Can a Spayed Dog Still Go Into Heat?
Being around a female dog in heat can be a frustrating experience for all, including the poor pooch herself. Canines engage in a lot of off-the-wall behaviors when their raging hormones are at the helm, from runaway missions to persistent whimpering. Fortunately, spaying can often do wonders for curbing these behaviors.
No More Heat
When a female dog goes through spaying surgery, which is also known as an ovariohysterectomy, it stops her from going into heat entirely. It also, as a result, stops her from being able to get pregnant and producing litter after litter of puppies. Spaying surgery entails the extraction of both the uterus and the ovaries. When these organs are gone, heat cycles are gone, too.
Heat Behaviors After Spaying
While a dog can't actually go into heat once she's spayed, she can indeed display behaviors that are reminiscent of it. If your dog is spayed after attaining reproductive maturity, she might have had sufficient time to take on some of the frustrating behaviors that are so typical of heat. When canines do certain things for an extended period of time, spaying doesn't always do away with them permanently, notes the ASPCA. If your pooch is set in some of her hormone-driven ways, spaying might not get rid of them 100 percent, although it might at least minimize them.
Common Heat Symptoms
Don't panic if your dog exhibits heat-like symptoms well after spaying -- she's probably just used to them. It doesn't mean that her surgery didn't work. The hormonal shifts of heat can cause female dogs to be temperamental and ornery. Heat can encourage female dogs to slip out of their houses to find nearby potential mates. It can make them urinate in inappropriate areas of your residence as a means of luring mates. It can even bring out the fierce and aggressive sides in normally mild-mannered pets. While spaying sometimes does away with these behaviors fully, it doesn't always. If you have any concerns about your dog's heat-like behaviors post-spaying, consult your veterinarian immediately.
If you don't want your dog to ever adopt any pesky behaviors that are part of the heat cycle, get her spayed before she becomes sexually mature. Dogs tend to become sexually mature when they're between 6 months and 1 year old, although many different factors influence this, such as breed size. If your dog doesn't go into heat in the first place, she won't ever go through stressful heat symptoms and therefore won't take them on. Call your veterinarian to discuss the optimal time period for spaying your cutie. It isn't unusual for young puppies to be spayed at just 8 weeks old.
By Naomi Millburn
ASPCA: How Will Spaying Change My Dog?
The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
Shetland Sheepdogs; Jaime J. Sucher
Mastersons Veterinary Clinic: Spaying & Neutering
Rockledge Veterinary Clinic: Spay/Neuter
The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center: Spay Neuter Surgery
Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic: Spaying or Neutering
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.