Owning a Dachshund puppy is an experience like no other and as your puppy grows you will be experiencing a lot of things and making a lot of big decisions for your puppy.
What type of vaccinations should you approve for your puppy, what heartworm preventatives, what flea and tick preventatives, what food should they eat, type of treats and toys, and the list keeps going on and on until you get to the big question: when do you spay or neuter your Dachshund?
While you should always speak with your veterinarian about such important decisions, you also need to do your own research regarding this somewhat controversial topic. Society says if you are not breeding your dog, you should spay or neuter and while I was once one of those people, I have to say times have changed a bit and I am not such a hardcore advocate for spaying and neutering.
Let me explain a bit before you go off the rails on me. The overall health risks to your dog when you spay or neuter sometimes outweigh the benefits of sterilizing your Dachshund. While I do place many of my puppies in pet homes with families and I do discuss spaying and neutering, I rarely require a puppy to be sterilized. I leave that decision to the new puppy’s family.
Recent research published in veterinary medicine journals in the United States and Europe have found that in certain breeds, spaying and especially neutering is possibly associated with an increased risk of developing joint disorders such as cranial cruciate ligament tears or ruptures, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia.
Research has also found a link between spaying and neutering and an increased risk of certain cancers including mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, and hemangiosarcoma. Weight gain and urinary incontinence are also significant side effects of spaying and neutering.
Once you have made the decision to spay or neuter your Dachshund, the next big question will obviously be when should I schedule the surgery?
When Should I Get My Dachshund Fixed?
This is a very tricky question and you will get answers from across the board ranging from 8 weeks old to 6 months old to two years old. So, which is correct?
Way back in the day when my parents started breeding dogs, the norm was to have a male puppy neutered at 6 months of age and a female puppy spayed at 8 months of age. That really was the norm until the early 2000s when rescues and animal rights groups started pushing for even earlier sterilization and puppies as early as 8 weeks old were being spayed and neutered.
Thankfully, most responsible veterinarians have moved away from early sterilization and are back on board with the at least 6 months of age norm. However, recent studies have shown that dogs should reach their full maturity before they are spayed or neutered. The American Kennel Club has even posted these new guidelines.
Simply put, a toy breed dog will reach their full maturity quicker than a large or giant breed. A toy breed should generally be spayed or neutered somewhere between 1-2 years of age. Brachycephalic toy dogs should wait until around 2 years of age. Large and giant breed dogs should be spayed or neutered after 2 years of age.
By taking the sex organs and diminishing the hormones too early, a dog does not reach its full potential and it does tend to be smaller than those of its breed that have their reproductive organs and those that were sterilized after reaching maturity.
You also run the risk of their skeletal system not fully developing and having health issues as your Dachshund ages. While heat cycles in females can be messy, there are doggy panties for such instances, just as they make belly bands for male dogs exhibiting marking behaviors.
You do want to wait at least 60 days after your Dachshund female has had a heat cycle before you schedule a spay. A female dog has a higher chance of bleeding out during surgery during and immediately after being in season.
What is The Process of a Spay or Neuter?
The procedure of neutering your Dachshund should always be carried out by a veterinarian or a trained professional. It is a simple procedure which stops your dog from breeding.
For the male dog, castration is done by removing the testicles while the dog is under anesthesia. If you would rather keep your dog’s testicles intact, newer procedures at several top veterinary hospitals and teaching universities are performing vasectomies as a way of keeping the dog from producing offspring.
Spaying is when the female Dachshund will have its uterus and ovaries completely surgically removed to stop your dog from getting pregnant. Spaying is also done while your dog is under anesthesia. It does take a female longer to recover from a spay, generally 10 to 14 days before stitches are removed.
Why is Spaying and Neutering Important?
At one time, I was a very vocal advocate for spaying and neutering and I still feel that there are times when it is important. However, I am less inclined to push sterilizing your Dachshund unless there is a medical issue that requires spaying or neutering.
I am also for spaying or neutering when the dog owner has shown negligence in keeping their dogs contained to their property and their dogs are running at large. These are not responsible owners and no matter the breed, they should spay or neuter their dog to keep unwanted puppies from occurring.
Owners who are responsible and keep their dogs properly housed and understand about heat cycles for female dogs and how to keep their dog from becoming pregnant should have the option of spaying or neutering their pet instead of being forced to do so.
Veterinarians often push hard for pet owners to have their dogs spayed or neutered because of the millions of mixed breed and purebred dogs that are euthanized each and every year due to neglect and irresponsible breeding.
