Poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds, are relatively easy to take care of, and have loving and fun personalities. Paired with an adorable appearance, it’s no wonder future dog owners choose to purchase a Poodle. But should you spay or neuter your new furry friend? What’s involved with this sterilization process, when should it be done, and what are the pros and cons?
Spaying (female) and neutering (male) are sterilization procedures in which the reproductive organs are removed. Sterilization prevents unplanned litters, alleviates numerous health issues, and often curtails behavioral problems. Poodles should be spayed or neutered at six months for miniature and one-year standard poodles.
If you are a new Poodle parent, and want the best for your pooch, one primary concern will be spaying or neutering your dog. You have likely heard that you should spay or neater your pet. However, only when you have balanced the pros and cons for this procedure can can you make the best decision for you and your dog..
This article will share the process of spaying and neutering and the right age to do it. Plus, you will learn the health-and behavioral benefits and risks of sterilizing your poodle.
The Process of Spaying or Neutering a Poodle
If you are brand new to the dog-owning world, you might not be sure what the process of spaying or neutering entails. The good news is, both procedures are relatively standard. Your pet should be healed in less than two weeks. Understanding the process can help you make the right decision while also knowing how to care for your pet afterward.
Spaying a Female Poodle
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the term used for fixing a female Poodle. It is more intrusive than neutering and must be done under general anesthesia.
The procedure begins with a small cut to the lower belly. From there, the ovaries and uterus are removed. Successful surgery will end with the ovarian ligaments and necessary nearby blood vessels being secured. Lastly, the internal and external abdominal tissues are sutured.
Some veterinarians are adopting a less-intrusive method of fixing a female Poodle by simply removing the ovaries. This procedure is referred to as an ovariectomy.
Post-care involves bed rest for a minimum of 10 days. During this time, female Poodle owners should look for any signs of infection, including:
- Pale gums
If any of these conditions arise, it is essential to take your dog to the veterinarian right away. If no complications occur your poodle will not need to see the vet for two weeks after the surgery. At this point, the stitches will be removed.
During the post-op period, your female Poodle should get plenty of rest. After around 5 to 10 days, you can begin short walks on a leash. There should be no swimming, bathing, or running during this time. Moisture should not be introduced to the incision, which is why having a collar to stop your dog from licking the area is advised.
Neutering a Male Poodle
Neutering, is performed to fix a male Poodle. This procedure begins with general anesthesia and a small incision between the penis and the scrotum. The testicles are removed entirely.
Once the testicles are removed, necessary and nearby blood vessels are secured and cut. At the end of the procedure, stitches will be placed. They may be dissolvable or require removal from the vet.
The affected area will likely experience swelling for around three days. As a result, your pet may experience some minimal discomfort. Activities should be limited during the first three weeks following the surgery. Don’t be surprised, though, if your pup wants to run, jump, and play like usual.
A cone is also recommended after neutering. This is because your dog will likely want to chew and lick the area. If the wound opens, bleeding, swelling, and infection can occur. If you notice any of these symptoms, your male Poodle should see a veterinarian right away.
When Should I Spay or Neuter My Poodle?
One central question that arises when it comes to spaying or neutering is when to do so. This is especially true when it comes to the Poodle breed. Why? Because there are three different sizes to consider:
- Toy Poodles are typically around 10 inches tall and weigh 6-9 pounds.
- Miniature Poodles stand 11 to 15 inches tall with a weight of 15 to 17 pounds.
- Standard Poodles are the largest and can be over 15 inches with a weight of up to 70 pounds.
There is no one size fits all answer with such differentiation in sizes when it comes to spaying or neutering your poodle. You must look at the type of Poodle to find the right answer.
Proper Age to Spay or Neuter a Toy or Miniature Poodle
Since Toy and Miniature Poodles are small and typically weigh less than 45 pounds, they don’t follow the same recommendations as a Standard Poodle. Spaying and neutering for a small-sized Poodle should be done at around six months of age.
However, it is essential to note that female Poodles should always be spayed before their first heat. For most small-sized breeds, such as the Toy and Miniature Poodle, this means spaying as early as five months old.
Proper Age to Spay or Neuter a Standard Poodle
Spaying and neutering at six months old is the general recommendation for small dogs, such as the Toy and Miniature Poodle. But what about the Standard Poodle? The rules are a bit different for this large and lovable Poodle.
Standard Poodles should not be spayed or neutered until around one year old or later. This allows the dog to finish growing altogether before undergoing surgery. Having a large Poodle spayed or neutered too soon can result in complications. It can also cause further problems down the line, such as a higher susceptibility to hip dysplasia.
The best way to know when to have your Poodle neutered, especially when it comes to the Standard type, is to speak with your veterinarian. Plenty of factors go into play when choosing the right time, and it can be difficult for an owner to know what time is best.
