With millions of dogs in shelters nationwide, spaying your Labrador retriever puppy will help with population control. Spaying, also known as “fixing,” removes the female parts so your lab will not go into heat. Leave breeding to the professionals and fix your lab puppy to help reduce the breed’s overpopulation.
When to Spay
If your lab puppy is at least 6 months old, the time is right for spaying. Some vets, humane societies and breeders recommend spaying as early as 2 to 4 months, but the traditional age is 6 months. A lab puppy’s first heat typically occurs between 7 and 12 months so you likely want to spay before then. However, if your puppy is older and already experienced her first or second heat, you can still have her safely spayed.
In addition to helping with overpopulation, you won’t encounter any surprise litters if your lab puppy is spayed. Spaying is known to decrease the chances of mammary cancer, especially if your pup is spayed before she has her first heat. Also, spayed labs have less incidence of uterine infections. Additionally, after spaying, which removes the uterus and ovaries, your lab will not go into heat. The advantages of not menstruating include less urination, stable behavior and less mess.
What to Expect
Spaying involves major surgery, complete with anesthesia and incisions. Your lab puppy’s spaying takes place in a vet’s office or animal hospital, and she may need to stay overnight before coming home. She will be groggy and lack balance for about 18 to 24 hours after surgery. As lab puppies are typically very active, you need to minimize her activity level and keep her calm, clean and away from playing with others for at least a week.
After Spaying Care
After spaying, your lab puppy will need assistance getting in and out of the car and around the house. Find her a warm, quiet spot where she can sleep off the anesthesia. Keep an eye on her incision and call the vet if you see a lot of swelling or redness. Some labs require a cone, worn around the neck, to prevent access to the incision. Only leash walk her for the first week, rather than allowing her to have unlimited access outside.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.