Spaying / Neutering Your Dog: Pros and Cons

It is recommended that almost everyone who owns a dog as a pet should either spay or neuter the animal. There are a lot of good reasons that this is considered to be the norm for pet owners. The main reason is that pets that don’t get spayed or neutered end up contributing to the problem of pet overpopulation. Because this is such a widespread problem, it has become mainstream for the average pet owner to spay or neuter his dog. Most pet owners don’t even think about it before they do it. The vet or the pet adoption agency recommends (or even mandates it) so the dog’s owner has the procedure done. Most people will agree that it’s ultimately a good thing. However, it’s not something that you should do without first thinking it through since it does have some negative consequences.

Spaying and Neutering: What Are They?

First things first, let’s talk about what it means to spay or neuter your dog. It means that you are removing your dog’s sex organs. When the dog is a female dog, the act of removing the sex organs is called spaying. When the dog is a male dog, the act of removing the sex organs is called neutering. The actual medical procedure for the animals is different because the sex organs are different. However, the end result is the same – the sex organs are gone and the dog can no longer contribute to the act of making puppies.

Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

Like I said before, there are a lot of really great reasons to spay or neuter your dog. These reasons include:

• Reducing the problem of pet overpopulation. This is a serious problem in today’s society. There are too many pets and not enough homes for those pets. This ends up resulting in a lot of stray pets that don’t have a home. Most of these end up in places like The Humane Society where they have to be put down if they can’t quickly get adopted. This means that there are a lot of dogs that are already out there which are being killed. If your pet makes puppies then you’re contributing to this serious problem. The problem of pet overpopulation is the core reason that it is highly recommended by animal experts that you spay or neuter your dog.

• Prevents a lot of health problems that your dog might get if you elect not to spay or neuter the pet. There are a lot of different medical problems that dogs can get if you fail to get them spayed or neutered. For example, female dogs are highly likely to develop tumors in their mammary glands if they aren’t spayed before the first time that they go into heat. Diseases of the uterus and testicles in your pet (such as cancer) are also prevented when the sex organs are removed.

• Your pet will be calmer. Removal of the sex organs results in changes to the hormones of the dog. This results in having a calmer, less aggressive dog. This is particularly true for male dogs who have been neutered but is also true of female dogs once they have been spayed.

• Your dog will be cleaner. There is actually a lot of mess associated with a dog going into heat (such as discharge or blood from female dogs). If you spay or neuter your dog then the dog isn’t going to go into heat. You avoid the mess.

• You will probably save yourself some money. A lot of people who fail to get their dog spayed or neutered do so because they don’t want to spend the money to get the procedure done. However, the cost is minimal in comparison to the cost that you’ll experience if you don’t spay or neuter the pet. Those costs include the cost of puppies if the pet gets pregnant and the cost of ongoing health problems such as uterine cancer that wouldn’t affect a dog who had been spayed or neutered. (Learn more about the costs of owning a pet.)

Drawbacks of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

The benefits of getting your dog spayed or neutered are clear. As a general rule, it’s probably something that you should do since these benefits are pretty important. However, you should know that there are risks and drawbacks to getting the procedure done. Those include:

• The risk of the medical procedure. Spaying and neutering of dogs is a really standard procedure that has very few side effects of problems associated with it. However, you always take a risk that something might go wrong whenever you take your dog in for surgery. That’s a risk that you should be aware of before you go through the procedure. Talk to the vet about in detail.

• The dog will likely be less active and may gain weight after the procedure. The change in hormones that the dog undergoes will result in calming the dog down. That’s a good thing but it might mean that the dog will be less active than before and some people really prefer an active dog. The dog will tend to appear quieter to others which people will consider to be a problem if they’ve gotten their dog as a form of protection for the property. It’s also notable that your dog will probably gain weight as a result of the change in hormones (just like people do when they go through their changes of life).

• The dog won’t be able to have babies. This is the purpose of the procedure but some people fail to think about the consequences of this. If you ever might want to breed your dog to raise puppies which you can then sell then you don’t want to get it spayed or neutered.

Those drawbacks are basic and they really aren’t that bad but you need to think them through before going through the common process of getting your dog spayed or neutered.

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41 comments

Karl Sigel 7 years ago

With drawbacks, you might want to add the risk of urinary incontinence. We are three for three with Dobermans that have been spayed when they are young and start leaking when they get to be about four. Two came from a rescue agency and the other from a very good breeder. From now on, I am waiting until they are near three. The Doberman we had before these didn't get spayed until she was about five and never developed any problems. Maybe just a coincidence, but she had a great life and made it to 16! Ol' Nacht was a great dog.

