Neutering a Female Dog

Neutering a female dog is often referred to as spaying. This means the dog’s ovaries and womb are removed under general anesthesia.

Neutering a female is always advisable if you don’t want to breed from the bitch. Neutering prevents unwanted heats and puppies.

Usually a bitch has two heats a year lasting on average 3 weeks. Bitches can have up to 12 puppies in a litter.

These foods are available for mini, medium and large breed puppies and will suit the individual needs of the various breeds of dog. We try to keep a small stock of free trial size bags of food at the clinic.

There are already too many unwanted dogs and puppies in Ireland and so neutering is a kind and responsible thing to do.

There are many health benefits of neutering. It prevents false pregnancies; pyometra which is a life threatening womb infection and can seriously reduce the risk of mammary/breast cancer in bitches.

Neutered females require fewer calories than entire females and so sometimes put on weight. This can be easily prevented by increasing the amount of exercise the dog receives and decreasing the amount of food.

A small number of older female dogs can develop urinary incontinence this can happen to neutered or entire bitches but seems to be a little more common in neutered bitches. It can be easily managed with oral medication.


Neutering a Male Dog

Neutering a male dog is also known as castration. Both testicles are removed under general anesthesia. Castration is especially important in animals with retained testicles.

Neutering a male dog prevents testicular cancer, prostate problems including prostate cancer and perianal hernias. It can also help prevent perianal masses (growths around the anus).

Castration also helps prevent straying, marking territory and aggression. Castration also helps prevent unwanted puppies.

Like female dogs neutered male dogs require fewer calories than entire male dogs. To prevent weight gain increase the dogs exercise which he will enjoy! And decrease his feed intake a little.


Pregnant Dogs

Duration of Pregnancy in Dogs

A dog's pregnancy lasts between 63-65 days. Pregnant animals have very different needs and problems to non-pregnant animals.


Their nutritional needs change during pregnancy and milk production. To maintain a healthy mother and babies it is important to feed correctly throughout pregnancy and lactation.


Labour can be distressing for both owner and pet unless you are aware of what is normal, what is not and when to call for help. Problems during labour, unless promptly dealt with, can lead to the death of the mother and her puppies.

Please make sure you educate yourself on this subject if you have a pregnant pet. We are happy to help.


Lactation/Milk Production Problems


An appropriate diet is very important during milk production as a mother will always feed her babies to the detriment of her own health.

This means that if she doesn't get the nutrition she needs from her diet she will use her own body reserves instead resulting in a very thin mother and fat puppies.

Seizures Related to Hypocalcaemia

A lack of calcium in the mother's diet while producing milk can also lead to seizuring of the mother which can be life-threatening (hypocalcaemia).


An infection in the mammary glands, or the breasts, is a common and painful problem. Glands should be checked twice daily for signs of swelling, teat redness and hardness. Mastitis can cause illness in both mother and puppies.


Pups should be fully weaned by 6 weeks of age. You can start weaning from 3½ weeks of age and sometimes, if medically necessary, even sooner.



Vaccination is the way we stimulate an animal's immune system to become resistant, or immune, to particular infections. A vaccination consists of part of a modified or killed virus or bacterium.

The body needs to be reminded of its enemies from time to time as antibody levels decrease over time so to keep these antibodies up to a level that will prevent infection we booster this immunity with a booster vaccination annually. It is very important to keep up to date with your pet's vaccination.



Microchipping your pet means in the unfortunate event of your pet going missing, the chances of having them returned to you are greatly increased. Collars can be removed or lost, but microchips are a permanent means of identification.

Microchipping is a simple procedure involving the placement of an electronic chip (about the size of a rice grain) under the skin at the back of your pet's neck. Once inserted the chip it is there for life and does not malfunction once checked initially. Veterinary clinics, dog wardens and animal welfare organisations routinely 'scan' stray animals for microchips.

We advise all pets should be microchipped and registered to you. It is now obligatory that all kennel club registered dogs are microchipped


Dental Care


Feeding a good quality dry food (nut) will help prevent plaque and tartar build up on your dog's teeth.

Dental Descale

If your pet has a build up of plaque or tartar we can descale their teeth.

Dog toothpaste

It is advisable to start brushing your dog’s teeth from a young age to get them accustomed to it.


Senior Dog Care

When is My Pet Dog a Senior?

Dogs reach a senior stage at different ages, depending on their size and breed:

Small Breeds - over 8 years
Medium Breeds - over 7 years
Large Breeds - over 7 years
Giant Breeds - over 5 years

Things to Watch Out For in Your Older Pet!

Food – problems eating, losing weight while eating normally, increased appetite, obesity, drinking more or incontinence.

Activity - Exercise intolerance, poor / reduced mobility, lethargy / sleeping more, eyesight / hearing problems,breathing problems and seizures or fits.



Dogs become adults at different times depending on their breed. Small dogs e.g. terriers are adults before 12 months of age, large breed dogs like golden retrievers are adults by 18 months and giant breed dogs are not adults until they are nearly 24 months of age.

Please feed your dog puppy food until they are an adult. Then gradually change him over to adult dog food. We reccommend Hills Science Plan adult which comes in mini, medium and large breed sizes of Pro Pac fod which also is available for different dog sizes.

Hills Science Plan Pet Food
Fig.1 Hills Science Plan Pet Food - available at Blackwater Veterinary Clinic


All dietary changes should be gradual to prevent tummy upsets.

We recommend dry food (nuts) because they help keep your dogs teeth healthy and usually help to keep your dog as trim as possible.

Scraps from the table (human food) are not good for your dog. It may not supply adequate nutrients for your dog and it is highly calorific and can lead to weight gain. Please never feed bones to your dog.