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?

Dog with barbell in mouth: Pet Wellness PlansThe 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?

Vet performing a spay operationThe 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.


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

  • Every year approximately 3 million shelter animals are euthanized.1
  • 80% of these euthanized shelter animals were healthy/treatable and could have been adopted.1
  • Every 6 seconds in the United States alone an animal is euthanized.2
  • Approximately 25% of shelter pets are purebred and have “papers” to prove it.1
  • Only ten percent of animals that find their way to local shelters have been spayed or neutered.2
  • 80% of owned dogs (90% if cats) 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.1

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.

Learn About Financial Assistance For Vet Services

Who Performs 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’s Included?

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.

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?

Sources: [1] Humane Society; [2] Petfinder

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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August 7, 2020 12:42 am

Where is the source that supports the claim that neutering reduces the risk of diabetes?

Victoria Addington
June 7, 2020 9:02 pm

Now that my Golden Retriever is not a puppy anymore, I’ve decided to consider pet desexing. Aside from helping to decrease the number of homeless pets, I like that there will be a reduced risk for testicular cancer on male dogs. Good thing the cost is just around $40 to $150 per pet. With that said, I shall then find a licensed and professional vet here in our city.

January 20, 2020 11:24 pm

If my dog is already chill…will neuturing change him to be more aggressive

Kate Hansen
January 10, 2020 1:28 pm

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
January 6, 2020 3:47 pm

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
December 18, 2019 4:24 pm

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.

December 17, 2019 3:26 am

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.

December 11, 2019 1:49 am

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
December 5, 2019 5:34 pm

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
October 21, 2019 2:47 pm

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.

September 17, 2019 11:36 am

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
September 10, 2019 12:03 pm

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
August 30, 2019 5:17 am

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.

August 12, 2019 4:44 pm

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.

August 5, 2019 9:17 pm

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.

July 11, 2019 2:02 am

For some actual science behind the objections raised by some, to some of the info in the article, go here.

July 11, 2019 1:55 am

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

July 9, 2019 5:36 pm

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.

June 8, 2019 5:03 pm

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.

April 10, 2019 10:07 pm

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
February 18, 2019 9:03 pm

There are numerous benefits for waiting to spay neuter until after maturity. It’s understood for shelter populations that this be done earlier.

November 30, 2018 1:33 pm

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.

March 24, 2019 9:26 am
Reply to  Ron

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

November 2, 2018 1:22 pm

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
October 3, 2018 2:10 pm

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.

June 6, 2019 8:20 pm
Reply to  Louise McNally

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.

December 11, 2019 1:29 am
Reply to  Arne

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.

Peggy Found
January 8, 2019 10:00 pm
Reply to  Louise McNally

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.

July 5, 2019 8:55 pm
Reply to  Peggy Found

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.

August 19, 2018 2:23 pm

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.

Brandy Bridges
February 11, 2019 1:06 am
Reply to  Chris

Thats so sad to read. I sure hope things have gotten better?

Michelle Schenker
October 3, 2018 11:59 am
Reply to  Chris

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. Take care and if anyone in our community has any helpful advice, please share.

January 1, 2019 10:33 pm

That research was done in 1997 and the article in 2009. That’s a decade ago.