Pros And Cons Of Spaying A Dog

|8 min read

Are you dealing with another litter and have no idea what you will do with the puppies?

Well, you aren't alone. This is an issue many dog owners face with female dogs. There is only one solution which is spaying your dog. It is a crucial decision many dog owners face.

Spaying is a common surgical procedure involving the removal of a female dog's ovaries and uterus, rendering her incapable of reproducing.

Today we will find out the pros and cons of spaying a dog, shedding light on the various aspects pet owners should consider before making this significant decision. We aim to provide you with simple, research-based information to help you make an informed decision that suits your furry friend's needs and preferences.

So, let's jump right in and learn all you need to know about spaying and neutering your dog.

What Is Dog Spaying?

Dog spaying, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical procedure conducted by a veterinarian to remove a female dog's reproductive organs, including the ovaries and uterus.

The surgery renders the dog unable to reproduce. It eliminates the occurrence of heat cycles, therefore preventing the possibility of pregnancy.

Before the procedure, the dog is given general anesthesia to ensure they are unconscious and feels no pain during the surgery. The vet then makes an incision in the dog's abdomen through which the ovaries and uterus are carefully located and removed.

Once the reproductive organs are excised, the incision is closed using sutures or surgical staples.

The primary advantage of spaying is its role in preventing unwanted pregnancies and effectively controlling the dog population. The dog can no longer conceive with the reproductive organs removed, reducing the risk of accidental breeding and the potential for more unwanted dogs. This helps curb the issue of pet overpopulation and alleviates the burden on animal shelters and rescue organizations.

Beyond population control, spaying also provides significant health benefits to female dogs. Eliminating the ovaries dramatically decreases the risk of specific reproductive-related health issues.

In addition to reproductive and health benefits, spaying can also improve the dog's behavior. Spaying calms a female dog drastically. Furthermore, spaying can reduce roaming behavior and prevent female dogs from attracting male dogs, leading to territorial disputes and potential injuries.

While spaying is generally considered a routine and safe procedure when conducted by experienced vets, the timing of the surgery is crucial. Consulting with a vet is essential to determine the best timing based on the individual dog's health, breed, and lifestyle.

Pros And Cons Of Spaying A Dog

Now that you know what spaying is, let's take a look at some pros and cons.


  • Prevention of heat periods

    Messy heat periods in female dogs result in swollen genitals, bloody discharge, challenges for owners, disruptions to plans, and boarding issues.

  • Prevention of infections

    Pyometra is a life-threatening infection in unspayed female dogs, requiring immediate emergency spaying to save their lives.

  • Protection against breast cancer

    Just like neutering dogs reduces the chances of testicular cancer in male dogs, early spaying before the age of 2-1/2 years reduces mammary tumor risk in your female dog.

  • Prevents false pregnancy

    Unspayed dogs may experience false pregnancy symptoms, risking health issues.

  • Prevents real pregnancy

    Irresponsible breeding leads to unwanted dogs, deaths during birthing, and homelessness in puppies due to overpopulation.


  • Risk of obesity

    Unlike a male dog, spayed female dogs are at higher risk of weight gain and health issues. So monitor food, exercise, and weight for prevention.

  • Increases the risk of hemangiosarcoma

    Reproductive hormones protect against hemangiosarcoma. After spaying, there is a higher risk of issues in the dog's spleen and heart.

  • Triples the risk of hypothyroidism

    Spaying and neutering dogs reduce hormones, leading to low thyroid levels in most dogs.

  • Requires general anesthesia

    Spaying complications occur in 20% of surgeries, with <5% severe cases. However, the mortality rate for spayed dogs is <1%.

  • Other diseases

    Spaying your furry friend at the wrong age can lead to health issues: uneven bone growth, cancer risk, urinary incontinence, and vulva abnormalities.

Safety Precautions

Spaying a dog is a decision that requires careful consideration and timing. The procedure is common and often recommended for various reasons. But it's essential to understand the potential health implications, especially if done too early.

During a dog's development, reproductive hormones play a vital role in shaping their bones, joints, and internal organs. If spaying occurs before these hormones have completed their crucial work, it can lead to health problems down the road.

For example, spaying a large or giant breed dog too early might result in uneven leg bone growth, increasing the risk of conditions like hip dysplasia and torn ligaments. Furthermore, early spaying in large breed dogs is associated with an increased risk of bone cancer, which can be life-threatening.

Another concern is the risk of urinary incontinence in spayed females. If a dog is spayed before its bladder is fully developed, weak bladder muscles can lead to involuntary urine leakage.

This condition is stressful for not just the spayed dog but the owner as well. And it often requires lifelong estrogen supplementation, which can be challenging to manage properly.

