Food & HealthTips & Facts

When to Spay Chihuahua? (All You Need to Know)

If you’re not planning on breeding your female chihuahua, it’s best to have her spayed. Spaying your chi is one of the best decisions a chi owner can make. It won’t only stop unwanted pregnancies, but it can also improve your chihuahua’s overall quality and quantity of life. But the burning question is: when to spay chihuahua? 

Although there’s no age limit for spaying a chihuahua, most suggest having them spayed around 4 to 6 months. Still, it depends on your chi’s overall health and condition. 

Let’s delve further into why you should spay your chihuahua, when’s the best time to do it, and how you can help:


Why You Should Spay Your Chihuahua

when to spay chihuahua (infographic)

Spaying is a surgery aimed at removing the female reproductive organs in chihuahuas. This procedure stops female chihuahuas from getting pregnant during their heat cycles.

It’s a straightforward surgical operation with a meager fatality rate. And you should be able to bring your chihuahua home on the same or the next day after surgery. This veterinary procedure involves removing a female chihuahua’s uterus and ovaries. Vets eliminate these by making a tiny incision in your chi’s abdominal wall. And this, in turn, prevents your chihuahua from getting pregnant.

You don’t need to worry about your chi feeling pain as the vet will put them under anesthetics. Therefore, your dog should be asleep through the whole thing and won’t feel anything! Recovery should be swift, allowing your chihuahua to return to her usual self fast. Also, some vets provide painkillers to help the chihuahua post-surgery.

Either way, having your chihuahua spayed won’t only stop unwanted pregnancies, but it’ll also help you contribute to controlling the pet homelessness issue. After all, in the United States alone, millions of dogs and other animals get euthanized annually because of the home shortage. So, you won’t only be doing your chihuahua a favor, but your state as well!

To give you a better idea of how spaying can help your chihuahua, I’ve listed its upsides and downsides:

The Upsides of Spay Surgery in a Female Chihuahua

Here are a few of the medical benefits of spaying a chihuahua: 

✅ Spay Surgery Extends Your Chihuahua’s Lifespan

Having your female chihuahua spayed ensures a healthier and longer life. Unwanted pregnancies aside, spaying also prevents uterine infections and reduces the risk of tumor growth, which can become malignant or cancerous in over 50% of dogs. Spaying your chihuahua before she undergoes her first heat cycle provides the best protection against these diseases.

✅ Your Chihuahua Will Never Go Into Heat Again

Although going into heat is typical for chihuahuas, it isn’t the safest for these tiny dogs. Even if heat cycles vary for chihuahuas, the effects are the same. Aside from unwanted pregnancies, these can also lead to aggression and a mess — literally! After all, female chihuahuas like to yowl and pee more often to attract potential mates. 

Also, since your female chihuahua will likely search for a mate, she’ll probably run away when she spots a chance. Intact chis will do nearly anything to find a partner, including escaping your home! And once your chi succeeds, she risks injury in traffic, strangers, and other animals.

Therefore, have your chihuahua spayed to stop not only unwanted pups — but also dangerous heat cycles!

✅ Spaying Can Provide Behavioral Changes 

Although spaying won’t completely change your chihuahua for the better, it positively impacts their behavior! Intact chihuahuas are more likely to mark their territories by peeing all over your home. Not to mention she’ll be loud as well. Having your chi spayed can stop all these before they get too far and become aggressive.

So, even if spaying can’t wholly change your chihuahua’s behavior, it can help improve it!

✅ Having Your Chihuahua Spayed is More Cost-Efficient 

Spaying your chihuahua can save you a lot of money over time. After all, the expenses for having her spayed are far less than caring for litters of chi pups! So, be practical and have your chi fixed today. 

In short, having your chihuahua spayed can extend her lifespan, improve her behavior, and make your life more manageable over time. And even if some studies suggest the procedure comes with risks, many experts still consider spaying the best option for ensuring a chihuahua’s health and longevity.

The Downsides of Spay Surgery in a Female Chihuahua

Still, as beneficial as spaying a chihuahua, it has some downsides. However, most of these risks don’t have enough supporting research to guarantee they can happen in chihuahuas. Still, it’s better to be cautious. These include the following: 

❎ Urinary Incontinence 

The only proven downside of spaying a chihuahua is urinary incontinence. It’s a medical condition that affects 20% of middle-aged to older female chis. And it causes them to leak urine at any time accidentally. Chihuahuas can develop urinary incontinence anywhere between after the surgery or years later. 

Luckily, urinary incontinence is avoidable. And all you need to do is wait until your female chihuahua reaches at least three months before spaying her.

❎ Spay Surgery May Slow Down Your Chihuahua’s Metabolism

Spaying your chihuahua might negatively affect her metabolism by slowing it down. Some studies back that spayed chihuahuas are more prone to obesity. After all, your female chi is bound to become sedentary with the lack of desire to mate. Luckily, this risk is avoidable. 

