Typically, spaying refers to a female, when we do surgical sterilization, and neutering refers to a male. You could use them interchangeably and you'd be just fine.
Typically, we'll start talking about it through your puppy visits, as you're getting puppy vaccines and things like that. We'll talk more seriously about it at the four to six month age range. It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to spay or neuter at that age range, though that is an acceptable time for some dogs. I think it very much depends on your dog's age, breed, and size. There are many factors that will go into making that decision, so your vet will make the best decision for you and your puppy.
There are some behavioral conditions that if you're seeing them, it's time to start thinking about spaying or neutering if it's not been done already—things like urine marking in the house, some dominance-related behaviors, digging out from under the fence, and roaming. Spaying and neutering can also benefit certain medical conditions, especially in female dogs. If we can spay them before their first heat, we're much less likely to have incidents of mammary cancer. The aforementioned are all things to talk about with your vet, along with the benefits of the timing of that.
We'll typically recommend exercise restrictions for 10 to 14 days, so keep it to short leash walks to go potty and that's it. Do no other exercise, so that is something to plan for.
What care should I be prepared to provide at home while my dog is recovering from their spay or neuter surgery?
With that exercise restriction, oftentimes puppies are just going a hundred miles an hour, so we will send home or at least offer to send home some oral sedation that you can give to help take the edge off and keep them quiet and still. You'll want a small reduced area where they can't go roam through the whole house, jump on furniture, and that kind of thing. Choose a small room like a bathroom or a laundry room, or maybe use a series of baby gates so that you've got a small confined area that's a safe place for them.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (737) 777-8613, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.