As I did not intend to show Ayla in confirmation, I got her spayed just shy of seven months. I had been advised by my vet to do it at 6 months and I was told afterward that Ayla was pretty darn close to going into heat. My breeder texted me a week later to let me know that one of Ayla’s siblings had gone into heat. I choose to spay my dog because it’s bad enough that one of us in my household bleeds, I wasn’t going to have two of us. While there is some controversy on “the best time” in your dog’s life to spay or neuter, the research I found online seemed to corroborate my vet’s suggestion, so I went with it, as I have always spayed/neutered dogs I owned. Ayla was to be no different.
But oh boy spaying has certainly gone up in price since the last time I did it. I remember with Sophie, Baltimore Animal Control gave us a SNAP certificate and $25 later it was done. I go to a vet that is in a slightly lower income part of my neighborhood just because they are no frills and they were still $475! I did it anyway. When I came to pick Ayla up later in the day, I was given two types of meds and a cone, and instructed to keep her calm for two weeks. She was not to run or get too wild while playing so as not to rip out her stitches. I pondered this in earnest given that Ayla was very active and I had no idea how to keep her “calm.” I basically interpreted this as leash-walks only, but it didn’t stop her indoor spirit.
I also discovered that the cone was a problem. At first it was a little funny as I lifted Ayla out of the car, but it messed up her depth perspective and she wasn’t able to climb the steps to go into the house. So I carried her inside and set her down, but she was still thrown off and decided she couldn’t move. I bribed her with treats until I got her in her bed. But I ran into an issue when I went to crate her a bedtime. Ayla was not yet trustworthy to leave loose in the house, so I was still crating her in this huge crate in the kitchen. Unfortunately, Ayla could not turn around in her crate while wearing the cone. This made me feel bad since the rule-of-thumb for crates is that your crate should be large enough for your dog to stand and turn around. I did some googling and the vet recommended advice was to back your dog into the crate and leave the cone on for as mean as it seemed, it was far better than the alternative of the dog ripping out their stitches.
I still felt bad. I also felt that I couldn’t ask the dog walkers to do this for two weeks. It seemed a little risky. I didn’t want her to get caught on the cage if it was done wrong and not-crating her wasn’t really an option as I was still having the dog walkers do it in the afternoon so she didn’t get into trouble. Luckily, the surgery was done on a Thursday, so Friday I was able to work-from-home to keep an eye on her and that meant she didn’t have to be crated at all and the following weekend, I was actually headed to my parents. This gave me a little time to research and ship alternative options to their house. I shared my dilemma with my mother and she called me back to let me know about Suiticles, or as I like to call them, “dog onsies.” I had one shipped to my folks for Saturday so that when we visited, I could swap the cone for the onsie. It was a game changer, so much easier to use. I did end up having to buy a smaller size that I shipped to myself. It protected Ayla’s belly and snapped up around her tail, so she couldn’t get out of it easily. It was also infinitely easier on the dog walkers to have them unsnap the butt flap, roll it up, walk her, and snap it back into place before putting her in the crate. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has a dog with stitches that are on the main frame of the dog.