Additionally, the timing of spaying can affect the size and shape of the female dog's vulva. If spayed too early, the vulva may remain small or recessed inside the body instead of protruding as it should. This abnormality can lead to skin folds that trap bacteria and cause recurrent infections.

Given these potential health risks, it's essential to avoid rushing into spaying without considering the best timing for the individual dog. Each dog is unique, and breed, size, individual health should be taken into account when making the decision.

Consulting with a qualified veterinarian is crucial to make an informed choice about the most appropriate age for spaying.

Moreover, it's important for a responsible pet owner to be aware that spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures that involve general anesthesia.

As a responsible dog owner, you should inquire about and ensure that all necessary safety precautions are taken during the surgery. Safety measures, such as proper monitoring, anesthesia protocols, and post-operative care, are essential for the well-being of your beloved pet.

Addressing Misconceptions About Spaying

Spaying, the surgical procedure to remove a female dog's reproductive organs, is a topic that has a fair share of myths and misconceptions. It's essential to debunk these misconceptions to ensure pet owners have accurate information when making decisions about their dogs' health and well-being.

Here are some common misconceptions about spaying and the truth behind them:

  1. Spaying does not drastically alter a dog's fundamental personality or temperament. While some dogs may become calmer due to the elimination of heat cycles, their core traits remain the same.
  2. It's a misconception that a dog needs to go through a heat cycle before spaying. In fact, spaying before the first heat cycle can offer certain health benefits.
  3. While spaying may slightly affect metabolism and cause weight gain, proper diet and exercise can prevent weight gain.
  4. Each dog is unique, and the decision to spay should consider factors like breed, age, health status, and lifestyle. For some dogs, alternatives like hormone injections or an ovary-sparing spay may be more suitable.
  5. Spaying is a common and safe surgical procedure when performed by a skilled veterinarian. It can offer significant health benefits, such as preventing certain cancers and reproductive-related illnesses.
  6. There is a common belief that spaying is pricey. While spaying does involve costs, it is an investment in your dog's long-term health and well-being. Many animal welfare organizations and clinics offer affordable spaying options for pet owners with limited resources.
  7. All dogs can benefit from spaying, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor pets. So the belief that indoor dogs do not need them is not correct.

At What Age Should You Spay Your Dog?

A female dog typically experiences her first heat cycle at around seven to 10 months of age. To minimize the chances of developing serious health issues such as mammary cancer or pyometra, having your dog spayed before they reach seven months old is advisable.

Doing so prevents the hormonal fluctuations associated with heat cycles, which can contribute to the development of these conditions.

Even if you plan to breed your dog and have one litter of puppies, having her spayed after she gives birth to her first litter is still strongly recommended.

Breeding can be a demanding process on a dog's body, and spaying her afterward can significantly reduce the potential risks to her health. The risk of mammary cancer and pyometra is further decreased by removing the ovaries and uterus.

Spaying your dog at the appropriate age or after one litter is a responsible decision that can help ensure your pet leads a healthier and longer life.

It prevents unwanted pregnancies and safeguards against reproductive-related severe health problems, ultimately promoting your dog's overall well-being.

Final Words!

Spaying is an essential procedure with many benefits for female dogs. It prevents unwanted pregnancies and lowers the risk of specific health issues. This is why many health professionals highly recommend it.

However, the timing of spaying matters. Doing it too early can cause problems like uneven bone growth, higher chances of bone cancer, and urinary issues.

As pet owners, we must consider when to spay our furry friends. Talking to a vet can help us make the right decision based on our dog's breed, size, and health. By making informed choices, we ensure our dogs live happy and healthy lives without unnecessary health complications.

Let's look out for our furry companions and provide them with the best care possible!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will my dog's personality change after spaying?

Spaying is not likely to significantly alter your dog's personality. It may become calmer due to the lack of heat cycles, but its basic character will remain the same.

Are there any alternatives to spaying?

There are several alternatives to traditional spaying for female dogs. Hormone injections can temporarily prevent heat cycles and pregnancy but require regular administration.

Tubal ligation involves tying or blocking the fallopian tubes, preserving hormonal balance but doesn't eliminate the risk of Pyometra.

Ovary-sparing spay (OSS) or partial spaying removes the uterus and cervix while leaving the ovaries intact, maintaining hormone production while preventing pregnancy and some reproductive-related diseases.

Chemical sterilization and behavioral management are also options. However, discuss these options with your vet to determine their suitability for your dog.

Is there a risk of complications during the spaying procedure?

Yes, like any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications during spaying. Some potential complications include anesthesia reactions, uterine infections, bleeding, or injury to surrounding organs.

However, with a skilled veterinarian and proper care, the chances of complications are typically low.

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