Benefits Of Spaying And Neutering Your Dog (Stats & How It Works)

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Dog being held by vet (caption: Benefits Of Spaying And Neutering Dogs)The topic of spaying and neutering is most often brought up by dog owners; however, it is a subject that should be addressed by all pet owners. There are many benefits of spaying and neutering, including improved health outlook, improved temperament, a declining homeless pet population and a reduction in the expense associated with breeding.

Article Overview

What Is Spaying?

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Spaying is the practice of sterilizing female animals by removing the reproductive organs, including the ovaries and uterus. Spaying typically occurs between 4 and 6 months, but it can happen for older pets as well as long as they are in good health.

A female dog that is pregnant or in heat can be spayed. Spaying during pregnancy will terminate the pregnancy and can be performed until just a few days before delivery, although this is not recommended.

A spayed female typically takes longer to recover than a neutered male but is considered sterile immediately following her surgery.

What Is Neutering?

Neutering (also referred to as an orchiectomy or castration) is the practice of sterilizing male animals by removing the testes. The penis is not operated on during this procedure, and the outer sac that once held the testes is left in place.

Neutering is usually performed between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months; however, it can be performed on older animals as well as long as an animal is in overall good health.

Male dogs generally recover much more quickly following neutering than females do from spaying since spaying is much more invasive and results in a larger incision.

A neutered male is not considered sterile immediately following his surgery. On average, it can take around 2 weeks or as much as 6 weeks for a neutered male to be considered sterile.

It is important to keep a neutered male away from any females in heat for around 6 weeks to ensure that pregnancy will not result from the encounter.

How Much Does Spaying & Neutering Cost?

Vet performing a spay operation

The cost of spaying and neutering depends on a wide range of factors including the overall health of the animal, the size and weight of the animal, geographic location and whether the surgery is spaying or neutering. A lot of pet owners choose to have their regular veterinarian perform their animal’s spaying or neutering surgery.

The price range for spaying and neutering from a regular veterinarian ranges so significantly that there is no way to portray it accurately; however, there are many clinics that provide affordable spaying and neutering for between $40 to $150 per pet. Spaying and neutering can also be made more affordable by visiting your local animal shelter where the surgery can be performed at a lower cost than it is at most veterinarians or by purchasing a wellness plan, which will cover a portion of the procedure.

Is It Worth Paying More?

The first priority of pet owners should be providing a safe spaying and neutering experience for their pet. This type of experience is provided by all licensed veterinarians regardless of whether they work at a private clinic, a low-cost clinic or at the ASPCA or Humane Society.

With that said, there are benefits to going with a private veterinarian clinic for your dog’s spaying or neutering surgery. Using a private vet will allow you to build a relationship with a vet whom you and your dog will have a lifelong relationship.

There are also smaller considerations to take into account, such as the fact that many lower-cost clinics utilize glue to close spaying incisions rather than stitches. Glue will hold together an incision, but it can result in skin reactions, slower healing and reopening of the incision (although this can happen when using stitches as well.) While the choice between stitches and glue is a personal one for the veterinarian doing the surgery, lower budget clinics opt to use glue over stitches more often.

What Are The Benefits?

There are many reasons as to why pet owners should spay and neuter their pets.

Fewer Homeless Pets

Three stray puppiesLocal shelters are often overpopulated. If all pet owners spayed and neutered, their local animal shelters would experience a reduction in their populations. This reduction would not only result in fewer animals living on the streets and being euthanized, but it would also increase the available space in shelters for animals that may otherwise be thrust into homelessness.

Decreased Risk For Cancer

Neutered male dogs experience is a reduced risk for testicular cancer. Spayed females have a reduced risk for mammary, uterine, ovarian and cervical tumors.

Other Beneficial Health Effects

Neutered male dogs also experience a reduction in non-cancerous prostate disorders, a reduction in perineal fistulas and it is also believed a reduced risk for diabetes.

Female dogs that are spayed also experience a significant reduction in pyometra (a uterine infection) and perineal fistulas.

Less Breed Dilution

Another reason to spay and neuter your pet is due to their love of the breed. Most of us who have owned a pet like to think that our pet is the “best” there is; however, it takes much more than a personal opinion to make a dog that is a benefit to its breed.

Each specific breed of dog has particular standards set out by the American Kennel Club determining what makes a dog the best of its breed. These standards outline height, color, markings, health, clearance of hips, eyes, elbows and heart health.

All of these characteristics come together to make a dog healthy and help lead to an overall better breed. Breeding dogs that don’t have “clearance” from breeding organizations can lead to breed dilution and a much weaker dog with various inbred health conditions.

By spaying and neutering dogs that are not the best of the breed, we can ensure that healthy breeding lines live on and dogs experience fewer genetic health concerns.

Improvement In Behavior

Behavior can be affected by whether or not you spay or neuter your pet. One of the most obvious differences between a spayed or neutered pet and an unaltered pet is the need to “roam.”

Male pets will go to great lengths to get to a female that is in heat; this includes behavior such as tunneling under fences and leaping over gates. The scent of a female in heat can carry for considerable distances making it extremely difficult to contain a male pet that smells a female in heat.

Another consideration is the effect that hormone release has on the behavior of an animal. Males, in particular, can become extremely dominant or bullheaded as a result of surges in testosterone. These pets can be extremely difficult to control and train.

Hormones also play a role in instincts, such as marking behavior and shows of dominance and aggression. The majority of dog bites involve dogs that have not been fixed. Spaying and neutering can reduce these behaviors and make animals easier to manage, which can result in fewer frustrations for the animal.

Note: Some recent studies show that some intact males show less aggressive behavior than “fixed” dogs, especially when neutered at a young age. There have also been rare reports that female dogs who are spayed become more active, aggressive and/or anxious.

Less Mess

Mating is a messy business. Not only do males release ejaculate, but females experience menstruation.

The heat cycle during which the female bleeds can begin as early as 6 months old. For dogs, this cycle occurs approximately twice a year and lasts for 3 weeks.

In cats, the heat cycle occurs every 3 to 4 weeks from spring until fall. During heat cycles, females need to wear protective garments which must be changed frequently; this prevents the spotting of blood on furniture and around the home.

Females in heat must be kept away from all males; this means the female must not be allowed unsupervised access to anywhere she could potentially be mounted by a male. The act of mating can occur in seconds and result in an unwanted pregnancy.

Cost Of Pregnancy

Many people think that they would like their dog to have babies once in their lifetime; these people rarely understand the cost of both pregnancy and raising young.

Litter of puppiesThe pregnant female requires supplementation with vitamins in addition to a higher quality dog food. Regular veterinarian check-ups are a must to ensure the health of offspring as well as the mother to be. All of these expenses occur before the youngsters are even born.

The birthing process is another potentially expensive experience. Several conditions can arise that require veterinary intervention, which can be costly; it is also possible for the birthing female to experience complications that cost her her life.

Assuming the mother and babies make it out of delivery, there is then the added cost of raising young. The nursing mother requires premium food, and her babies require both regular medical checkups and preventative medication.

After raising babies to approximately 8 weeks, they must all be found safe and responsible homes. Just because a pet owner believes that their pet is the best “____” ever, does not guarantee that everyone else does too, it is possible that all offspring may not find a home.

As a responsible pet owner, it is up to you to raise the young until such a home can be found. Many pet owners shirk this responsibility, and if a home cannot be found for offspring, they are dumped in a local shelter, feeding a vicious cycle.

Benefits Of Spaying And Neutering Your Dog Infographic

Benefits Of Spaying And Neutering Your Dog Infographic

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Excuses For Not Spaying And Neutering

A German Shepherd being spayedPet owners have many excuses for why they don’t want to “desex” their animal.