What Happens if I Don’t Spay or Neuter My Poodle?
Hearing the procedure and understanding that some risks involved, such as infection, may lead an owner not to spay or neuter their Poodle. But pet owners need to understand what happens if they don’t spay or neuter their pet.
What Happens if You Don’t Neuter Your Male Poodle?
Not neutering your male poodle may result in him being far more aggressive. Leaving the testicles intact will produce a lot of testosterone, and as a result, your male poodle may feel more aggressive and want to be the top dog. This could lead to violence between other male dogs and humans.
Additionally, a male Poodle that is not neutered will be a lot more sexually active and energetic. This can result in undesirable humping throughout the home. More worrying is your Poodle may go out and seek females to mate with.
A Poodle that is not neutered and unable to fill his sexual desire can become agitated and stressed. In the end, this leads to an unhappy dog that can act out in a variety of ways, from being aggressive and ornery to causing damage in your home.
What Happens if You Don’t Spay Your Female Poodle
The biggest problem with not spaying your Poodle can be described in one word: heat. When a dog goes into heat, the only thing they want to do is breed. Your dog’s heat cycle will bring about an unpleasant experience for the dog and owner.
During heat cycle, the un-spayed female poodle will:
- Have a bloody discharge, which can stain your carpet and furniture.
- Hump everything and everyone in sight.
- Encourage males around her to breed with her.
- Groom her swollen genitals obsessively.
- Try and escape the home or yard to mate with a male. This can lead to a missing Poodle situation, which is something that leaves the entire family upset.
Of course, if your female Poodle is successful at mating with a male, you may end up with a liter whether you want to or not. Unfortunately, puppy birth is a risk for your pup too. In some cases, a dog can die during puppy birth.
There is also a high chance that your dog will develop a deadly infection known as pyometra if left un-spayed. Pyometra causes the uterus to swell up with toxic pus. If pyometra grows, your Poodle will need to have an emergency spay.
Benefits and Risks of Neutering a Male Poodle
Knowing the procedure and what can happen if you don’t neuter your pet male Poodle often is enough to make a definite decision. If you are on the fence regarding neutering, you need to outweigh the benefits and the risks. Below, you will assess all of the benefits and risks of neutering a male Poodle that you need to know.
Benefits of Neutering a Male Poodle
There are many health-related benefits when it comes to neutering your male Poodle. These health benefits include:
- The risk of testicular cancer is eliminated entirely.
- The risk of developing prostate issues is reduced significantly.
- Neutering prevents perineal hernias.
Perineal hernias are a common occurrence in which the abdominal organs protrude through the pelvic canal. This condition requires surgery to correct, although it is not life-threatening. In return, your Poodle can live a healthier and longer life with you and your family.
Aside from health benefits, neutering also brings about behavioral benefits:
- there is less fear of your dog becoming aggressive towards other males. –
- Male Poodles may also stop marking their territory in the form of urine.
- eliminates the chance of your Poodle impregnating a female.
Pregnancy prevention is especially important because unwanted puppies often end up in a shelter. Unfortunately, most of the time, sheltered pups never find a home. The chance is higher for puppies. But with more puppies in the shelter, there is far less opportunity for elderly dogs that need homes to be picked.
Risks of Neutering a Male Poodle
Just as there are many benefits, there are a few risks to consider. The good news is, there isn’t too much to worry about when it comes to neutering. The hardest part is ensuring that your dog gets the necessary rest time and leaves the area alone a few days after its procedure.
One possible risk that comes from neutering a male Poodle is a delay in growth-plate closure. However, this is not a significant risk. In fact, X-rays have proved that the delay is an extremely minute difference that does not lead to any further problems down the line.
A single study has shown that cardiac tumors can occur as a result of neutering. However, this risk is primarily debated, and there is not much proof of this occurrence. The only study conducted showed only a slight chance of cardiac tumors resulting from neutering, and shouldn’t be a widespread fear for your pup.
There are a few concerns of cancer regarding neutering, too, although these are minute. Some research suggests that there is a higher chance of developing prostate or bladder cancer. However, both are very rare in canines, making them a small concern. More concerning is a higher chance of spleen or bone cancer.
Benefits and Risks of Spaying a Female Poodle
As with male poodles, being familiar with the spaying procedures can help bring peace of mind and clarity when deciding whether or not to spay your female poodle. While there are some positive benefits to spaying your dog, there are some risks you should be aware of. Below, I’ve compiled the most important benefits and risks of spaying your female poodle.
Benefits of Spaying a Female Poodle
There are many health-related benefits when it comes to neutering your male Poodle.
These health benefits of spaying a female poodle include:
- Spaying Eliminates the risk of Pyometra (infection of the uterus)
- Spaying reduces the the risk of developing mammary cancer by up to 99.5% if performed in the first year of life.
