Can You Spay A Dog In Heat?

Can You Spay A Dog In Heat? Yes, dogs can be spayed in heat if required. But, it is not recommended as it can lead to medical complications and potential difficulties. It will also depend on the vet, the reason for needing her spayed so urgently, and whether the pros outweigh the risks of doing surgery while on heat. We advise contacting your veterinarian to discuss your options.
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Should I Spay My Dog In Heat?


Spaying can be a complicated surgery, and spaying during heat adds another layer of complication. It is usually advised to spay your bitch before their first heat cycle. However, it can be hard to know when this will be. Smaller dogs tend to have their first heat from 6 months, and larger breeds can be as long as two years! 
If it is already too late and your bitch is in season, weigh up the pros and cons below and speak to your vet to determine the most suitable time to spay. Most vets will prefer to wait until heat is over. However, this may not be an option for some.

Why should I not spay during heat?

Risk of Complications - When a dog is in heat they have increased blood flow. Spaying is not an easy surgery. Although performed regularly, it is still a complicated procedure, and the increased blood flow can cause more stressful surgery and recovery.
Higher Cost - Spaying during heat can require more surgery time. It can be more complex and include longer recovery time and medical equipment (e.g., gauzes and stitches). All of these things are usually charged at a higher price.
Recovery - A bitch who was in heat that has just been spayed can still attract unwanted attention from males. If there is a chance a male could get to her, it could cause severe trauma to the newly operated site.
False pregnancy - After the estrus phase of heat (when a bitch is ready to mate) comes diestrus. This phase is when the body reabsorbs an unfertilized egg. During this phase, the vulva swelling will reduce, and the spotting with cease. This is the last phase of heat. If a bitch is spayed during diestrus, there is a risk of developing a false or pseudopregnancy. This is when a dog shows physical or behavioral signs of pregnancy. Treatment is not usually necessary. However, it can be unsettling. The bitch can lose their appetite, become lethargic, and begin to nest.

Why should I spay during heat?

High risk of pregnancy - The main reason you may want to spay during heat is for the risk of pregnancy. To prevent pregnancy, bitches should be kept inside, in a secure yard, and go for short leash walks during heat. If you have an entire male at home, then potentially think about having one stay with friends or family during heat. 
Unable to cope with spotting - It can be a nuisance trying to care for a bitch during heat. The floors and furniture can get messy, and unwanted attention from male dogs can be a pain. If this is of serious concern, you may consider contacting the vet. 
Overall, there are more risks to spaying during heat than the nuisance it causes. We recommend waiting until heat is over. However, if this is not an option contact your vet.

Is My Dog In Heat?


Bitches show all kinds of signs they could be starting heat. 
The first stage is called proestrus. This lasts 7 to 10 days. She will begin attracting male attention. However, she is not yet ready to mate and will make that clear. Signs of proestrus:
  • Vulva swelling 
  • Begin spotting (bloody discharge)
The second stage is estrus, and this lasts 5 to 14 days. This is when your female is fertile. She will become receptive to males and may start to roam in search of a mate. Signs of estrus:
  • Vulva softens
  • Tail moved to the side
  • Lighter pink spotting
  • Urinating more often
  • Interested in males
  • Pacing and whining
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our article Do Dogs Have Periods? 

Benefits Of Spaying 


  • Prevent unwanted pregnancy and pet overpopulation
  • Can help prevent urine infections and tumors
  • Stops heat, so no more spotting, unwanted male attention, frequent urination, terrible odors, or whining dogs
  • Cost-effective, you will not have to foot the bill for an unwanted litter of puppies

Risks Of Spaying


  • Complications during surgery, including reactions to the anesthetic
  • Prolonged recovery time, spaying can take a while to recover from, and if your dog claws or bites the stitches out, it can cause infection
  • Weight gain can occur as your bitch will not require as much food as their BMR (basal metabolic rate) decreases. This can be easily kept in check with enough excersize and the right amount of food.

What To Expect Before and After Spaying


Before spaying - Once you decide to go ahead with the procedure, your vet will arrange a pre-operative appointment. During this, the dog is usually weighed, as well as all the risks and benefits of the surgery discussed and an appointment date for surgery given. You will usually be advised to stop food the night before, as well as ensure your dog has been to the toilet before arriving on the surgery date.
After spaying - When you pick your bitch up after surgery, you usually are given detailed instructions in regards to pain medication and post-operative cleaning. You may also be advised to ensure your dog does not touch the wound. If you have other dogs in the house, they may need to be separated during healing as too much movement, including running, and jumping can cause the wound to open. The bitch may also be more tired and irritable after surgery due to pain and anesthetic. Keep your dog in a safe, warm, and comfortable area while she is recovering, give her all the affection she requires. A following appointment may also be booked to ensure a successful recovery. 



What is the best age to spay a dog?
Most vets recommend spaying before their first heat cycle. This tends to be between 6 and 12 months of age. However, each dog is individual, and this can vary depending on size and breed. Your vet will be able to advise further.
How often does a dog go into heat?
On average, dogs go into heat twice a year. However, smaller dogs can go into heat up to 3 times a year, and large may only be once a year.
Does a spayed dog still have a period?
No, a dog does not have heat or bleed after spaying. But dogs don’t have periods, they have heat. Both including bleeding but for different reasons. 
Should you let your dog go into heat before spaying?
Most vets recommend spaying before the first heat, usually 6 to 12 months. A dog can be spayed when it is older; however, there is a higher risk of complications. Some veterinary practices and shelters will spay from 8 weeks.
How long does it take a female dog to recover from being spayed?
Around two weeks. Most dogs take around two weeks for the wound to heal and for them to be able to go back to regular exercise.
How much does it cost to spay a female dog?
It can cost anything from $0 - $350. The cost will vary depending on where you live, the age of your dog, the size, the practice you go to. It is worth contacting shelters and charities if you are looking for lower cost options. The ASPCA offers free spaying with proof of public assistance in some areas. Check out if you qualify here.
Can you spay a dog while pregnant?
Yes, a dog can be spayed while pregnant to prevent the birth of puppies. However, this needs to be discussed and decided by a vet.



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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.


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