Dachshunds are a very popular breed around the world and therefore people feel they can breed their Dachshund to make money quickly. However, if they have not educated themselves on how to properly rear a Dachshund litter, they should not breed their dog.
Female Dachshunds usually come into season or estrus for the first time around 6 months of age and will generally cycle every 6 months. There are some bloodlines where the females cycle every 8 months. But, breeding a female Dachshund several times in her lifetime can be hard on her, especially if you are not familiar with proper diet, supplements, and exercise between pregnancies.
It is important to know the pros and cons of having your Dachshund spayed or neutered so you can make an informed decision and are not at the mercy of your veterinarian. You still want to be respectful of your veterinarian and listen to their arguments but in the long run, this is your Dachshund and it is your decision.
Pros of Spay/Neuter
Here are some of the pros to getting your Dachshund spayed or neutered:
Disease Prevention: When removing the uterus and ovaries of a female dog, you no longer have to worry about cancer developing within these reproductive organs. Neutering will also prevent testicular cancer and hernias.
Less unwanted litters: Though life is a gift, in some situations, the birth of a litter isn’t always a beautiful experience, especially if a puppy or the mother dies from preventable conditions such as the elements, disease, starvation, etc.
With fewer accidental litters happening and cautious, educated pet parents on the lookout, we as a society can control overpopulation and direct our focus to ensure every Dachshund gets a good and loving home.
Reduces mounting: Once your Dachshund is neutered, they will less likely feel the need to mount other dogs and even humans as they no longer have that urgent drive to reproduce. This will also alter how they interact with other male dogs as there is less of a need to dominate for the first breeding pick, making taking your Dachshund to the dog park much more stress-free.
Keeping the balance: Research has shown that you as an individual actually help reduce the overpopulation issues in your community when deciding to spay or neuter.
Fixing your Dachshund also means fewer animals that may wind up on the street or euthanized in shelters. This is an issue that also affects wildlife as they fight against one another to survive, meaning this procedure actually protects dogs from becoming injured or killed.
Cons of Spay/Neuter
Here are some cons of getting your Dachshund spayed or neutered:
Sterilization: Altering your dog means there is no going back after the surgery is complete. Because a dachshund’s reproductive organs are removed when undergoing a spay or neuter, it means that they become fully sterile and will be unable to reproduce for the rest of their lives.
That is unless you are able to have a vasectomy performed on your male. If this is the case, just like with humans, it can be reversed and the dog can reproduce.
No guarantee with behavior: Just because you get your dog fixed does not mean it is a quick solution to correct their behavioral problems. Though your Dachshund will have a less directed form of aggression, there are many cases where they will still be aggressive and fight with other dogs even after being spayed or neutered.
Increases certain diseases: It has been said that spaying and neutering can increase the risk of your Dachshund developing Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), especially if the surgery is done before they are fully mature.
There may also be an elevated risk of developing joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tears or ruptures. There is also an increased risk of certain cancers including lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma.
Health Benefits and Risks Associated with Spays and Neuters
There is no doubt that the evidence shows both the positives and negatives with the surgical procedures of spaying or neutering. Even though the idea of spaying and neutering depends on many different situations, with the newest research, case studies, and technologies, we can conclude these facts:
That there is a positive side of neutering including:
- Eliminates the risk of contracting testicular cancer
- Reduces risk of perianal fistulas
- It might reduce the risk of diabetes
- Reduces the risk of non-cancerous disorders occurring in the prostate
That there is a negative side of neutering including:
- Triples the risk of hypothyroidism
- Increases risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by 1.6%
- Increases risk of orthopedic disorders such as elbow and hip dysplasia
- Doubles the small risk of urinary tract infections by 1%
- Increases risk of certain cancers such as lymphoma and mast cell tumor
Getting the female dog spayed is a bit more complicated than neutering the male dog because the surgery is a little more complicated. Here are some of the pros and cons of getting your female dog spayed:
The positives of getting your female dog spayed includes:
- Removes risk of ovarian tumors if done before the age of 2
- Nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra; a form of infection that affects around 23% of intact females
- Removes risk of ovarian tumors
- Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
The negatives of getting your female dog spayed includes:
- Increases risk of recessed vulva
- Causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 35-45% of female dogs; especially as they age
- Increases risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
- Increases risk of urinary tract tumors
Ultimately, it is your decision to get your Dachshund spayed or neutered. That is, unless you are under a contractual obligation with your Dachshund’s breeder to have the dog sterilized. Weighing the pros and cons of a spay or neuter is a daunting task.