  • I want another dog just like Fido – We are not duplicates of our parents and the same goes for our dogs. Each living thing is unique.
  • Spaying and neutering will make my pet fat – Fixing your dog can reduce their level of activity and cause hormonal changes, but poor diet and exercise is the cause of their weight problem.
  • We could become breeders and make money – Breeding is done for the love of the breed and isn’t always a profitable business. There are many fees associated with feeding that cause breeders to lose money.
  • My pet will change after they get spayed or neutered – Pets typically change for they better. They become less aggressive and are less hardheaded.
  • My pet deserves the chance to be a parent – We tend to put human emotions and desires on our animals. Being a parent as a human is different from being a parent as an animal. Animals care for their young for a set period and it doesn’t consist of enrichment activities as it does for humans.
  • What if the surgery goes wrong – This is a valid concern, but rarely does anything go wrong. These are routine surgeries, but there are instances where a dog reacts to anesthesia.
  • We always find homes for our puppies – The people who take in the puppies you have are people who could have saved a dog from a local shelter or rescue group. This means there is one less home and one less second chance for a dog in need.
  • My dog is always contained – Dogs can escape back yards and other dogs can break into your back yard. Dogs get lost and run away every day.
  • It’s not natural to spay or neuter dogs – It’s also not natural to own dogs as possessions, but we domesticated them.
  • I couldn’t look my dog in the eye if I cut off his boys – Could you look him in the eye if he developed testicular cancer that you could’ve prevented?
  • My dog will feel less like a man – Dogs do not have a concept of sexual identity, neutering them will not cause an identity crisis for them.
  • It’s healthier for female dogs to have a litter before being spayed – There is no medical research supporting this.
  • Spaying and neutering is too expensive – Many vet clinics and shelters offer discount spay and neuter services to help families with financial constraints to provide for their pet.
  • My children should experience the miracle of birth – There are other ways to educate your children than them witnessing it first-hand. Show them a video, share an article with them, etc.
  • My dog is a purebred – If you aren’t a certified breeder, you have no place breeding your dog.
  • Spaying and neutering will make my dog less protective – A dog will not lose their natural instinct to protect their family.
  • My dog should experience a heat cycle before being spayed – It is riskier for a dog to go through a heat cycle than for them to undergo spaying surgery before heat.

Statistics

These statistics about euthanasia in animal shelters and spaying/neutering are shocking.

  • Every year approximately 5-9 million shelter animals are euthanized.
  • 50% of dogs and 70% of cats in shelters are euthanized due to lack of adopters.
  • Every 6 seconds in the United States alone an animal is euthanized.
  • Approximately 25% of shelter pets are purebred and have “papers” to prove it.
  • Only ten percent of animals that find their way to local shelters have been spayed or neutered.
  • 75% of owned pets are spayed or neutered. While this is a good start, it is not nearly enough considering the number of pet dogs and cats in the nation.

What The Spaying & Neutering Process Is Really  Like For Your Dog

Humans can never be truly sure what a dog feels, but here is a glimpse into the procedure based on vet knowledge and research.

No matter your dog’s sex, the first thing that will happen is the dog is placed under general anesthesia. This usually involves a quick injection, which vets are trained to perform while keeping the dog calm. All the dog experiences after that is sleep, and no pain, much like a human in surgery.

A tube is fed into the dog’s airway, and his/her breathing is ventilated throughout the procedure and heart rate is monitored. This is where it begins to vary for males and females

Your Male Dog’s Experience Being Neutered

After anesthesia is administered, breathing is ventilated and vitals are monitored, the fur in front of the scrotum is clipped or shaved, and the skin is sterilized using a topical antiseptic wash.

A small incision is made in that location using sterile surgical tools. For puppies with both testicles descended, the next step is the clipping of the vas deferens and the removal of the testicles, which takes 10 to 20 minutes. (An undescended testicle, while rare, will take a bit longer as it presents a minor complication to remove a testicle from the abdomen.) The vas deferens and the blood supply to the area are tied off, and the small incision is closed with surgical glue, staples, or in rare cases, sutures.

Post-Neuter Care

Puggle puppyThe dog wakes up without pain or numbness when the anesthesia wears off and is often able to go home that day. He may be sore, and your vet will supply minor pain medication as well as instructions for how to check for infection. Dogs can eat and drink normally when they get home, but require gentle, monitored walking and should refrain from jogging or rough playing with other dogs or people who might accidentally worsen the surgery wound.

If your dog looks like he is going to lick his stitches, a cone will be placed around his neck until the wound heals. Although this might be annoying to him, it is important that he does not aggravate the sensitive spot of the incision until after the stitches are removed or the wound is fully closed up. The wound should be healed after about one week, and the dog can resume his usual antics.

Your Female Dog’s Experience Being Spayed

After anesthesia is administered, breathing is ventilated and vitals are monitored, the skin on the abdomen is shaved or clipped and treated with an antiseptic. A small abdominal incision is made, and the uterus and ovaries are removed, and the blood supply sealed off.

The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes, or more if your dog is overweight. The wound is sealed with surgical glue, staples or sutures. The stitches are in 2 to 3 layers so if one layer starts coming undone, the other layers remain intact.

If the surgery is performed during estrus (while the dog is in heat), expect it to take longer, require more supplies and be a little riskier. The medication used before, during and after surgery may vary as well. These adjustments often lead to a more expensive vet bill.

Post-Spay Care

The surgery is deeper into the abdomen than neutering, but dogs heal just as quickly after being spayed. The dog wakes up, and will not be sore immediately. Vets usually prescribe minor pain medication for the days after the surgery, and once again you are required to check for infection. The dog will not be able to eat normally until the day after returning home, to give the wound time to heal enough before pressure is put on it from a full stomach.

Nausea is a common symptom that may make her not want to eat; home remedies may be recommended for this or in some cases, medication will be prescribed. The vet will instruct you on how to feed and water her before then. Since female spays are more likely to have sutures or staples, those require a return visit to the vet’s office within 10 to 14 days for removal.

It is often reported that after spaying your dog, her metabolism slows, so for adults, this may require lower calorie food or a special diet. Like with a neuter, the first week after a return home will be especially gentle for your dog, but after a week she can resume all her usually playful activities.

Can I Use A Discount Spay And Neuter Clinic?

The cost of spaying and neutering pets is often enough to turn a pet owner away from following through with the process. Fortunately, most communities offer discount spay and neuter clinics to help these pet owners afford this important procedure.

The ASPCA has a listing of spay and neuter programs that are local to any area within the United States. Spay and neuter programs are agencies that provide assistance or referrals to discount professionals who can perform the surgery.

Most dog owners become nervous when they hear the term “discount” when it pertains to something like surgery for their furry family member. In the majority of instances, these spay and neuter clinics are sponsored or held at local SPCA shelters and humane societies. These agencies provide this discounted service because they are the ones who will have to pay for the pet overpopulation if pets are not spayed and neutered.

How Do Spay And Neuter Clinics Work?

Spay and neuter clinics work by asking clients to call and make surgery appointments for their pets. Making surgery appointments is just like making any other veterinary appointment. Generally, these services will ask pet owners to call or submit forms online to request spay and neuter appointments.

Who Performs The Discount Surgeries?

Some people are under the impression that because the service is a discounted service, that poor quality or non-licensed or veterinary students will be permitted to conduct sterilization surgery.

This assumption is simply not true. Sterilization clinics employ only licensed veterinarians not only because it is not ethical to do otherwise, but also because of the potential for other needs while a pet is in surgery.

What Is The Cost Of Discounted Surgery?

Dog in fenced yardDiscount spay and neuter clinics vary in their cost based on a variety of factors. The base fee for sterilization surgery is determined by the area in which the client lives. For example, Furry Friends Community Spay Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa charges $75-$95 for a female dog (depending on dog’s weight), $55-$75 for a male dog (depending on dog’s weight), $50 for a female cat and $40 for a male cat.

Clinics may also add a fee of $15 to $40 for pets that are in heat, pregnant or obese at the time of their sterilization.

