Should I Spay My Dog?

1142611_sweet_pupMany dog owners are hesitant to put their dog under anesthesia for a procedure like a spay or neuter, and many wonder the precise benefits of spaying or neutering a dog.

In this article, we’ll examine the advantages of spaying a dog.

Many dog owners are hesitant to spay a female dog due to the cost, which tends to be a bit more (between 25-50 percent more) than neutering due to the invasive nature of the procedure. And recovery from spaying also tends to take a bit longer, since spaying is a more invasive procedure.

Unlike neutering, which results in a visible change to the dog’s anatomy (a change that’s especially difficult for many men to stomach), spaying will not change the dog’s outward appearance. But it will lead to some very dramatic changes in the female dog’s lifestyle; perhaps more dramatic than the changes that occur as a result of neutering a male dog.

Spaying Benefit: A Spayed Dog Cannot Get Pregnant

The prevention of pregnancy in female dogs is an obvious benefit of spaying, but it’s a very important benefit nevertheless.

Pregnancy in a dog can lead to expensive veterinary bills – and that’s if everything goes as planned. Complications during a dog’s pregnancy can lead to veterinary bills in the thousands, along with loads of anxiety and worry for the owner.

Pregnancy, no matter how you cut it, can be very risky to the female dog’s health; this is especially the case with certain breeds. The pug breed, for instance, is more apt to require a cesarean section due to the large size of the puppy’s skull in some cases.

Accidental pregnancy in dogs also only worsens the problem of pet overpopulation, which ultimately leads to the death of many animals. So preventing pregnancy by spaying or neutering a dog is an effective way to save lives.

Spaying Benefit: No Doggy Menstruation or “Periods”

When a female dog goes into heat, she’ll get a period. This can be a messy ordeal, particularly if the situation unfolds while the dog is home alone.

Menstruation requires that owners diaper the dog, as many as two or three times per year. It’s a messy and inconvenient situation that’s caused many dog owners to change their mind about getting their female dog spayed. One round of canine menstruation and many dog owners are ready to bring their dog to the veterinary clinic the minute the bleeding stops.

Spaying Benefit: A Spayed Dog Will Not Go Into Heat

A dog in heat can be rather difficult to live with. She may exhibit sexualized behaviors at home and behavior problems are common when a female dog is in heat. Howling and vocalization in particular is very common in a dog who’s in heat. Collecting “babies” (anything from toys, stuffed animals, blankets – even telephones) and nesting behaviors are also very common.

A female dog in heat will also attract male suitors, so it’s not uncommon to find a throng of intact male dogs from the neighborhood congregating in your yard – a situation that can turn from inconvenient to threatening, particularly if you own male dogs, who may be more prone to attack from an aggressive, hormone-driven male suitor.

Spaying Benefit: Less Risk of Cancer and Other Illnesses

Spaying or neutering a dog dramatically decreases hormone levels; this decrease in hormone levels leads to fewer health problems.

Studies have shown that spaying or neutering makes the dog less prone to cancers and other diseases, as high hormone levels have been associated with the development of certain forms of cancer and other illnesses.

The decision to spay or neuter a dog should never be taken lightly. Any time a dog is placed under anesthesia, there is some risk. But in the vast majority of cases, the benefits of spaying a dog will dramatically outweigh the risks.

Dog owners may also enjoy “Should I Neuter My Dog?” along with “What Can I Expect After My Dog is Spayed or Neutered?”

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

3 Responses

  1. lee
    | Reply

    the exact thing i was looking for in this article was mentioned but not addressed. you mentioned more dramatic changes in a female after spay. what are the changes.your article was a waste of my time.

  2. Jean Van Rensselar
    | Reply

    I’d like to see the study that shows an unspayed female is at greater risk for mammary tumors. If true, this would meant that hormones in dogs behave opposite of hormones in human. For dogs with responsible pet owners, spaying or neutering is a travesty. Dogs have hormones for many reasons other than reproduction – i.e. bone strength. Following the logic of getting dogs spayed and neutered – it reduces behavioral problems – it would make sense to eliminate behavioral problems altogther by throwing a lobotomy in along with the spay. Also, if eliminating body parts lowers cancer risk, why not remove other things that they really don’t need, like that annoying extra kidney. All surgery carries a risk. Don’t drink this spay/neuter Kool-Aid !!

  3. madison
    | Reply

    To Lee:
    Um, did you read the article?
    The *entire article* is about the more dramatic changes in a female after a spay! No risk of pregnancy, no periods, no more sexualized behavior, lower risk of tumors, no mammary issues…
    Whereas a male just stops humping things, therefore, the changes in the female are more dramatic.

    To Jean:
    Just perform a search on one of the many scientific article depositories on the web and you’ll find write ups on dozens of studies that provide support to this claim. Or just ask your vet.
    And also, your premise is incorrect. This does not suggest that hormones act differently; in –all– animals, problems can arise when there is an excess or deficit of hormones. (And FYI, females continue to generate hormones after a spay; the production is just reduced.)


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