- Spaying increases life expectancy by 26% as compared with intact female poodles.
Studies have shown spaying significantly increases longevity in female poodles by reducing the risk of developing Cancer. Additionally, Spaying reduces the risk of trauma from cars and other accidents.
Check out this article I recently wrote on cancer in poodles. In it, you’ll learn which cancers are most common in poodles and the symptoms that may suggest the onset of cancer.
In addition to health benefits, spaying also brings about behavioral benefits:
- Less aggressive behavior towards both dogs and people.
- A decreased urge to roam
- Less irritability due to more consistent hormone levels.
Female poodles often experience significant changes hormonal changes during their heat cycles. Most dogs become testy or even experience pain due to the process of ovulation. Spayed poodles do not experience these hormone changes as the Uterus and ovaries are removed.
Risks of Spaying a Female Poodle
Even though the benefits of spaying are many, there are a few risks. Often, poodle owners don’t even consider the risks involved with spaying their pet. A poodles age. weight, and breed, if a mix, can all affect the risk factors involved in spaying your dog.
Spaying a female Poodle involves major surgery and requires general anesthesia. While most spaying procedures go well with no complications, some dogs do react negatively to anesthesia. However, on average, only 5% of procedures encounter a serious complication and less than 1% die from a serious reaction.
Urinary incontinence can result when spaying a female poodle. On average, 5 to 20% of all spayed poodles lose some splinter control resulting in a reduced ability to hold urine. Overweight dogs are much more lily to develop incontinence than dogs of a healthy weight. However, Incontinence resulting from spaying is often easily controlled with medication provided by your vet.
Spaying can slightly increase the risk of developing some forms of cancer. In rare cases, carcinoma of the bladder, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma can grow as a result of reduced sex hormones.
Poodle Neutering Myths
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths circulating in regards to neutering. These myths can make it more challenging for a male Poodle owner to make a final decision on whether or not to neuter their dog. Well, below, you will find a list of a few myths that have been debunked.
Neutering Causes a Poodle to Gain Weight
This is simply not true. Neutering does not correlate with weight loss or gain. The only thing that will cause your Poodle to gain weight is a lack of exercise and/or overfeeding. It is essential to know how much food to feed your Poodle, depending on its size. Also, make sure you are getting the recommended amount of exercise per day.
Behavior Changes Occur When Neutering a Poodle
This is true, but it’s actually a benefit. The only behavioral changes that occur are favorable chances. For example, a neutered Poodle will be less likely to mark his territory with his urine. He will not become aggressive with other males or humans. It will also not feel as inclined to run away to find a partner to breed with.
Neutering a Poodle is Expensive
Although neutering might cost up to $200, neutering is still less expensive than having and raising a litter of puppies. Plus, plenty of organizations – such as the ASPA – offer low-cost neutering services to help Poodle owners make the right choice for their dog.
Neutering a Poodle is Unhealthy
Another central myth is that neutering is unhealthy for dogs, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Neutering is actually healthy for your male Poodle. Look back at the benefits section. Neutering reduces prostate issues and diseases while eliminating testicular cancers entirely.
Sexual Frustration can Result From Neutering
The simple answer to this is no. Your male Poodle will not become sexually frustrated after its surgery. Your Poodle will have no concept of sexuality and no desire to mate. This is because canines mate due to triggered hormones. Without the testosterone hormone, there is no need for breeding.
Neutering Causes a Loss of Stamina in Poodles
This is a common myth, but there is no correlation between neutering and a lack of stamina. Endurance levels should remain the same. If your Poodle has become sluggish, it may need a change to its diet or increased endurance activities.
Purebreds Should Always Breed
Since purebreds are so highly sought after, most people think they must breed their Poodle. However, this is simply not the case. There are plenty of purebred Poodles in shelters across the country. They can easily be found and adopted.
Indoor Male Poodles Do Not Need to be Neutered
If he is always inside, then there is no worry of him going out and breeding, right? Not at all. Although your Poodle may be an indoor dog, his overpowering desire to mate will override his “rules”. He will likely find a way out of the home in his hunt for a female.
Neutering Affects a Poodle’s Protective Nature
Some might think that a neutered dog will lose its protective tendencies. This simply is not the case, especially when it comes to a Poodle. A protective personality stems from genetics and training, rather than sex hormones. Poodles do not have the genetics to be good guard dogs. However, with proper training, they can be protective – and it has nothing to do with neutering.
There are plenty of concerns and myths when it comes to spaying and neutering. The best thing to remember is that spaying and neutering come with a slew of benefits, not just for your pet but for shelters and sheltered animals. Both procedures are prevalent and don’t come with too many risks, as long as you take care of your pet afterward.