What Is Included In The Cost?

As with the question above, what is included in the price of spay and neuter surgery at a discount clinic varies depending upon the clinic. Items may include the sterilization process, a 1-year rabies vaccination, distemper and any other core vaccinations and a pain relief injection for the surgical procedure.

Add on services are also offered based on the individual needs of a client and these can include: additional pain relief medication for recovery, microchipping, heartworm testing, heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention (applied at the hospital or provided to take home,) Feline Leukemia testing, Feline leukemia vaccination, canine kennel cough vaccination, cone e-collars and cardboard carriers.

Is A Discount Clinic As Good As My Regular Vet?

This question is asked so many times by dog owners because naturally, they care about their dog’s well-being. As already discussed, all discount spay and neuter clinics utilize licensed vets to perform their surgeries. You will notice a difference between the vet that you are used to and any other vet because they are different doctors with different bedside manners; however, both will be professionally trained.

A discount clinic may be more rushed than your vet’s clinic in performing your dog’s sterilization; however, this doesn’t indicate that your dog’s procedure will be rushed. As with your regular vet, these clinics require appointments and schedule only as many patients as they can capably treat within a day.

Learn More About Financial Assistance For Vet Services

Do Spay & Neuter Clinics Use Cheap Materials?

This is an unusual question, but it has been asked before particularly by those who have had a dog spayed at a veterinarian clinic that utilizes stitches and a spay and neuter clinic that utilizes surgical glue to close incisions.

The difference between these two methods is particularly noticeable if you are used to one method over the other; however, both are approved methods of wound closure. Depending upon the clinic that performs your pets spay or neuter surgery there is a possibility that the vet will prefer stitches or glue to close an incision. This preference is simply that, a preference of the vet.

Importance Of Supporting Spay & Neuter Clinics

Even if you choose not to utilize spay and neuter clinics, you can still support local clinics by making donations of supplies or monetary donations. These donations go into allowing clinics to provide discounted sterilization surgeries to prevent pet overpopulation.

The higher the population of homeless pets, the larger the stray pet population which increases the risk of disease among feral animals as well as increases the financial strain put on locally-owned animal shelters and animal control centers.

If you have a dog that is not spayed or neutered yet, you may want to consider getting a pet wellness plan for them. Many wellness plans cover a portion of the expense associated with “fixing” a dog in addition to many other things including vaccinations, microchipping, annual exams, teeth cleanings, flea, tick and heartworm treatments and more.

Why are you for or against spaying/neutering your pet?

About The Author:

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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Brandon
If my dog is already chill…will neuturing change him to be more aggressive
Kate Hansen
I never knew that it could reduce the risk of mammary cancer for female pets. My husband and I recently got a puppy for our daughter’s 7th birthday last week, and we were wondering if we should find a vet to get her spayed or not. I really appreciate you helping me learn more about getting your pet spayed or neutered.
Ellie Davis
I never knew that neutering dogs will experience a reduced risk of having testicular cancer. My husband and I adopted a dog recently, and a friend recommended to neuter him. I will let him know about the benefits of neutering our dog to reduce the risk of testicular cancer.
David Johnson
That’s awesome that my dog can live three more years if I get them spayed or neutered. My brother’s dog is having puppies and I want to buy one. I’ll have to take it to get spayed.
dogsciencesays
Plummeting euthanasia rates suggest desexing dogs is a good idea. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There are potential welfare issues for spayed and neutered dogs which recent science is allowing us to understand better and better.
Bri
Spaying and/or neutering your dog is the most important thing (after consistent vaccines) that you can do for your animal. I work at a low-cost clinic and see dozens of intact animals each day. Spaying BEFORE a female dog’s first heat cycle will put her chances of developing breast cancer at less than 1%, after her second, around 25%; thereafter, her risk continues to rise with each heat cycle. If (or when, if she’s not been spayed) a dog develops breast cancer and requires a mastectomy, my clinic requires that they be spayed at the same time. It would be almost pointless to put a dog through that procedure, leave her ovaries, and have the cancer return 6 months later and metastasize because of that hormonal influence. I’ve seen dogs as young as 2 years old develop a very life-threatening condition called pyometra (the uterus fills with infection, becomes engorged and inflamed, and will very quickly kill the dog if an expensive emergency procedure isn’t done), and 25% of all intact female dogs will develop this in their lives. We see this emergency in our office every other day. Maybe you didn’t plan on breeding her? A lot of the time your intentions don’t matter. I’ve heard several stories of intact males breaking into owners’ backyards, through their windows, etc. to get to the bitch in heat, and then you have anywhere between 3 to 11 puppies to provide veterinary care for, feed, monitor consistently, and possibly provide emergency care for. And that’s not even mentioning all of the possible pregnancy complications that we’ve seen that cost thousands of dollars.
For males, obviously if you don’t have your testicles anymore, you can’t get testicular cancer or torsion (a very, VERY painful conditions). An unfortunate condition called cryptorchidism (one of the testicles doesn’t descend – this is GENETIC) puts these guys at a much higher risk of developing cancer, and this is not something you can simply monitor and have removed when you see something suspicious (let’s not forget that cancers metastasize, either). Additionally, about 80% of intact males will develop prostate issues, and unfortunately the only way to permanently resolve them is to neuter. Above all, intact males are at a greater risk of getting into dog fights (whether they be the recipient or the aggressor) and roaming (or running away from home chasing a female in heat miles away) where they get hit by cars or can disappear from your life forever.
As far as behavioral changes go, I would be VERY cautious in attributing them to the spay/neuter procedure. There are most likely dozens of mitigating factors at play (including your perceptions, perhaps?) that are to blame for your dogs’ change in behaviors. First and foremost, is you dog simply growing up without proper socialization? If you didn’t have your puppy go through consistent, positive interactions with a myriad of people and other animals at a very young age, they will grow up anxious and fearful, which very often results in aggression and behavioral changes. On the opposite end, are they simply growing into adults that are less likely to exhibit those puppy behaviors you loved so much? Do they require further stimulation to keep them happy and active, or do they need training so they can figure out their place in your house? Please be aware that while dogs are not to be personified, they are still living, learning creatures that needs structure and interactions.
To finish up, I’m not impressed by numerous commentators’ citations from PhyschologyToday. Firstly, are these peer-reviewed studies conducted by doctors of veterinary medicine (because the article itself is certainly not published by one), what was the age distribution, how many breeds & which types were sampled (certain breeds are more prone to anxiety and aggression), was this study double-blind, what underlying or genetic conditions did the dogs have, and when were these apparently aggressive dogs spayed/neutered and were they showing signs of aggression/fear before the procedure? I find it very strange that one the one hand, we tend to attribute our own egos to these dogs by believing that spaying/neutering them is cruel and that doing so changes them for the worst, while on the other hand, I should hope we don’t believe that a woman having had a mastectomy or hysterectomy, or a man having had an orchidectomy is any lesser for it?
I urge everyone to think critically about these issues, address any concerns with a veterinarian, and think about the bigger picture (aka those millions of dogs in shelters that will die due to over-breeding and accidental litters). Thank you for reading!
Henry Killingsworth
It never occurred to me that one of the benefits of spaying your pets is that it reduces their urge to roam around. My wife and I want to adopt a dog, but we are worried that it will escape our yard and get lost or hurt. It seems like it would be a good idea to find a veterinarian’s office that can spay the dog for us once we get it.
Mindy Jollie
It’s good to know that your dog is put under general anesthesia for spaying and neutering. My husband and I just got a puppy that we’ll need to get spayed soon. We’ll have to make sure our veterinarian is experienced in those procedures.
Ken
Good article but a recent study with over 9,000 dogs by the University of Pennsylvania (published in Psychology Today) experienced a GREATER amount of aggression and fear in neutered dogs. Females spayed at less than 1 year old also showed greater signs of aggression.

