Betty's website and blog

What happens when a dog gets spayed?

January 09, 2020


We finally decided to have Betty spayed over the Christmas period. Not a great present for her! Although it is a routine procedure you always tend to think the worst - or I do at least! We left it until she was a bit older for a few reasons. One reason is that I’m a serial procrastinator and can’t make decisions. Another reason was Betty had to have stomach surgery when she was a puppy so we felt bad having her go through it all again so soon.

There’s a lot of conflicting advice on the Internet on when you should have your bitch spayed. We just felt, on balance it was worth waiting a bit until Betty had fully developed before proceeding with the spay. Betty had 3 seasons and was almost 2 years old.

When deciding if we should spay Betty we weighed up the fact that we wouldn’t have time to dedicate to her having puppies in the foreseeable future. Also, we knew of the health benefits such as a reduced risk of breast tumours. We didn’t care about the blood spots when she was in season, so that didn’t enter into the decision for us. One worry we did have was personality changes due to spaying. After some reading, our fears in this area were alleviated. In fact, it actually turned into a positive for spaying. Betty had become a serial humper. I wasn’t aware that bitches did any leg humping, but apparently, that is the case! Spaying can stop these unwanted behaviours along with reducing some aggression towards other dogs. Betty isn’t aggressive - just an avid humper, so any reduction there would be great. The cost of spaying her was £226 so nothing extortionate. Especially considering the procedure should prevent health problems and the associated costs later on in life. The only real negatives for spaying was the small risk of complications during surgery and the short-term downtime due to recovery. So the decision was made.

We booked her in on 2nd January as we would be off work the rest of that week due to the Christmas break. In addition to that, we arranged time off to be at home with Betty up until her 5-day post-operation checkup. By then she should be back to normal although still needing rest. By the 10-day checkup, she should be all good.

I have to admit I was very nervous and restless the day of the operation waiting for news. Especially when they have you sign the consent form outlining the risks! Eventually, the call came to say everything went well and she was ready for collection.

When we picked her up she was very drowsy still from the anaesthetic and pain medication. We got her home and straight to bed. We elected for a baby-grow rather than a cone to stop her getting at the stitches, but that was a mistake. Due to her breed’s strange shape, the baby-grow didn’t fit and she kept getting her legs caught inside somehow. So we ditched that and used an old t-shirt instead and just monitored her. We had a spare cone we’d bought from Amazon if we needed. She didn’t sleep much that night, instead, she just took to standing, gazing at things with her spaced-out eyes. She spent about 20 minutes looking at the lamp. God knows what her drugged up mind could see there!

The next day I was surprised to find her almost back to her old self. She was bringing the ball to me and dropping it in my lap. She even attempted a zoomy in the bedroom but that was a bit too much for her. She slept most of the day then. We did start to worry because she hadn’t gone to the toilet since we brought her home the day before. She was eating and drinking fine, though. In fact, she went about 26 hours before finally relieving herself and us! This is apparently something that can happen after surgery. She is still not fully regular now although it is getting better each day.

Two days after she wasn’t as bright as the day before and she was like this for a few days. She looked depressed, lethargic and tired. She was still interested in food and water, though - so that made us feel better. We started to worry this was the new Betty with all the feistiness removed. After a couple more days the old Betty was back, though.

So, if you’re having your puppy spayed the key takeaways from our experience would be.

  1. If you’re not breeding her, get her spayed.
  2. Expect to feel bad while she’s in there, but it’ll all be worth it.
  3. Expect her to act strangely while the anaesthetic wears off.
  4. Her normal toilet habits will be up the wall. You might even have some indoor accidents.
  5. Her recovery might not be linear. She may seem great one day only to be sleepy the next.
  6. She’ll soon be back to normal

Betty recovering in her t-shirt

Update after 10 day post operation check: We had Betty checked over and all seemed fine apart from a small hernia that will hopefully mend as she heals. The wound has healed up nicely and the vet was happy, just asked us to monitor the hernia.