All you must do to stop your spayed chi’s metabolism from slowing is to keep them active and on a healthy diet. These should be enough to prevent your female chihuahua from becoming overweight or obese.

❎ Spaying Your Chi Might Result in Ligament Tears

Having your female chihuahua spayed too early can result in ligament tears. It’s a painful condition that can disrupt your chi’s quality of life. Many have associated an increased risk of forming ligament tears with chihuahuas spayed too early.

❎ Having Your Chihuahua Spayed May Encourage Disruptive Behavior

Spaying your chihuahua before she reaches maturity might lead to disruptive behavior. But this isn’t guaranteed as spaying, in general, doesn’t change a chi’s personality. 

❎ Spaying Might Cause Cancer 

Although not proven, some vets suggest spaying a chihuahua may lead to cancer. A research study conducted by Ware and Hopper for the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1999 indicates that spaying a chihuahua increases their risk of developing cardiac tumors. And the chances are four times higher for spaying female chis than for neutering males.

Aside from that, other studies suggest that spaying a chihuahua increases the rate of them developing other cancers. Specifically, they highlight osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

❎ Spay Surgery May Delay Your Chihuahua’s Growth Plate Closure

Finally, some vets suggest that spaying a chihuahua can cause growth-plate closure. It’s a condition where the chi’s growth plates close later than usual. Moreover, growth-plate closure may force your chihuahua to grow bigger than expected. Specifically, some vets hypothesize that spaying can cause a chihuahua’s growth plates to close 12 to 18 months late. 

Aside from discussing the upsides and downsides of spaying a chihuahua, I’d also like to debunk common myths or misconceptions regarding the procedure briefly. 

Firstly, although spaying may slow down your chihuahua’s metabolism, it will not cause her to become obese! Her lack of motivation to move around and increased appetite will make your chi overweight — not the surgery itself! Your chihuahua can stay fit and healthy if you continue helping her exercise and eat a healthy diet.

Finally, spaying isn’t an all-in-one fix for all behavioral issues in chihuahuas. As I mentioned earlier, having your chi spayed can help improve her behavior. But that it can’t cut off all her bad habits! Remember, the effects of spaying depend on your chihuahua’s unique personality, health, and history. 

What are the Alternatives to Spay Surgery?

If your vet deems your female chihuahua unfit for spay surgery, they might suggest the following alternatives:

  • Hysterectomy. This procedure involves removing a female chihuahua’s uterus and some parts of her fallopian tubes. It stops your chi from getting pregnant but keeps her ovaries intact. That means she can still produce hormones, continuing her heat cycles.
  • Ovariectomy. This surgery removes a female chihuahua’s ovaries but keeps her uterus intact. It prevents your chihuahua from getting pregnant, but this time, it stops her from developing disruptive behavior due to heat cycles.

How Much Does Spaying a Chihuahua Cost?

a black chi looking forward

Now that you know the pros and cons of spaying a chihuahua, you’re likely wondering how much it will cost to spay one. Spaying is usually pricier than neutering, as it’s a more complex procedure. Although the prices vary per vet, spaying a female chihuahua can cost up to $200. 

You can lower the costs through low-cost programs or offer payment plans offered by different vets and clinics. With these, you can have your chihuahua spayed for as low as $50 to $100.


When to Spay Chihuahua?

brown chihuahua

Many vets recommend spaying female chihuahuas before they have their first heat cycle. Doing so reduces their risk of developing mammary tumors. If done after the second cycle, your chi’s risk of developing these tumors skyrockets! And if you let your chihuahua enter in and out of at least four mating seasons before spaying, she’ll have a 1-in-4 chance of developing cancer.

Therefore, many vets suggest having female chihuahuas spayed between 4 and 6 months. Chihuahuas might enter puberty anywhere between this time frame. And this time is usually the safest for them.

But some chis can get spayed at three months. The only time you should be able to delay this surgical procedure is if your chihuahua is too tiny or light. In these instances, it’s best to put the surgery to a halt to give your chi some time to gain enough weight to withstand the operation.


How to Prepare a Chihuahua for Spaying?

three chihuahuas on a couch

Before bringing your chihuahua to the vet for spaying, prepare yourself and your chi first! Doing these extra safety precautions can help your chihuahua have a smooth operation. Plus, it guarantees a faster and safer recovery! 

Here’s what you need to do pre-spay-surgery for your chihuahua:

✔️ Know Your Chihuahua’s Pre-Surgery Checklist

Your chosen vet should provide you with a pre-surgery checklist, including the mandatory and suggested tasks to do for your chihuahua. I recommend familiarizing yourself with this list at least one week before your chihuahua’s surgery. Doing so ensures a smooth operation and fast recovery. 