The study found that there are just 4 benefits of neutering and none to do with personality related behaviours.
1-Neutered dogs were less likely to leave urine mark indoors.
2-Neutered dogs were less likely to howl when left alone.
2-Neutered dogs, when off-leash, were also more likely to return when called.
4-Neutered dogs, tended to reliably fetch tossed items.
That’s it for the positive effects of neutering.

Many neutered dogs will aggressively go after intact males. This could be a reason to neuter if visiting dog runs/parks often.

Psychology Today articles:
Neutering Causes Behavior Problems In Male Dogs
Are There Behavior Changes When Dogs Are Spayed Or Neutered?

Skyler Williams
I had no idea that spaying and neutering your pets could reduce the risk of certain cancers in them. A cat appeared on my doorstep last night and I wasn’t sure what to do about it. After reading this article, I think I’m going to keep it and definitely get it spayed.
Amanda Smith
Note: Some recent studies show that some intact males show less aggressive behavior than “fixed” dogs, especially when neutered at a young age. There have also been rare reports that female dogs who are spayed become more active, aggressive and/or anxious.
Neutering an anxious dog of any sex is the WORST thing you can do to that dog as all it does is make the anxiety worse as the hormones used to help counteract the nervousness are the sex hormones, so remove them & you add to the problem.
What do you call neutering young? No dog should be neutered until they are a minimum of 6-8 months old. I know it’s common practice in America to neuter from 6 weeks of age but this is tantamount to abuse & it has been proven that this is what is causing the overwhelmingly massive wave of joint disease in dogs that has been seen for years. Bones need the sex hormones to know when to close the growth plates, if that hormone is not present or not enough of the hormone is circulating the body, then the growth plates close at differing rates causing such diseases as Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, bowed legs from the 2 bones in the front legs growing (& the growth plates closing) at different rates, etc. etc. etc.
Faylinn
I think it is so important that you clarified that making surgery appointments is just like making any other appointments. We adopted my cat about a year ago, and she has been the nicest indoor cat ever since. However, we are downsizing and we want to help her become an indoor-outdoor cat, but for that, we will have to make sure she does not get pregnant, so we are thinking about calling a vet nearby to see what our options are. Thank you for this article, it helped me ease some of my fears and made me take another step in the right direction.
Becky
If your dog doesn’t have a life partner then why leave them intact? Dogs are known to roam for a partner and would you really risk your dog/bitch getting pregnant by accident whilst out walking?
No, neutering isn’t going to change anything only unnecessary pregnancy. Be responsible dog owners and neuter your pet.
Anon
For some actual science behind the objections raised by some, to some of the info in the article, go here.
Anon
There is a lot of recent data on the health (and some behavioural) benefits of NOT neutering, for male dogs in particular. It’s is true to say that dlfemale dogs who are spayed get less mammary cancer. It is kind of redundant to say male dogs who are neutered get less testicular cancer–that’s like saying leg amputees get less leg cancer. Further, testicular cancer is usually very easy to see developing and affected testicle are easily removed if that occurs.
There is also quite a bit of newer evidence that anxiety, and aggression related to anxiety(possibly the largest category of aggressive dog, in my reasonably educated view) , may be greater in neutered male dogs.
Roaming/escaping behaviour does seem likely to reduce, so that will depend on how big a problem that is for an individual owner and dog.
My male Kelpie cross is 3 and un-neutered. He’s the calmest, most grounded dog I’ve ever owned. We train several times a week, and he has generally superb obedience and concentration. I would say the biggest problem we face is that un-neutered males seem to randomly take objection to him. I don’t know, but am assuming this is partly to do with his scent being different, possibly 1) an instinctual reaction to the extra testosterone, and 2) to do with unneutered dogs being unusual these days, so it’s an unfamiliar experience and (ironically) raises anxiety even higher. Not sure–all I know is that contrary to all expectation, we’ve had a worse time with neutered males, than unneutered, so far! I don’t want him to get proactive about fighting (as in, he’s had to defend himself a couple times, and I don’t want him to start to go on the offensive-ever-especially since if s*** goes down, it’s the un-neutered male that cops most of the blame regardless of circumstances, I find) , so I am very planned and choosy about where we go, and who he socialises with, which I’ll admit is a bit of a pain.
also very ironic is the fact that he’s so extremely laid back that several trainers have strongly suggested he would make a great therapy or assistance dog- but I can only get certification if I get him neutered. Which for all of the above reasons, I’m reluctant to do! Gah:S
Marcus
This article is WAY OUT OF DATE…lol…research shows FAR MORE benefits keeping them in tact. And spaying/neutering dogs will not prevent pet overpopulation (although it can contribute to the problem). Irresponsible owners will, period.
Polarsun1
This article is opinionated and out of date. Recent results from research funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation have the potential to significantly impact recommendations for spaying and neutering dogs “prior to maturity”. Read the landmark research findings of Dr Benjamin Hart, UC Davis. For years the veterinary community has been aware that the early spay & neuter may impact orthopedic health in dogs.
sharina.moore
To spay, neuter and castrate all mean the same thing, regardless of gender. They mean to remove the gonads (ovaries and testes). So we only need one word because the words are not gender specific, and they do not include removal of the uterus. Removal of the uterus is called a hysterectomy. If you remove ovaries and uterus that is an ovariohysterectomy. Removal of just the fallopian tubes is called a salpingectomy. Consult with a physician or veterinarian first if you are going to write scientific medical articles so you get the terminology correct.
Iris Lacy
There are numerous benefits for waiting to spay neuter until after maturity. It’s understood for shelter populations that this be done earlier.
Ron
Amazing. It seems like humans fit the same
above categoried. We also live unnatural lives that attribute greatly to the population growth problem. So, when can we spay/neuter/euthanize them? This is extremely hypocritical.

It seems there is a chance for complications with or without fixing them? Incidences for cancers vs. hip dysplasia, overtaxed adrenal glands, decreased metabolism, etc. I find this article very biased and I personally feel it is wrong to subject an animal to that. It’s about as great a farce on health as removing foreskins which barely has any health benefits whatsoever. I would also find it ideal to keep every edge I can get to maintain their health and weight which the sexual organs contribute, too. Not just exercise alone. Although, I do agree it helps in helping the homeless population, I think you should better inform people of the otherwise of the fence. Spaying/neutering feels like an extreme and dated practice that typically older generations go through to remedy problems, not grow up dealing with and not properly developing. It’s an archaeic practice people just go along with when a simple vasectomy or tube clipping would be sufficient. At least, to allow the pet the natural hormone source that they have evolved to actually require for proper health growing up.

