Author Topic: Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?  (Read 430 times)

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Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?
« on: June 15, 2017, 01:33:12 AM »
Many of you know that we are fostering a GSD mix named Nora that we personally pulled from a BYB situation. She was 4.5lbs when we got her and now, ten days later she is 7lbs. Our best estimate is that she is about seven to eight weeks old, we believe she was small for her age when we brought her home because she was not being fed properly, her sisters were even smaller and more lethargic. I personally think her dam weaned the pups and the breeder was not moistening the kibble so the pups could eat it.

She's eaten soaked kibble mixed with puppy milk and assorted raw meats/organs since we brought her home, and her coat quality has improved drastically. The vet initially believed she would not exceed 35lbs, but given her rate of growth in the past ten days we're thinking she's going to be a bit bigger. Possibly 45lbs+. This isn't particularly a problem, since I expected a large dog to begin with, but it does mean we may need to rehome her before she reaches her adult size.

I want to spay her before we rehome her, and give her a week or two to recover from the spay before she is rehomed.

This means I may have to spay her before her first heat, so we can rehome her before she outgrows our living situation. We live in a 45ft Airstream fifth wheel camper, and we have three other dogs so space is limited. We could probably manage another large dog but it would be difficult. Our living situation now depends on all three (now four) dogs having a specific area to be, and being comfortable being there when not being fed, exercised or played with. Like Azkaban stays under the kitchen table with his chews and Chewy stays on our bed unless something is actively going on.

My biggest question is how early is it safe to spay her? My vet is gung-ho about spaying her ASAP, in the next two or three months. I'm not comfortable spaying that early but I do need to consider our limitations. Is seven or eight months too early to spay? I know that it's preferable to wait a full twelve months or longer, and to wait for the first heat cycle. But if one does need to spay before the first heat when is the best time to do that? 

Also; at what age is it reasonable to expect her to retain things I've taught her, like housebreaking or "off" to get off furniture, without the new owner drilling these commands and reinforcing them daily? So what age can I rehome her with some expectation of her remaining housebroken and recollecting basic commands like "sit" and "off". I'm hesitant to place her too early, because I don't want her to break house training or misbehave and end up being neglected or abused. Her breed makes her more prone to being designated a "yard dog" than most, and I'm concerned about her size and personality being too much for someone who sends her to a shelter or sells her. Her adopter will sign an adoption contract designating that she be returned to me if for whatever reason they can not keep her, but there is no guarantee that they will uphold the contract or that I will know if she is rehomed by them. I want to equip her with the commands she needs to be tolerable as a house pet, at what age can a dog reliably obey commands like "off" and "drop it" without drilling and consistent reinforcement?

                                                                                                                  ---

I am so grateful for the opportunity to puppy raise and see what it's going to be like to raise a young dog, I may foster a few more young dogs before I get a puppy prospect. Rayner is the youngest dog I've ever raised and he was five months when we adopted him, this has been a wonderful opportunity to gain experience while allowing me to make some mistakes. It's also been fulfilling to see an otherwise neglected dog flourish with proper veterinary care and love.

On a side note, has anyone had experience with puppy vaginitis? Nora has been having some discharge from her vulva and when I asked the vet I was told it was puppy vaginitis. We ran a course of antibiotics when she first came home for a UTI, but this continued after the antibiotics ended. She's also urinating oddly, usually twice in two different spots versus emptying it all in one go. I asked the vet but was told the UTI should not have reoccurred so soon after ending the antibiotics, that this was likely related to the vaginitis and that she was likely to outgrow it in a few weeks. The vet recommended cranberry supplements and broad spectrum non-dairy probiotics. We clean the discharge once or twice daily with the same unscented baby wipes we use for my son, and she yells the whole time. She otherwise doesn't seem concerned and doesn't lick.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 02:02:33 AM »
I wouldn't spay ASAP. No need. I don't know when you're thinking about rehoming and if there is a "Fix before" date. Most bitches come into season for the first time between 8-12 months. Some as early as 6 (most often small dogs go in earlier) or later (Jubi had a littermate and an aunt wait until 15 and 16 months, she was 11 months herself). I think 8 months is a safe bet to do it, later if you still have her and feel comfortable with waiting. 8 months is going to be far better than 8 weeks, from a growth and development standpoint.

Regarding retention: It will all change as soon as you hand her to another person. They'll have to drill her. Her knowing commands and knowing commands well for you doesn't mean she'll perform them as well for a new owner unless they're heavily practiced. She'll still be young too, so there will be a degree of testiness with her. Given what you've described she won't be the easiest dog, but a good future owner understands the need to drill her, and to also have her work for her food. I'd at this ate be working on making sure she's sitting and waiting before meals. That sets the foundation for a release word and begins impulse control building, both of which have millions of uses.

Vaginis: Yes, actually. Jubi had some UTI and vaginitis issues when she was younger. When she was 4 months upon physical exam I was told she had a recessed vulva and dthat was causing a lot of the recurrent UTIs due to keeping bacteria around. She also has anal glands that won't self express, oddly enough, so I need to help them externally on Jubi only about once a moth.
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 11:03:34 AM »
I would hold off on spaying as long as you can. The first heat is usually 6 to 12 months so if you're trying to completely avoid any risk of that maybe before 6 months? If you don't have unaltered dogs at home it really won't be a big deal to go through the first heat with her. Serenity is almost a year and I don't think she's gone into heat yet

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Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 02:42:36 PM »
The biggest thing is that I want her spayed before I adopt her out, but may have to adopt her out early, as a younger adolescent so she doesn't outgrow our living situation.

We're limited on space and while I could probably handle an eight month old puppy, I don't think our house could handle a twelve month old dog that is going to be 45lbs+ without some serious juggling. I think this dog's particular personality is not going to jive with being in a tiny home with three other dogs and a baby as she gets bigger and takes up more space. So my dilemma is that she may have to be adopted out before she's too big for us to handle, but since I want to spay her before I adopt her out she will probably be spayed at seven/eight months.

I think I'm overthinking this. Many puppies are altered early, some at three or four months. Being eight months at spay isn't going to jeopardize her health, and I don't need to feel guilty about adopting her out at eight months instead of twelve if that is what it takes to keep my household sane and manageable. I feel bad that I don't think I'll be able to keep her as long as I'd like.

All of our boys are neutered so accidental pregnancies aren't the concern, it's just how big she's going to be and the point at which I'm going to have to adopt her out before she becomes too much for our house. I was planning to start her off on the right foot and then get her out the door to a forever home once she was housebroken, vetted and spayed. 

As for commands, yeah, I kind of expected that. She is not going to be an easy dog by any means and I do think I'm going to have to be clear about that with her adoptive owners, and find someone who will continue to work with her and stay on top of things. She is very mouthy, very vocal and very assertive. I was hoping she would be okay to go to a normal family home but I think she'd be better off in a home with experience and a sport/work in mind for her.
 
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"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Early spaying and appropriate age for re-homing foster?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 10:22:02 PM »
I did zero training with my dogs when I first had kids for nearly five years. The things they remember were the things they were show ready for and well proofed in any situation. They forgot most of anything that was not that far along. That might be a good rule of thumb to use as you think of transitioning. If the dog can sit in any situation it probably will for the new owners if they continue to reinforce it
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Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)