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Waiting two heat cycles before a spay

  • April 20, 2017
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
Waiting two heat cycles before a spay

The big push to spay and neuter our pets, in particular before puberty, was brought about as a response to the explosion of stray dogs and cats without homes.  Overtime the suggestion that dogs and cats should be fixed has evolved because it’s healthier.

I did a little digging and found cases advising to delay the procedure until the dog had matured.  In likening the pet to a human, how would removing a child’s reproductive organs before puberty affect their growth, maturation, and development.   Puberty and sexual maturation is important for bone, brain and organ development.  The same is true for our dogs and cats.

Studies now show that the following risks occur when you spay too early:

  • Abnormal bone growth and development.  It appears the removal of estrogen organs in immature dogs can cause growth plates to remain open and can result in irregular body proportions.
  • Higher rate of ACL ruptures.
  • Cardia tumors
  • Bone cancer
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Noise phobias
  • Fearful behavior
  • Aggression
  • Undesirable sexual behaviors

On the flip side, any reproductive cancers decrease in chance when the reproductive organs are taken out.

I had a discussion with my vet who consented to waiting.  Their training encourages us to spay early – but again mainly for “animal control” purposes.  I assured her that we would not place the girls in risk for an accidental litter and we left it at that.

And so we opted to wait two heat cycles for our two.  Maggie has already been spayed.  While Orbit is pending hers – she has had two heat cycles and as I write this I’ve got a note in my calendar to schedule her surgery.

The key factor to manage while Orbit was in heat was to “not let one past the goalie” as the man of the house would tell me before we headed out on our daily walks.  I avoided contact with other dogs and we exercised off peak times in low traffic areas.  And I had to manage her menses which wasn’t too hard.  Actually a diaper at night was all I had to do.

Surprisingly though, the second time around seemed to go on forever – almost 6 weeks.  And Orbit also had “PMS” and was moody.  Mother nature can’t be turned off and she certainly was looking for something although I don’t think she fully understood what it was.  But she did try to mount Maggie several times a day and would turn around so that Maggie would mount her.  Good thing they are both females.

If you’re thinking of delaying the spay, some other tips while your female dog is in heat are:

  • Diapers can be easily purchased on Amazon.  I also purchased the liners but found them useless.  I ended up using pantyliners instead.
  • For the most I only kept the diapers on at night (since they sleep in our bed) and when she was sitting on the couch with us after dinner.
  • Remember to take the diapers off first thing in the morning.  One day I got distracted and poor Orbit went outside to do her business.  When I went looking for her, I found her frozen in the yard with this confused look since she ended up doing #1 AND #2 in her diaper.
  • When you have two dogs, the mounting games will occur more frequently.
  • The heat cycle lasts 3 weeks on average.
  • You can continue your normal walks and social activities but eliminate all dog interactions.  We still went to the dog park but did so off peak and when we encountered dogs, I put her back on the leash and kept her by my side.
  • Be sure to be patient and give your doggy lots of love during this time…. similar to women they do get a little moody.  Difference is they don’t understand it.  They have have a biological drive to mate.

The idea of keeping her intact still intrigues me.  And in some countries such as Norway they even make it illegal for dogs to be fixed unless medically necessary.  However we are not 100% there.  Our compromise was to allow her bone to develop.  And now that Orbit has grown, we’re ready to have her spayed.

If you would like to read more about the benefits in delaying the procedure – read more on Dr. Karen Becker’s page.  She’s a holistic vet and my go to for research related to the dogs.  Her article can be found HERE.  Also another good resource is an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine.  That link can be found HERE.

Waiting two heat cycles before a spayWaiting two heat cycles before a spay

By MaggieLovesOrbit, April 20, 2017
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