Generally, vets require chihuahua owners to ensure their dogs are in optimal health to prepare them for spaying. And this often involves physical exams and, sometimes, blood tests. These will help determine if your chihuahua has preexisting conditions or let your vet know if your dog is taking medications.

✔️ Have Your Chihuahua Vaccinated

Although not all vets recommend this, it guarantees a safer operation for your chi. Having your chihuahua vaccinated with distemper/parvo (DA2LLPv) at least a week before spaying protects her from common diseases. Although no vaccine is 100% efficient, it can help reduce the risk of your chihuahua contracting a disease. And even if your chi contracts something pre- or post-surgery, having her vaccinated reduces the severity. 

I recommend consulting your vet to see which vaccinations your chihuahua may need post-op. Still, it’s better to be safe to ensure your female chihuahua stays healthy during and after spaying.

✔️ Prepare Your Chihuahua for Spay Day

Besides having your chihuahua vaccinated, I recommend prepping her for spay day. After all, when your chihuahua is in optimal health before spaying, she’ll likely get through the operation well. One of the preparations chi owners must ensure is that their chihuahua mustn’t eat anything before the surgery. It helps prevent your chihuahua from vomiting or aspiring before or during the operation.

But since withholding food may mean stopping your chihuahua from eating during midnight on the day of the surgery or around 6 am the same day, it can be challenging for your chi. So, if your chihuahua seems to be struggling, you can give her some water to drink or ice cubes to lick. 

However, some vets may allow chihuahuas ages five months or older to eat a quarter of their usual food before spaying. Still, it’s better not to give your chi anything to guarantee no accidents happen before or during the operation. You can ask your vet for advice on whether it’s best to feed your chi or not before spaying. 

Aside from feeding your chihuahua, another preparation you need to do is keeping your chi inside your home confined before spaying. Doing this ensures your chihuahua is in excellent health.

✔️ Crate Train Your Chihuahua Before the Spay Surgery

Most vets require chihuahua owners to bring their chis to her spay appointment in a crate. But even if yours doesn’t ask you to, it’s still best to do it. It guarantees safer transportation for your chihuahua and helps her calm down. Moreover, crate training your chihuahua helps you restrict her activity before surgery. And that is optimal for well-being before and during the operation. 

So, if you haven’t crate trained your female chi, now’s the best time to do it! I recommend doing it a week before the spay surgery. That should be enough time to help your chihuahua familiarize herself with the crate. Schedule your chihuahua’s spay day a week early to give your chi some time to get used to staying in a box.

Aside from that, I recommend installing gates to restrict your chihuahua’s movement pre-and-post-surgery.

✔️ Stay Calm

Since chihuahuas feed off their owner’s emotions and energy, stay calm during spay day! So, expect your chi to be the same when you’re nervous or scared. Please do your best to remain calm and reassuring when bringing your chihuahua in for spay day. This simple gesture can go a long way in making your chi comfortable pre-surgery.

✔️ Be There for Your Chihuahua

Although most chihuahua owners leave their chi at the vet during spay day, it’s better for your dog’s health if you stay with her the entire day. So, schedule your chihuahua’s operation when you’re free to stay by her side all day. This way, you can focus on your chihuahua from the early morning hours to prepare her for spay day. 

Moreover, you can commit your time to your chihuahua after the operation, helping her re-acquainted with her ordinary life in no time. So, give your chihuahua pets and say encouraging words before, during, and after spay surgery!


Aftercare Spay Tips for a Chihuahua

a chihuahua with pink sweater lying down

Most vets recommend having female chihuahuas stay at least one night after getting spayed to observe their well-being. But some allow owners to bring their chihuahuas on the same day. Regardless, remember that your chi just had a significant operation and might act restless. So, like taking precautions before spaying, it’s also essential to practice post-op care!

Luckily, female chihuahuas in excellent health and without complications should recover as fast as one week or ten days. The only challenge post-care for these tiny dogs is during the first day. After all, once spayed, your chihuahua might feel nauseous, tired, or restless. You may also spot some swelling or redness on the incision site.

But once you suspect there’s something wrong with your female chihuahua, bring her to the vet ASAP.

That said, here are aftercare tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth, fast, and pain-free recovery for your chihuahua after getting spayed:

✔️ Provide Your Chihuahua with Pain Relief

Chihuahuas can feel pain too! But these tiny, brave dogs don’t show pain as we people do. Luckily, vets administer pain medication to their patients after spay surgery. And sometimes, some vets prescribe painkillers to take home for your chihuahua. At home, painkillers aren’t always routine for veterinarians, however. 

After all, even if we don’t want our chihuahuas to be in pain, sometimes, we can use this to restrict their activity. So, as tempting as it is to ensure your female chi is 100% pain-free after spaying, it’s not ideal. 

