To Spay or Not to Spay: Dogs

Here are real pros and cons to spaying your female dog.

Spaying refers to surgically altering a female dogs reproductive cycle, by removing her uterus, thus leaving her unable to have puppies. It is commonly done around six months of age, but may be done earlier or later, depending on a veterinarians preferences. Even elderly dogs can be spayed.

Neutering refers to the removal of the testicles in a male dog , to end their reproductive ability. It is commonly done to male dogs, between six and ten months of age, but can be done to older animals as well.

This article is written in reference to spaying female dogs.

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Reasons To Spay Your Dog

  1. When a dog enters her heat cycle she is very annoying, and messy, she will bleed and sometimes have looser stools.
  2. Spayed dogs tend to wander less.
  3. Reduces chances of dog developing mammary cancer, especially if spayed before their first heat cycle.
  4. Prevents uterine infections.
  5. Prevents many cancers, such as uterine, and ovarian cancer, since these parts are removed.
  6. May result in a friendlier, less aloof, dog.
  7. Will lower the dogs risk of diabetes, although good diet also helps.
  8. A dog who is not breeding, will not catch any sexually transmitted diseases.
  9. In some areas that require licensing of dogs, the fees are lower if a dog is spayed.
  10. Spayed dogs have longer lifespans.
  11. No risk of complications during pregnancy, or delivery, such as a costly cesarean section.
  12. In some areas, pregnant animals are sought after for the purposes of sale for euthanasia to be used for veterinary students for dissection.
  13. The dog will not contribute to the large number of unwanted puppies.

Reasons Not To Spay Your Dog

  1. There is a small risk of complication, or death during surgery, usually due to reaction to the anesthetic. Veterinarians can test dogs for allergies prior to surgery.
  2. Small risk of complicated ions due to infection, keeping an eye on the stitches will help keep this in check.
  3. A purebred, registered dog , who is an excellent example of the breed, and has attended shows to prove such, may be a good dog for breeding purposes.

All in all the benefits and reasons for spaying a female dog outweigh the reasons against it. People do not realize the contributions one dog can make to the population. In one year an unspayed female may have two litters of an average of four or five puppies each. If all of these puppies find homes, and only half get spayed, then in the second year, it is possible that the dog population, has increased to some thirty, or more, dogs. One must remember that every puppy born which finds a home, takes a home away from another puppy, who will not be so lucky. In the United States alone, the number of dogs euthanized every year numbers is in the millions. The problem is far worse in cats, but this does not negate the fact that it exists in dogs, particularly larger breed dogs, who are not in demand, and have larger litters.

It is possible to spay a dog who is pregnant, although it should be done as early in the pregnancy as possible. There is a pill available from a veterinarian that will stop a dog from entering her heat, this is only a short term fix.

If a person has a male and female dog , and can only afford to fix one of them, it is more important that they spay the female. If a person cannot afford to get a pet altered, they should not get a pet or can select to start with a dog that was already fixed, or keep their pet indoors only, knowing that this can be difficult. Ultimately the number one thing a pet owner can do is be responsible, yes, your dog is undoubtedly wonderful, and would have cute puppies, but there are already millions of cute puppies waiting for homes.

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User Comments
  1. Denice

    On July 17, 2008 at 9:07 am

    even if the only reason to Spay a dog, was to stop it from having pups, that is reason enough for me, I worked at a shelter were we euthanized over 20,000 animals a year.

  2. PR Mace

    On July 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Pet owners that really loves their dogs will spay or neuter. Both my dogs were fixed as soon as they were old enough.

  3. Deanda

    On July 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    All my dogs are fixed.

  4. Nick

    On August 26, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Getting my dog spayed today actually, and can’t help but be really worried about complications. I know it’s a small percentage but.. I’m pretty nervous about it. =/

  5. Karen

    On March 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I’m planning to have my 3 1/2 lb Yorkie spayed and I’m a nervous wreck but I know it needs to be done….she will also have some baby teeth extracted….the anesthesia scares the heck out of me…

  6. Jay

    On April 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    This subject makes me sick. “it needs to be done”. why? for your own convenience? do you not understand the difference between Right and Wrong? you took on this animal which should be out in the wild.. you have no right to alter their body FOR YOUR OWN CONVENIENCE!

  7. chris

    On April 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm


    Go back and read post #1 and that should help answer your question.

  8. Brenda Nelson

    On May 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Jay – I wonder why you feel dogs should be “out in the wild” dogs are domesticated pets.

    we have been “altering” their bodies for generations, and altering our own too, keep in mind that spaying has many health benefits for the dog.

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