T G
It’s called “responsibility” and obviously you are opposed to it. . So just don’t be a pet owner and you don’t have to worry about it
garypuntman
It’s good to know that spaying and neutering your pet is an important part of having them be domesticated. I agree that domesticating animals has changed the way we need to do things. It’s also good to know that you can prevent certain types of cancer from developing by doing this, like you said.
Louise McNally
This article is blatantly untrue. All the research shows that animals DO change for the worse after spaying or neutering. Dogs become more aggressive, not less. All the information is out there, so it’s totally unacceptable to spout these lies. In Norway it’s illegal to spay or neuter a dog unless there’s a pressing medical need.
Peggy Found
You are Wong. We had our dog spayed and she did not become aggressive. Our children have had several dogs and all were spayed and none were aggressive.
Gordon
The anecdotal example of your dog does not make this commenter wrong. The facts are out there. I’d refer you to studies dive on over 15,000 dogs referred to in this article. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201702/are-there-behavior-changes-when-dogs-are-spayed-or-neutered%3famp
Arne
Louise: you are right. From a health perspective the best time to neuter a male is NEVER. The idiotic reasons for neutering mentioned in this article are infuriating. A lot of these so called ‘problems’ that are supposedly ‘fixed’ by neutering a male are fixed by responsible dog ownership. Most of the reasons mentioned are blatant lies or at least majorly distort the facts. It is your typical reference cherry picking, lets only mention one research result supporting your position while disregarding the other 20 results that disagree with your position.
Bri
I do not believe you can fix testicular cancer or prostate infections by being a responsible owner. The next time you take your dog (I’m assuming you have one) to your vet (which I’m very much hoping you do, even if you refuse to neuter him), you should ask them about the pros and cons of the very simple procedure. Hopefully he/she can sort out these “lies” for you. I would also urge you to exercise caution in cherry-picking articles yourself, and would only trust those about dog health written and peer-reviewed by veterinarians. After reading the above mentioned article myself, I have quite a few questions: WHEN were these dogs spayed/neutered, were they ALREADY aggressive or showing signs of anxiety/fear as a puppy before the procedure (were these perhaps some of the motivations for spaying/neutering?), what is the distribution in breeds across both aisles, and what proportions of intact vs fixed dogs were they studying (ie was there a much greater amount of intact dogs reviewed than fixed, skewing the sample size?). Yes, thousands of dogs sampled is a large number, but sample sizes alone do not make a good study. That being said, millions of dogs are euthanized in shelters every year due to over-breeding and inadequate housing. THAT should be the only statistic you need in determining whether to fix your pet.
Chris
My 9 month old Beagle was normal until she got spayed. Sure, she chewed and ate things she’s not supposed to, but that’s how puppies are supposed to be. Since she got spayed, however, she is in permanent Ms. Hyde mode. She rips up every last thing that isn’t mailed down, eats every last thing, has destroyed furniture, rugs and has become far more aggressive than she should EVER be. We’ve had her looked at and they said “oh, she’s fine, she’s just being a puppy.” Wrong. What this article fails to disclose is there is a percentage of female dogs, when spayed, that seem to go completely bonkers and become machines of utter destruction. My dog is not bored, she is not lacking in stimulation or play time. Her operation, which I’m now starting to regret, flipped a switch in her head that seemingly has no off switch. What the veterinarian failed to mention to us is that the dog was in heat when we had her operation – until AFTER the operation. Meanwhile, there were no visible signs of her having gone into heat before she had the operation. I lack the scientific or medical background to fully understand the ins and outs of this kind of thing, but something tells me you shouldn’t be performing a spaying on a dog while they are in their cycle. Someone out there, please explain to me what exactly is going on with my dog, otherwise I may have no choice than to put her to sleep. She’s had all of her shots eats right, gets plenty of exercise and always has something fun to do. I cannot turn my back on her, though, because as soon as I do, she begins to destroy my house, yard and attack my 7 year-old son.
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
Hi Chris, So sorry to hear your dog is acting up. We have added a few additional notes to our article based on your feedback and some research. While we did not find much on this subject, most report reduced aggressions, anxiety, etc. We did find this one study that I thought you might find interesting. https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/can_spaying_make_dog_behavior_worse/ Take care and if anyone in our community has any helpful advice, please share.
Noemi
That research was done in 1997 and the article in 2009. That’s a decade ago.
Brandy Bridges
Thats so sad to read. I sure hope things have gotten better?
Karla
I find this article lacking in newer scientific research. The part about behavior does not meet current research. Females especially in large breeds should have one heat especially if they have a tipped urethra. Larger breed males in particular have increased incidences in several cancers. You can do a ovarian sparing spay and keep hormones normal for females with no chance of pregnancy and you can do a vasectomy in males. To give people a quarter of the truth without the other options is just pushing an agenda. I have intact females who are contained in our home while cycling. In 20 years never had an oops. I have also had intact males which I kept separate and again no oops. Not luck but a firm understanding of reproductive systems and health. I choose to do ovarian spays on my girls and have been pleased with their energy, athleticism , decreased number of fatty cell lumps and increased quality and quantity of life. Dogs are mammals the laws of hormones don’t change. Women who have surgery induced menopause take hormones because they are essential, Dogs need to mature physically and psychologically. If one insists one removing all hormones at least wait until long bone growth is stopped by adult hormones and correct musculature is formed. Especially in large athletic dogs.
roger c
in humans to prevent a pregnancy they cut and tie tubes instead of an entire hysterectomy. why don’t they do this in dogs?
Canine Journal
Roger, great question! For female dogs, the answer is more straightforward than with males. If a female dogs’ tubes are tied (tubal ligation) only vs. spaying (removal of the ovaries), then she will continue to produce hormones which will result in her normal “heat” or fertility cycles. During her cycle, she will also be more interested in mating which could lead to more aggressive and uncontrollable behaviors.

The more aggressive behaviors from the continued presence of hormones also apply to male dogs when only a vasectomy is performed. A vasectomy removes part of the sperm channel to prevent the sperm from ever reaching the outside world (or female egg) but leaves the other parts intact. Neutering removes all of the sexual organs in a male dog, eliminating the hormonally driven behaviors as well.

All of this being said, this is becoming a more controversial discussion in the veterinary world due to higher risks and costs associated with full sexual organ removals vs. less invasive surgeries such as vasectomy and tubal ligation. There is also some information supporting benefits of the sexual hormones that we are removing from most pets with spay/neuter procedures.

Arne
Blatantly untrue. First of all neutering does NOT remove ALL sexual organs obviously. And there is a LOT more information supporting the decision to leave males intact
Anonymous
Spay and neuter is definitely important! Far too many animals end up homeless, in shelters, euthanized, abused, etc. Spaying and neutering your pets could potentially help decrease the amount of suffering animals. I currently have 2 dogs. One was a rescued female doberman mix. She was dumped on the side of the road starving and someone had taken her off the streets and I ended up taking her into our family. She was spayed recently, along with being fully vaccinated and she received a clean bill of health from the vet as well thank goodness. For those owners who find that spay and neuter costs too much, I strongly recommend a low cost clinic. I had taken her to an SPCA clinic and they spayed her, ran tests on her, gave all of her vaccines (rabies included), and microchipped her, and sent us home with pain pills for her. she was actually pregnant as well..so they did add a $10 fee for her being pregnant). If I remember correctly her spay was $65 plus the $10 pregnancy fee, vaccines were $50 all together, microchip was $15. The tests they ran we’re free.
They did a wonderful job with her. And she healed up extremely well. I will be taking my male blue heeler mix in next,and then our kitten we recently rescued!
Mike Wallace
After 10 years my westie bitch has started to rip up carpets and chew at doors. We’ve tried everything from tranquilisers to thunder jackets, but nothing works.

Would spaying help to calm her down?

Matt
I had my beautiful baby girl American bulldog spayed at the humane society on 8-19 and she started acting like herself again by day two. On 8-21 she was being leash walked down the back alley to potty when the neabor dog started barking and of course Pandora got excited and started pulling to get to the fence. When doing so she hemeridged and ultimately had a stroke and died almost immediately!! I have never been so heartbroken in my life as she was my best friend and we spent every moment of every day together since she was six weeks! Wherever I went she went and now since all I can think is that having her spayed was the worst decision I could have made! I don’t understand how a dog as heathy she was could die from this that easy? I followed the post recovery to a tee but after she passed i became obligated to do my own homework on the subject and this procedure is definitely far more delicate then they perseve it and in turn it caused my beloved Pandora to cut her life so prematurely! It cut me so deep that I’ll never forgive myself for having it done and I’ll never forgive the humane society for making this procedure seem so common and standard! It is Def far more dangerous and risky then they say it is! I have never had such a close bond with a dog and now I’m totally weiry about ever getting another dog bc the heartbreak is so severe and I doubt that I’ll ever get over this nightmare! I worked with her so much and had her trained so well just to have her life taken and my soul absolutely shattered! Point is if u ever have this surgery done please REALLY DO YOUR HOMEWORK BF HAND SO U CAN LEARN ALL THE PREVENTATIVES POSSIBLE! NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO SUFFER THIS KIND OF LOSS! I LOVE YOU PANDORA GIRL FOREVER!
Eln
It’s really a sad story! Brought tears to my eyes.,but I bet if you look at all the statistics Of all dogs that have been spayed, the results are not fatal. I would surmise that in a rare case something like this could happen.
Deanie Taylor
Can a male dog perform the duty to feamsle..get hung upbut no way he can get her pregnsnt
Jeff
I am not sure why people on here believed their dog changed after surgery.

