Many find raising a female dog to be extremely cumbersome. Often times, most dog lovers prefer to adopt a male dog rather than its female breed. Some even assume that male dogs are more loyal and easier to train. But the reality is the nature of a dog actually depends on its breed and how it has been trained rather than its gender. To find out the correct way to raise a female dog, The Week caught up with Dr Sharad Singh Yadav, chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital and Research Center in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. Here, he provides us some basic information about caring for a female dog as well as debunks many myths along the way.
How is raising a male dog different from raising a female dog?
No research till date has proven a stark behavioral difference between the two sexes. A behavior of a dog may depend on its own nature, its breed, and the environment in which it is raised. But female dog’s biological structure is slightly different from males. Female dogs do come into estrus every six months. This phase lasts for about 15 to 20 days. This is also known as the heat cycle. At this time, the female dog secretes a bloody vaginal liquid and may be more receptive to male’s attention.
Do female dogs need special care during their estrus cycle?
Yes, they certainly do. At this time of the year, female dogs go through a lot of physical and hormonal changes. This also indicates the onset of your pup’s fertility period. So you need to take special care of your dog at this phase. She may be a little irritatable and angry during her first estrus cycle. Also during this period, female dogs have the tendency to run away in search of a male partner. This is what her body demands. If you do not want your female dog to breed, then you must keep her locked inside. Try to keep her isolated and away from male dogs.
What is the correct age for female dogs to reproduce?
If you are raising a dog for breeding purposes, make sure she reproduces only after she is a year and half old. If a dog reproduces at a young age, she may face various health complications. If you do not intend to breed your female dog, then the best thing to do would be to have her spayed. There is a prevalent myth in Nepal and many believe that dogs should be spayed only after they reproduce at least once. But, as a veterinarian, I would suggest spaying your dog when your dog is about seven to nine months old.
Is spaying a complex operation and is it safe?
Most dog owners are scared of having their female dogs spayed. But, in fact, it is a very simple surgery and your dog can recover completely in less than a week’s time. It is also one of the most responsible ways for dog owners to take care of their pets. It is a very simple operation and dogs resume their normal activities after an hour of surgery. The stitches used during operation dissolve easily in the dog’s body and do not have to be removed later.
While spaying a dog veterinarians perform a simple keyhole surgery. During this surgery the veterinary removes her fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. This eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and heat cycle in the future.
Spaying is also one of the ways of birth control in female dogs. In most cases, people have the tendency to leave their female puppies on the streets while male are adopted by their friends or relatives. This causes rise in unwanted stray dogs. Separating from her children may also be a traumatic experience for your female dog. So the best way to take care of your female dog is by spaying her.
Does this operation cause health risks?
The fact is spaying a dog is extremely beneficial for your female dog’s health. Spaying can prevent your dog from having any serious health issues in her old age. Spaying can reduce the chances of your dog suffering from uterine infections and even uterus cancer. It may also prevent the growth of tumors in her old age. Not only that, it is also cost effective as your dog won’t need special care every six months. You will also not have to bear the unnecessary burden of unwanted puppies.
Are there any other kinds of contraceptives available for female dogs?
There are no other contraceptives in the market for your female dog’s birth control. Many uncertified veterinaries tend to use human birth control injections for dogs. Birth control injections such as ‘Sangini’ that are easily available in Nepal aren’t suitable for dogs. This may lead to your dogs giving birth to still born pups. These injections may also shorten the life span of your dog causing diseases such as cancer or tumor.
To avoid unwanted pregnancies, many vets even tend to give dogs emergency contraceptive pills like the I-pill or the Unwanted 72 that are found at pharmacies around town. These precautions are not effective and can negatively affect your dog’s health. The best and the safest way to avoid unnecessary health problems in female dogs is definitely having her spayed.