Speak with your breeder and your veterinarian and then make the best decision for you and your Dachshund.
Aside from the traditional surgical spay where the uterus and ovaries are removed and the traditional surgical neuter where the testicles are removed, there are newer procedures that are proving effective in the sterilization of canines.
Chemical Neutering: This is a method used on younger dogs (3-10 months) that is meant to render the male sterile in a non-surgical form by injecting chemicals in the testicles to disrupt hormone-producing cells. This approach is a newer one, and studies show great promise for short-term effects but have yet to see how well it works in the long run.
Vasectomy: This is a procedure that allows the dog to keep all of his testicular tissues intact and their sex hormones, unlike neuter, and is done by disrupting the tube where the sperm travel so that they cannot reach the outside world.
Tubal Ligation: Akin to a vasectomy in males, this procedure will prevent female dogs from getting pregnant and essentially have the female’s tubes tied as a form of permanent birth control.
Ovary-sparing spay: This is very new to the world of procedures that remove the entire uterus but leaves the ovaries behind. These dogs will still attract males as the sex hormones are produced by the ovaries primarily. They will also not bleed during their heat but having no uterus might lead to infections in the cervices.
How Much Does It Cost to Neuter Your Dachshund?
When it comes to having your Dachshund fixed, it can cost anywhere between $50 to $150 for a neuter and $150 to $300 for a spay. This depends on where you live and is for a traditional spay or neuter.
Spaying is considered a more complex surgery because it requires the surgeon to create a small incision to locate and remove the ovaries and uterus; because of this, prices are generally a bit higher as the spay surgery tends to run longer than that of a neuter surgery.
What to Expect After Surgery?
When your Dachshund is discharged from the animal clinic and brought home, you will want them to be as comfortable as possible. Even though it might be hard to not worry about your pet, know that the recovery time will be fast, and your dog will be living a happy life just like before the surgery.
Dogs that get spayed and neutered normally have a speedy recovery of around 7-10 days. Your dog should have its appetite and spunk back within 32 hours after the surgery. Depending on your Dachshund’s personality and age, their recovery can cause them to be hyperactive or quiet after the surgery and it is important to know that this is completely normal.
Male dogs will have an incision on each side of the scrotum that must be kept as clean as possible, while females will have a mid-line cut on their abdomen, both of which should only have minimal swelling or redness.
As you wait for the sutures to be removed or as they dissolve, you need to keep your Dachshund’s activity level at a minimum for the first week and a half while they heal because you do not want them to stretch or tear open the wound. It might be hard to keep your dog’s activity level down but do your best to not get them overly excited while they are healing.
You might wonder how you can keep your dog from getting an infection after the surgery and the truth is, the best thing that you can do to ensure their recovery is fast and effective is to leave your Dachshund’s cone on them if the vet gives them one or use a baby’s onsite to cover the incision site.
Debunking Spaying and Neutering Myths
- Your pet will not be automatically happier or healthier if they are not spayed or neutered. Your dog’s happiness will only depend on their enrichment, healthy diet, stimulation levels being met, and the level of love you show them, whether they are fixed or not.
- Your female does not need to have a litter before being spayed. There is no science behind the reasoning that your female dog should have a litter before spaying. In fact, most vets prefer your Dachshund to be spayed sooner, usually before her first heat, rather than later to keep her health intact.
- Getting your dog fixed will never negatively change your male dog’s personality; in fact, having your dog neutered aids in removing those steady streams of hormones and gives your dog a break.
- No longer constantly thinking with a drive to expand territory and fight for reproduction rights, it allows your dog a chance to spend more time focusing on other things.
- Your dog will not get fat after surgery; sure, there is a chance of gaining a few pounds, but gaining more than that is due to overfeeding, lack of dietary restrictions, and providing your Dachshunds with a few too many snacks.
While I still feel spaying or neutering your pet is a good idea in certain circumstances, I am not a firm believer that every pet should be spayed or neutered. There are several responsible owners out there who are capable of managing their dog’s heat cycles without any unplanned/unwanted pregnancies.
For those who do want to spay or neuter or there is a medical reason for your Dachshund to be spayed or neutered, that is most certainly your right as a pet owner. Take into account your Dachshund’s age and the newer recommendations of spaying or neutering between 1-2 years of age or even older.
Talk with your veterinarian and your breeder to figure out if spaying or neutering is your best option for you and your Dachshund. Any surgical procedure comes with risks so you want to make sure your Dachshund is healthy and able to withstand the procedure before you make your final decision.