I have had beagles growing up all my life. None of them spayed until I moved out on my own and got a female beagle. The first beagle died of cancer at 10yrs old and was not spayed. The other died of cancer at 12yrs old and had an enlarged heart for a couple years prior, was not spayed. The other is currently 8yrs old and has seizures a couple times a year and hasn’t been spayed. The other who hasn’t been spayed is 2yrs old and has seizures and had a bad reaction and almost died with a distemper inject. These are conditions from 4 beagles not spayed.

My beagle we spayed at around 4 months old. She is great, although at the time I felt guilty putting her through it, we are so glad we did. She is smart, energetic, lovable, and also playful. It’s almost like she continues to have her playful puppy habits (running in backyard, playing with her toys, always chewing on bones) but listens much better.

She will be three soon, not only is she really active and healthy but she and we don’t have to deal with spotting. This was my experience with spaying my dog and having a dog spayed for the first time, very glad we did and do not regret it. The only worries was any complications during or after the surgery. Everything went fine, she was tired the first day, but the next day she was up running around playing. Of course we made sure she didn’t jump or go up stairs for two weeks, and that went by fast. Here I am almost 3yrs later sharing my experience.

Admins
Wait until she’s 10 to see if she has cancer. No studies prove that it does.
NAN SEELMAN
I understand the benefits of spaying and neutering. But there are also downsides to taking away a dog’s ability to produce sex hormones. It’s important to understand both the pros and cons. Few vets give you information about the cons.
Horrified
I spayed my dog and had negative changes in behavior, in her physical stance, in her playing habits. She can no longer chase a ball. She can’t find me to come to me when I call her. What could have caused this?
alyssa
i know it has been a while ago but did your dog ever end up going back to its normal habits?
amanda
did you get an answer? my amazingly sweet gentle puppy was spayed a few weeks after her 1st heat and has been totally different since!! irritated and anxious ….im freaking out!!
Horrified
My dog changed drastically when I had her spayed. I regret it so much. She is the opposite of many things she was that I loved so much. If your dog is not having problems, especially if she is very feminine (or your male is a real “man”) as mine was, don’t risk losing that. Her intelligence is extremely diminished. She went from graceful to spastic, from very alert and involved to indifferent.
Catherine
I have come across this article as my dog has just started her first season. I am quite concerned with what I am reading. I asked my vet and another local vet about spaying my dog and was told by both, that they wouldn’t spay her until she had gone through one season. Further to this, my vet actually advised me, on medical grounds, to allow my dog to have two seasons. Apparently the hormones released in her body during this time may help cure her little “accident” problem (she sometimes has a little wee while sleeping) without her needing to have medication. Are you telling me that this information from my vet is wrong? I have no desire to have my dog have puppies, (I once owned a cat who had been a breeding cat prior to my owning her and I saw the damage her last pregnancy did to her) I am only trying to look out for my dog’s well being.
Tmiz
There is a lot of research now that suggests it is much better for the dog’s health to wait to spay or neuter. The benefits are many – decreased risk of incontinence, decreased risk of certain bone cancers, hip and bone abnormalities… you can look up the studies yourself (UC Davis conducted a few). I for one am waiting until my dog is at least a year old before I spay her. The risk for certain female cancers increases, but the decrease in risk for other potentially physically debilitating issues is worth it to me.
Amanda
I know it’s just under two years since your post but after reading that article from start to finish, I was mortified. The claims that the writer makes are horrifying! If you spay or neuter a puppy as young as she claims you should, it could end up with all sorts of bone defects not to mention other problems. I really hope you listened to your vet & let your dog have at least one season before having her spayed. Dogs need a whole year to put themselves together – for their growth in every way to be as healthy as possible. I’m having one of my girls spayed in a few weeks and she is almost five. The only reason she’s being spayed is because she’s started to get heavy seasons and becomes very hormonal, clingy & miserable.

I’ve had dogs all my life, my mother used to breed and I’ve also bred (from health certified and KC reg’d dogs), my pups have always gone to good homes that I have always kept in touch with – with a guarantee that if for any reason their owners can’t keep them then they will always have a home back with me – so not all pedigree dogs will end up in shelters. Maybe it’s 30% in the USA but here in the UK it’s rare to find a well bred pedigree dog in a shelter – & even then the breeder or breed clubs will usually work hard to pull them so that they go to knowledgeable homes. The writer is also incorrect where she states ‘Finding homes for all of the puppies bred is a great thing; however, as far as animals in the shelter are concerned, it is not such a great thing. The individuals that took in those puppies are individuals who could have saved a dog from a local shelter or rescue group. This means that there is now one less home and one less second chance for a dog in need.’ A lot of people won’t get rescue dogs because of their unknown history and they’d rather buy a puppy or an older dog that has been ‘run on’ (to see if it is up to show or breeding standard) from a good breeder – because that breeder will know the temperaments of the parents and can also usually tell the character of the pup by the time they are ready to go to their new homes – and most certainly not at 8 weeks – mine NEVER leave until at least 12 weeks!

Even with intact males in the home it’s possible to keep them separate from bitches in season, without accidents and without either sex getting stressed and if you have an intact dog (of either sex) then you should, as far as I am concerned, have a fenced in garden with a fence that is at least 6ft high to prevent your dogs getting out or others getting in.

Apologies for the rant but this writer obviously knows nothing at all about dogs and has downloaded snippets from the internet, deciding to try and make herself look like an expert. I’ve met plenty of them in my time & they always know better than someone who is a breeder of 40 or even 50 yrs standing (incidentally, the term ‘breeder’ doesn’t mean someone who is constantly breeding – most of us only breed to further improve on our breed and because we need to keep our show lines going (show dogs are still very pampered pets that are allowed to be normal dogs and get muddy etc). We rarely have litters – sometimes 1 or 2 a year and sometimes 1 in 3 years)! I’ve been breeding many years but still look to my mentors & peers for advice when I come up against something new or different as does every other breeder I know!

Mia
I am going to get 2 baby sugar gliders as my first animals to take care of. One male and one female. Since I have small marsupial pets I really don’t want to neuter them because I feel that they need to live life as we do. So forth of speaking, this article really didn’t help because it was all about larger animals. I am still making these decisions whether for them to be neutered/sprayed/(both) or for them just to be as happy as the birds and the bees! I just want to see a tiny cute little rascal sitting in the play-house they live in (over so adorable)! Which one should I choose?
dogmom
We got our beagle spayed 4 days ago. The evening of surgery she ate well but hasn’t since. She will only eat about a handful before turning her nose up. And that’s with me hand feeding her and she will only eat once a day. On top of her not eating much she is literally sleeping all day and has to be touching me the whole time. She is crate trained and has slept there every night since we got her but since surgery she whines and cries when we put her to bed. So she has been sleeping with us. She won’t just sleep on our bed but she wants to be laying her whole body on me. Is this normal? Could she be depressed?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
You should contact your vet about this. It may just be that she’s still recovering from the surgery but to be sure you should talk with your vet. They know your dog best and can give you the proper guidance.
Horrified
Has your dog returned to normal?
Leann Vredenburg Cisneros
Hello! I had my 6 month old spayed 1 week ago and she is the same way you described your dog. Did she recover and return to a playful puppy? I’m feeling frustrated. I took my puppy for a check up yesterday and the vet said she looks fine and healing. But all she does is lay around and I have to hand feed her still. Please help
FUOBOMBER
I don’t think you should spay young dogs until they have matured. My female dog is being spayed this week and I’ve waited until she is old enough at 18 months. Why would you spay a dog that is under 6 months old? There are many scientific articles about this causing many problems when they get older. Don’t be lazy search for them yourself its not my job to prove it to you. Do your own research. Irresponsible article.
Windchyme
Traditional spay and neuter puts your dogs at risk for many fairly severe health issues – including early death. Luckily there are alternative ways to sterilize which don’t involve taking away hormones (which causes these issues). Most vets don’t tell you all the side effects and make it sound rosy. Do your research before you do something to your dog you might regret later. Spay and neuter but do it intelligently and the right way for you and your dog and at the right time. Make an informed choice.
Anonymous

