New Chihuahua Owners can sometimes have concerns or other reasons for being hesitant to spay or neuter their pets. This page is designed to answer some of those concerns, and the following is a list of facts that should help you in making the best decision for your puppy and your family. If your questions aren't answered here, please do not hesitate to contact Shayna for more information.
Fact #1 - Spaying and neutering is a very simple routine procedure that even the newest veterinarian has performed at least several dozen times fresh out of vet school. The dog is under general anesthesia for about 20 minutes, and the procedure is completed with only a small incision in most cases. Dogs are generally ready to be up and moving again by the end of the day, or the next morning at the latest, and full recovery time is generally 7 to 10 days (before the stitches can come out and the incision is fully healed).
Fact #2 - Spaying and neutering is proven to reduce or eliminate unwanted behavior. Though this fact is not 100% true for every dog, spaying and neutering early does have the effect of taming an overactive puppy or adolescent dog more often than not. The degree to which a given puppy will be impacted depends on the individual puppy, but in most cases spaying and neutering will make a puppy more calm, more easily trainable, and more in tune with humans.
Fact #3 - Chihuahuas, as with all dogs, do not have an emotional need to mate and raise offspring as humans sometimes do, but they do have an instinctual drive to do so if they are left intact (not spayed/neutered). This drive begins in adolescence, between the ages of 5 months and 1 year, and it is the result of the build up of sexual hormones. As the dog gets older, if not mated, the hormones continue to build and the drive to mate will become uncomfortably strong for the dog, often resulting in unwanted behavior that is very difficult to correct, but can be easily prevented by spaying and neutering early.
Fact #4 -Allowing a puppy to come to sexual maturity intact will change his or her personality and temperament. Males will almost certainly begin to mark their territory. Both males and females can (and usually will) become more territorial and potentially even more aggressive with other dogs and with people during their sexual maturity phase. Once that territorial or aggressive nature takes hold, it is very difficult to correct....but it is easily prevented by spaying and neutering early.
Fact #5 - The same build up of sexual hormones that can cause behavioral problems can also cause health problems. Hormone build up can cause testicular cancer, mammary tumors, pyometra (an inflammation of the uterine lining that can lead to death), and other types of reproductive tract issues that can be difficult or impossible to treat, but can be easily prevented by spaying and neutering early.
Fact #6 - Breeding a Chihuahua will change his/her temperament and personality, guaranteed. There is no uncertainty in this statement. On average, breeding tends to make both genders more aggressive towards other dogs and towards people. Breeding kicks in territorial instincts that may have been muted before, and it will, without question, be the beginning of marking behavior in males, if it hasn't already started. The only uncertainty is the degree to which each individual dog's personality will change. Some become only a little more aggressive and territorial, but others can become completely unmanageable as family pets, and there is no way to know how breeding will impact a specific dog...but these changes can be easily prevented by spaying and neutering early!
Fact #7 - Because Chihuahuas are the tiniest breed, breeding a Chihuahua, even one time, requires vast knowledge in many area of canine reproduction and genetics, canine and breed-specific behavior, whelping and puppy rearing, and even some veterinary knowledge. Breeding also requires plenty of time, patience, and financial resources to ensure the health and general well-being of both parents and puppies. Without the knowledge and resources required to do it right, a female Chihuahua is at significant risk from the moment she is first mated, as are her unborn puppies. Those risks include both the inability to have the puppies on her own and a host of other potentially life threatening problems, none of which are obvious but require recognition of very specific signs. Therefore, it is never in the best interest of a female Chihuahua to be bred "just for one litter" or for any other reason unless it is by an experienced, knowledgeable breeder who can devote the time and resources required to ensure the best possible outcome. Remember, the female Chihuahua does not have an emotional drive to have puppies, but her hormone inducing instinctual drive can get both her and you into trouble if you aren't careful....but it can be easily prevented by spaying (and neutering) early!