Can You Spay A Dog In Heat?

The short answer to this is yes, you can spay a dog in heat. However, many vets will recommend that you wait till the heat cycle is over before doing so. 

spay surgery for dogs
Photo by Gulyás Bianka on Unsplash

A spay surgery, or medically known as ovariohysterectomy refers to the removal of a dog’s reproductive organs. In this surgery, the female dog’s ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes are removed. 

Spaying a dog is considered to be one of  the more complicated surgeries that veterinarians perform, even though it is a routine procedure. It becomes even more difficult when the dog is in heat. 

As such, although it is possible to spay a dog in heat, it may not be the most ideal time to do so. Read on to find out why.

Complications of spaying a dog in heat

Although spaying a dog while she’s in heat is not unheard of, here are few complications that both your vet and your dog will have to deal with if this procedure is carried out during the heat cycle. 

The surgery will take longer than normal. This is due to the tissues in the reproductive organs being swollen and engorged during this time. This means that the tissues are more likely to ooze blood therefore, your dog has a very high risk of bleeding. 

The tissues in the reproductive organs are also more fragile during this stage. This can cause knots to pull through and lead to internal bleeding. 

Besides this, the cost of spaying a dog in heat also increases the cost of surgery as it may require the use of a surgical laser. 

It is also worth noting that it is possible to spay pregnant dogs. The risks of spaying a pregnant dog is similar to spaying a dog in heat - increased blood supply to the reproductive organs which increases the risk of bleeding. 

Should you spay a dog in heat? - Some points to help you decide

If you’re not sure whether or not to spay a dog when she’s in heat is the best course of action, consider this two points to help you decide:

Consider your dog’s pregnancy risk

This is probably the most important thing to consider. Is there a very high possibility that your dog will become pregnant? If there is, and you do not want to deal with a litter of puppies, then it’s probably best to do the surgery while your dog is still in heat. 

Keeping your dog inside during this time and having her on a leash when you go for walks will also reduce her risk of getting pregnant. 

Coping with the a dog in heat 

A dog in heat will not only attract male dogs, it will most probably spot your furniture and floors with blood. Cleaning up after a dog in heat can be quite a nuisance especially if you don’t have the time to do so. There might also be changes in your dog’s behavior and if it’s your dog’s first time, she might want you to give her extra love and care. Here are some tips on how to handle a dog in heat. If you can cope with your dog in heat, then it's best that you wait till the cycle is over before spaying her. 

When is the best age to spay your dog?

Dogs can experience their first heat cycle anywhere from 6 months onwards. Some dogs may even start experiencing its first cycle as young as 4 months old. This can come as a surprise especially if you’ve made plans to spay your dog just before her sixth month. As your dog starts to show the signs and symptoms of the first heat cycle, you may need to wait until after her heat cycle. It is best to spay your dog before her first heat cycle having lesser complications during surgery and easier post-surgery care. 

You should also consider the size and overall health before proceeding. This is especially so if you have a breed that is deep chested and larger as the surgery is tougher on them.  


While it is possible to spay your dog when she’s in heat, most vets would not encourage this complicated procedure. Your pet’s safety and recovery should be at the top of your priority list and it may be best to heed your vet’s advice on whether or not to proceed with this surgery. Consider all the risk factors as well as whether or not you are able to cope with a dog in heat. If your dog is still a pup, your vet will be able to give you advice on the best time to spay or neuter your dog, depending on its breed and size.