Spaying and neutering animals is the best way to show you care for them. I spent time in the Humane Society walking the dogs and playing with them for a while before I ended up adopting a sweet Cairn terrier for my own home. All of the animals were at the shelter because they had no homes to go to and often were mistreated in some way. I am not saying that the lives of those animals had no meaning, because that is simply untrue, but the sadness they had to go through could definitely have been prevented by responsible ownership. The Humane Society is unique in that the organization does not put animals down, but many other shelters do, and that is truly a tragic story. I would like to see every pet owner step up to the plate and spay or neuter their animals so that there will be no more pet overpopulation and so that every pet can find the perfect forever home for the rest of his or her life. Breeding pets should be done only by knowledgeable professionals, and for the rest of us, simply loving a spayed or neutered pet is all we need.

Anonymous

I have to admit, as a dog owner and lover, when I read articles about spaying and neutering, I do feel a little uncomfortable.  I mean there is always that pang in me that feels like the animal is being violated by losing his or her sexual organs.  However, I do like the fact that their health will improve as a result of the process.  I also feel that it is our duty as pet owners to control the population and not bring dozens of new animals into the world that no one else can care for.  The surgery sounds harsh, but I guess they aren't suffering because of the meds.  I think the most important thing is to make sure your pet is going through the process with a vet that you trust.  Surgery is always a scary thing to go through with someone that you love.  Your pet is so sweet and loving.  It can be a scary time for the whole family.  I like that you address all of the concerns that pet owners have when they hesitate to spay or neuter.  This can help them make a good decision.

Anonymous

Literally millions of cats and dogs are euthanized every year because there simply are not enough people to care for them.  Even with as many non-profit and non-kill shelters as there are out there nowadays and with all the efforts of people who provide foster-homes for dogs and cats, there simply is still a great problem with overpopulation amongst our countries pets.  These animals never asked for this and it is up to us as their caregivers and guardians to prevent the problem from going on unchecked.

Spaying and neutering your cat or dog will prevent unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from coming into your life and potentially ending up with a family that does not or will not care for them.   It will also save you time and money dealing with the consequences as well.

Reducing the population of these animals proactively as opposed to retroactively is also much more inexpensive from an economic standpoint for our country. Taking a little responsibility on the front end brings true the old adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Anonymous

Many people don't spay or neuter their animals due to cost. One way to enjoy a pet without this cost is to adopt. Dogs that are up for adoption have either already been fixed or will come with a certificate to cover the cost. Regardless, this can save you a lot of money. If you're thinking you want a pure bred dog, or a puppy, that isn't an issue either. Adoption shelters have dogs in every shape and size and will help you find a pet that is perfect for your family.

If you already have a pet that needs spayed or neutered, contact your local shelter about low-cost certificates. In most areas, you will be able to purchase certificates at a discounted price. In my area, you're able to purchase these certificates at around $25, which can save pet owners $100 or more. In other words, there's no excuse not to have your pet fixed.

If you need more incentive, consider the fact that your pet will live longer and be less likely to be aggressive. These are all win/win points. Best of all though, your pet is less likely to develop disease when you have them fixed.

Anonymous

I had a friend that bought a couple of kittens a while back, male and female, from the same litter.  She was pretty good about getting them to the vet and making sure that they had their shots and respective immunizations which did not come cheap.  However, when it came to getting the kittens fixed, she was really reluctant to spend the several hundred dollars each that it would cost to get the procedures done. 

This ultimately did come back to haunt her however when the cats began to mature and develop into adults.  The male started spraying not long after reaching maturity and that lead to a great deal of furniture damage and property loss.  The female, ultimately got pregnant by another cat and she had to spend a great deal more taking the cat to the vet and then subsequently trying to get rid of all the new kittens she had on her hands. 

The moral of the story is, that an ounce of prevention obviously produces a pound of cure.  Do not wait to get your pets taken care of, it could be costly.

Anonymous

I don’t want to come off sounding like some kind of fascist or anything, but the cavalier attitude with which we treat procreation in this country is kind of astonishing.  I will try to sidestep the human procreation part of this argument mostly, and focus on the animals for the sake of not setting off a firestorm of political argument.

Seriously though, unless you have a license to breed dogs or cats and a pretty darn good reason to have one,  I think once a pet reaches a certain age they should be neutered or spayed without question.  This goes for strays and whatever too. 

We just have so many unwanted animals in this country and so little resources to care for them, I just cannot fathom a reason why we would not do something about it and continue to let people breed these animals while millions of them are put down because they have no home.  Are we protecting the “rights” of these animals somehow by not doing so? 

It may seem a bit extreme yes, but not more extreme than euthanizing a living thing because nobody can care for it.

Anonymous

Spaying and neutering pets is not only a good idea; it’s supposed to be common sense. When a female animal goes through heat, she tries to find a male in the vicinity. Spaying can prevent a female animal from going through heat. When female animals go through heat, it is extremely attractive to just about any male dog that senses this. Neutering male animals is necessary as well. The male animals go through heat as well, but it’s not quite as severe as the female animals’ heat. Theirs is often just in response to smelling a female in heat.

There are already loads of animals in animal shelters, so why shouldn’t a person have their pet spayed and/or neutered? There are so many baby animals that need homes in animal shelters.

Only professional breeders have the capacity to care for un-spayed and un-neutered animals and their babies. For the rest of the world, spaying and/or neutering is always the best idea.

I know it is hard to think about that these two procedures do cause the animal pain, but only for a short while. The temporary pain is worth more than the pet suffering for a lifetime, and I believe the medication might help almost like it does for human surgery.

Anonymous

I feel that states should make it mandatory for pet owners to sign a contract stating that the pet they purchase will be spayed or neutered in the appropriate amount of time. They should then have to show proof of the procedure in order to keep their pet. In order to purchase a dog for breeding purposes, I think the person must be licensed and should have to prove responsibility as a breeder.

Sadly, these things will probably never come to be and that's horrible. We live in a country where literally thousands of dogs are put to sleep each day. We can help prevent this by being responsible with our pets. Remember even if you watch your dog like a hawk, she may get out and if she's not fixed, this could lead to a pregnancy. In some cases, it could lead to death because the dog was bred with a dog that was much larger than her.

If you think that you can't afford to fix your dog, visit your local animal shelter. Many cities have animal shelters that offer certificates so that you can get your dog fixed at a discounted price. In some cases, you may pay less than $50, which can be a huge savings.

Anonymous

I am always a little amazed to see articles like this that extol the virtues of spaying and neutering your pets because I just assume everybody already knows about them.  Reading things like this tells me that there are still enough people out there blatantly ignoring the facts or just not paying attention that let their animals go on and keep their reproductive organs only to have that move come back and haunt them someday in the future.

My family always had female dogs and we never were really concerned with them reproducing because they had very limited contact with other dogs in general, but we did it anyway because it made them so much calmer and more easy to predict from a behavioral standpoint.
 
I remember having a breed of puppy at our house that was pretty well known for being a pretty “high-energy” breed and they were very active and rambunctious for their first handful of months.  Once they had their operation for spaying the dog calmed down a great deal and had a very wonderful temperament overall.  It just makes sense to get it done.