After all, you wouldn’t want your chihuahua to overdo it and cause more issues, right? Regardless, this is a topic best discussed with a vet. 

✔️ Pay Attention to Your Chihuahua’s Incisions or Sutures after Spay Surgery

I recommend paying attention to your chihuahua’s incisions or sutures after spay surgery. Your chi might have visible incision lines or intradermal sutures under her skin. 

Either way, you must monitor them for signs of swelling or redness. These symptoms usually indicate infection, after all. Aside from that, stop your chihuahua from licking or chewing on her incisions or sutures. After all, this action may also lead to infection or irritation. I recommend having your female chi wear a cone to prevent her from disrupting her incisions.

✔️ Take Care of Your Chihuahua’s Wound

Sometimes, your vet may use a belly wrap, post-surgery wear, shirts, or shorts to cover and protect the incision line or sutures. Keep these clean and ensure they’re covering the entire site to prevent it from getting irritated or infected. Aside from that, you may also apply a topical wound solution to keep the area clean, reduce the swelling, and hasten your chihuahua’s recovery.

✔️ Keep Your Chihuahua Occupied

An excellent way to stop your chihuahua from licking or chewing its incision or sutures is by keeping her occupied. Aside from that, helping your chi focus on recovering can also help with the process. So, please take advantage of the moment and teach your chihuahua new tricks or bond with her more.


Additional Tips for Caring for a Chihuahua After Spaying

Aside from those mentioned earlier, here are more aftercare tips every chi owner must remember:

  • Keep movement to a minimum. Discourage your chihuahua from running around post-surgery. After all, these erratic movements can irritate her incisions and sutures. Or worse, it can lead to an infection. 
  • Double-check the incisions daily. The sutures must be dry and exhibit no drainage. Also, the redness and inflammation must be subtle. You can stop your chihuahua from irritating the site by having her wear a cone. 
  • Keep your chihuahua’s diet the same. Never change your chi’s diet after the operation. Aside from that, refrain from giving her human food or milk. Doing these can lead to post-op complications.
  • Stay clean and dry. Keep your chihuahua indoors after spaying to keep her incision lines clean and dry. And never give your chi baths post-surgery!

Your chihuahua’s appetite and energy levels should return to normal within a day of spaying. If your chi is still sluggish after 24 hours and displays odd symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, bring her to the vet ASAP. After all, these aren’t normal and may imply post-surgical complications.

Even if your chihuahua doesn’t show any symptoms after a week of the surgery, I recommend bringing her to the vet after one week or ten days. Have the vet check your chihuahua’s incisions or sutures to confirm they’ve healed. And you may also request the vet to remove external sutures and discuss follow-up care such as vaccination boosters. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I have my chihuahua spayed?

A: Spaying your chihuahua is always an excellent move for your dog’s health. Although some risks are linked with spaying, its upsides still outweigh them. Aside from preventing unwanted pups, spaying can also wholly stop heat cycles. Without these, your chihuahua will be calmer and won’t advance on your male dogs anymore.

Q: Will spaying change my chihuahua?

A: Although many assume that spaying a chihuahua will remove her behavior issues, it won’t. The procedure can, however, improve your chihuahua’s habits and temperament. So, although it won’t change your chi entirely, it can provide positive effects. Still, there’s no guarantee that your chihuahua’s behavior will get altered after spaying.

Q: Should I let my chihuahua go into her first heat cycle before spaying her?

A: Most vets suggest spaying your chihuahua before their first heat cycle. Doing so reduces the risk for the growth of mammary tumors. In short, having your chihuahua spayed before going into heat can stop her from developing cancer. If you wait to fix your chihuahua until her second heat cycle, you’re only putting her in danger.

Q: What happens if I spay my chihuahua too early?

A: Spaying your chihuahua earlier than recommended can lead to many health issues. Doing so disrupts your chi’s development, delaying her hormonal growth. Aside from that, early spaying also increases the risk for bone cancer, hip dysplasia, and bladder issues. So, to avoid all these potential health problems in your chihuahua, have her spayed on time.

Q: When to spay a chihuahua too late?

A: As long as you keep your chihuahua healthy, you can have her spayed at any age. There’s no age limit for spaying chihuahuas, even though the conventional age is around 6 to 9 months. Although there are more risks associated with senior chihuahuas, the benefits of spaying still outweigh them.


Final Words

When to spay chihuahua? The best time to have a female chihuahua spayed is between 4 and 6 months. But medically, there’s no age limit for this surgery. As long as your chihuahua is healthy, you can even have her spayed during her golden years! Carefully consider this procedure as it won’t only stop unwanted pups but also improve your chihuahua’s life. If you’re unsure, consult with your vet.