter, the scrotum is left intact and gradually shrinks until it's unnoticeable. Sometimes, the scrotum swells, which happened with my dog, but it's not a big deal. Kabota didn't seem to be in any pain and I couldn't find his scrotum after a few months.
 

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It was all said very well above. If you can completely guarantee that your dog will not impregnate or get pregnant it is best for development for girls to wait after one or two seasons and boys - well...if you need to fix... probably the same. I never had a girl that needed the cone. They left the stitches alone - but every dog is different.
 

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Weigh the health pros/cons for your dogs.
As both of mine were rescues the decision was essentially made for me due to state law in Texas (the dog must be fixed prior to leaving the rescue's custody except in a few circumstances). However I would err on the side of fixing young as I live in dog friendly areas (which means there is always a willing male to impregnate my girls) and in a apartment. Un-spayed dogs are not welcome in the dog yards at the apartment, dog events around the city and dog park. I personally see the very high risk of my girls becoming pregnant (you cannot not walk a husky) as greater than the cons of not spaying. If we were adopting another dog I would fix it as well - the risk is too great in the area we live in.
Think it over using your life/lifestyle (how often are your dogs around other dogs, how far do you live from other dogs, how committed are you to keeping your dog away from others when in heat and keeping the dogs that come calling from your girl), etc.
Also consider your neighbors - I had someone put their male dog in my backyard before so he could impregnate Misty (without my permission) so he could have puppies with my dog - because the owner of the male dog thought they would be "beautiful puppies." Thankfully Misty was already spayed but people will do crazy things - so consider how well your dog can be protected from the stupidity of others as well.
As for after the spay -
Both my girls act a tad drunk the rest of the day. I feed them about 1/4-1/2 of what they usually receive for dinner. Sierra tends to be nauseated the day of so gets nothing. Sierra could not leave her stitches alone - so she wore a "cone of shame." You can try the t-shirt - at the time Sierra was spayed she had horrible fleas/ticks so I didn't want to pin them on her body (they were crawling off of her). They sent her home on pain medication as well and she was acting like her old self in a day or two. That being said most dogs perk back up in a day or two however they usually are not allowed to resume normal activity for a few weeks. We had to keep Sierra on a leash all the time to prevent her from jumping off of things, running, going under the shed outside, etc.
 

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Talk to your Vet for his opinion, but in the end it is mostly your choice. The general answer is to get your dog fixed around 6 mos, but there is significant debate about the timing... or even the need. In addition, timing can vary with breed... but the Vet can address that issue.

Note that fixing a dog guarantees on that the dog cannot produce puppies... everything else - personality, roaming, humping, aggression, weight gain, etc. .... may depend on the individual dog and owner. For example, I fixed my dog at 6 mos, but at 8 years old (!!!) he started humping female dogs... b/c he found a female in heat. Getting him fixed did not change his personality or energy level.
 
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