Anonymous

In the United States, we are a people that truly value the companionship of our animals and in many if not most families with dogs or cats, they genuinely consider their pets as a member of the family.  There is nothing wrong with this of course, but I think that our love for animals as pets may have a negative impact on the animals as a whole.
 
What I’m getting at is because we see these animals almost as people, we think they are deserving of the same rights as we are.  I believe it is this that stands in the way of making animal neutering not a legal requirement in this country.  Were it required, and of course there would be exceptions, then we could drastically reduce the amount of unwanted animals that are currently taking up the space in our shelters and pounds around the country.  It would also decrease the necessity to put these animals down if they are never allocated to a family and a home.  If you have an animal that isn’t spayed or neutered, get it done today!

Anonymous

I used to think it was cruel to spay or neuter a pet. I thought that we should let nature take its course and not interfere. I still believe that, but you can't do that with just one element of life and think it is going to work out.

What I mean is, every other species but humans and the ones humans impact have a lifespan that is regulated by nature. That is the way it is supposed to be. But then we humans decided we were more qualified and we started developing all of these medicines. Don't get me wrong, if the life of my loved one depended on those I would be all for it, but in general I think we are taking the wrong course as a whole. We want to control every other population but our own. And since we are greedy enough to skip over the fact that we are over-populated, we may as well try to limit the amount of unwanted animals that will suffer because we want to cover every square inch with humans rather than taking care of living things that are already here.

So to that end, spaying and neutering pets is a good idea. Otherwise, you are just letting more unwanted animals be created so they can suffer.

Anonymous

I have been a dog owner all my life and I have a lot of friends that own dogs and cats as well.  It just seems to me that there is really no good reason anymore to not have your dog or cat neutered or spayed within the first year of their lives. 

There is obviously an abundance of cats and dogs in the United States these days and pet shelters and pounds are overrun with animals they cannot possibly take care of.  The number of these animals that are ultimately euthanized each and every day is just tragic and there is not one reason anybody should be breeding puppies or kittens until a significant number of these animals are provided care. 

Can we not just make the procedure mandatory per a government policy?  How much American tax money and personal funds get thrown at providing care and services for animals that end up getting terminated anyway?  It just all seems so wasteful and nonsensical. 

If you haven’t done so already, get this done for your pets. I mean honestly, has Bob Barker taught us nothing?!?

Anonymous

One of the things which experts have recommended for years and years is to have your pet spayed or neutered. These are very simple medical procedures that will make your pet incapable of producing or bearing children. Maybe you remember Bob Barker on The Price is Right always reminding to people to help control the pet population through spaying and neutering?

The top reason experts cite for having these procedures performed is indeed to help control the pet population. The problem is that many dogs and cats eventually end up out on the streets or in animal shelters and either eventually die of disease or are put to sleep.

Another reason to consider this operation is the fact that it also helps to reduce the incidence of cancer in animals. This is especially true in female dogs and cats, which seem very susceptible to uterine and cervical cancers. These can be painful disease to watch an animal suffer through and eventually succumb to.

Spaying and neutering can also help to reduce breed dilution. More interbreeding will serve to reduce specific and distinguishing characteristics.

Anonymous

I know this is going to sound horrible, but I really can't wait to get my pets neutered. Right now they are too young to do it in my opinion. A vet may not agree with me, but that's how I feel about it.

I have seen animals that seem to calm down after getting fixed. I know part of it is just that they are older, but I have seen older dogs get fixed and calm down as well. For me, it means that I don't have to worry about someone coming to me with a box full of puppies or something and it means my animals will be more likely to stick close to home.

Puppies are great and all that, but I am not trying to be a breeder or anything. I am fine with the amount of animals I have right now. Any more animals would seem more like a burden than a blessing. I don't want that and I don't want my neighbors to have that either.

My animals have a few acres to play on and sometimes they visit the neighbor dog or the neighbor dog comes over here to visit. It just is not worth the risk for animals to be born that are not really wanted. Nope. I'll just get mine fixed and rest easy.

Anonymous

I have to admit that I am one of those people who thinks every animal should have a chance to bring a new life in the world. I look at my dog and I see the way he is with the other animals and I wonder how he would be with his own pups. I would love to see pups like him. But, I recognize that since he is the male, he probably would not get near as much time with his pups as I would want him to even if I did let him go out and breed. I also have no idea what I would do with a litter of pups, but I know I could not keep them. We have the room, I just do not have the patience.

Facebook is one of the reasons that I have decided to get my dog fixed. I see those pictures all the time of animals about to get killed in a shelter and I know I do not want to be someone who adds to that population.

I don't know that I believe that animals are not like us when it comes to their young. I find it hard to believe that a loving animal would not form a bond. However, it is not responsible to just keep breeding animals to a population that does not want them.

Anonymous

I used to have two dogs, but one my ex bought and one was mine that I adopted.  I still have mine, but my ex took his. 

One of the last things I did when I had possession of both dogs was get them spayed and neutered.  When my little girl would go into heat, his dog would lose his mind.  If we put her in a room, he would scrape his belly up to try to get under the door.  My ex didn't want to neuter him, but because she was a little Chihuahua and he was an Italian greyhound, they could never mate.  I just felt like it was cruel, that he would have to go through so much stress when she went into heat.  He would hurt himself just to be with her, and when he finally got to her, though she was willing, they could not do anything because their sizes were too off. 

My ex gave me his dog because he did not want to care for him at first, but then he changed his mind about his dog.  However, I feel better that when I did have him, he got the care he needed.

Anon
They could mate. I had a chihuahua/german shepherd mix growing up. Just because they aren’t the same breed doesn’t mean they can’t mate.
Anon
They could mate. I had a chihuahua/german shepherd mix growing up. Just because they aren’t the same breed doesn’t mean they can’t mate.
frankcar1965
Please tell us how that happened! It’s not the breed it’s the size! It actually could be dangerous. And did you see the mating or are you just making a guess?
Anonymous

It is simply mind-boggling that people know the benefits of having their pet spayed or neuteed, yet still avoid having it done. My boyfriend's step-dad refuses to have his boxer fixed and allows it to run all over the mountainside, which has resulted in at least one litter of puppies. His simple avoidance of getting his dog neutered boils down to not wanting to “destroy” the manhood of the dog. It's a very sad situation and irritates me to no end. I had my puppy spayed as soon as it was safe to do so.

My previous dog was a rescue that hadn't been spayed before going into heat, which eventually lead to breast cancer. I knew that I didn't want my new puppy to go through the same thing and did the right thing to prevent it. If you don't plan to breed your pet, you need to spay or neuter it and, honestly, with all the rescue pets out there, why would you want to breed your pet? Unless you can do it responsibly, you don't need to do this. More importantly though, wouldn't you love to have as much time with your pet as possible? Spaying or neutering can increase the lifespan of your pet and who wouldn't want that?

Anonymous

I had no idea that you could spay an animal while they are pregnant. That seems a little like science fiction to me. But, really, why would you want to unless your animal tends to get pregnant immediately after giving birth. Even then, can't you do it after they give birth?

I agree that spaying and neutering is something pet owners need to give some consideration to. There are far too many unwanted pets around and most of them end up suffering in some way, whether it be in shelter or starving in the streets. It just is not responsible to allow pets to continue to breed if you are not going to take care of the offspring.

I have a gorgeous lab. I would love to see him with some pups of his own, but I have no intention of keeping any pups that he may happen to be a part of creating. So I will get him fixed so it is not an issue. I don't have to worry about the behavior aspect of it. He is already mellow enough and stays close to home. I just do not want to be responsible for the neglect or care of any new puppies.

frankcar1965
My cat was spayed and was pregnant, they get pregnant fast!! So it was a Kitty abortion but was soon after impregnation so could not have been much there at all.