Thank you, Karl Sigel


twiztd profile image

twiztd 6 years ago from Electra, Texas

I don't know. I understand the benefits of getting your dog fixed, but personally, I don't want mine fixed. It seems kinda wrong to me to take that away from him. But then again, I baby my dog and so he is more human to me. Although, I would more than likely fix him to prevent puppies if he were a female dog or he got out of the yard. I think when people get there dogs fixed they should really consider the reasoning behind it first. Like you said they do tend to be less active, for some that's not the greatest thing.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Totally great! I like how you linked to other hubs. I am in awe still, mouth hanging open at all that we can do on here as a newbie!


Denise 6 years ago

I have a 10 month old Lab who has a sweet personality and not the least bit aggressive, I am a little nervous about having him neutered, because I love his activity level and do not want him less active yet. Labs tend to become lazy soon enough, I don't want it happening yet.


aelyn 6 years ago

I was thinking of getting my female dog spayed, but a friend told me if she didn't have puppies her womb would rot. She is also the only female dog in our area, but I think I am going to let her have a litter at some stage. She is coming 2 years old in April and I don't know what to do!


Ron 6 years ago

Such propaganda.


Bianca 6 years ago

Who is the actual name of the author, I am not looking for the organization please.


thoghtful 6 years ago

I want to say a few words about “spay/neuter health benefits” for dogs. I do this to rebut a number of rumors, exaggerations and overt lies. It is sad, I believe, that many people make important decisions based only on rumors and do not do good research before spaying or neutering their dogs.

I am originally from Europe -Ukraine. People spay and neuter dogs there in only rare cases, and lots of dogs live long and happy lives. I was shocked, when I found out, that the most American dogs are going through these kinds of procedures without real necessity most of the time. I want to tell about my personal canine behavioral observations, and research on the spay/neuter subject.

Behavior.

I do agree, that dogs of “fighter” breed (Rottweiler, Pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, etc.) should be neutered, because it doesn’t matter how well trained they are, they can lose their minds sometimes. It’s simply in their nature. However, I don’t agree that the toy breed males should be neutered, unless they are not monitored.

People tell stories about “nasty male habits of marking in the house”, which was another “discovery” for me. What the heck are people talking about? We’re talking about DOGS, but not CATS! Here are a couple of observations that prove the insanity of this point. I’ve had two male Poms. Neither of them were used for breeding. They NEVER marked in the house, because they were simply well-trained and were doing potty only outside, like any other well-behaved dog. It is a matter of good training!!! Another thing is; when we recently bred our female Pom to a nice small KENNEL male Pom (which was not potty trained --and he was trying to mark things inside the house) Omg! Oh miracle! I trained him to quit doing that “nasty male habit” in just 5 days!!!!!!!! I’m talking about an intact male dog that was NEVER potty trained!

My research on health benefits of the spay/neuter subject.

First of all, spaying/neutering has both positive AND adverse health effects on the dogs.

I found one good scientific research report on this subject. It appears, that spaying has more advantages , than disadvantages, because it eliminates small risks of mammary tumors and pyometra. Neutering, on the on other hand, has more disadvantages, than advantages like “quadruples the small risk (


thoughtful 6 years ago

(I'm not sure did I post all of my article, such as i saw only first part of it, that's why I'll send you the part I didn't see. Also I'll send you a shorter version. In case my post is too big. )


thoughtful 6 years ago

Here is the shortest version of it. My research on health benefits of the spay/neuter subject.

First of all, spaying/neutering has both positive AND adverse health effects on the dogs.

I found one good scientific research report on this subject. It appears, that spaying has more advantages , than disadvantages, because it eliminates small risks of mammary tumors and pyometra. Neutering, on the on other hand, has more disadvantages, than advantages like “quadruples the small risk (


thoghtful 6 years ago

“SUMMARY

An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the longterm

health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter

Page 2 of 12

correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do

not yet understand about this subject.

On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially

immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated

with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.

On the positive side, neutering male dogs

??eliminates the small risk (probably


thoughtful 6 years ago

OK. I cannot make a big post here. Please, read this scientific research, that have been done by Rutgers University. You might find amazing information on this subject. http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffec...


jonknow 6 years ago

I have owned 3 dogs in my life (so far) all three have been spayed. Please come tell my Jack russel and my Border colie that because they were spayed they lose energy. What a load of BS. my first dog was german sheppard/shelty cross and she had almost as much energy as the two I own now.

If you a responsible dog owner who is in complete controll of the animal, you won't have to worry about their energy. They will want to please you until they can't get up. And believe me that will usually be far after you are done playing with them.


Yossik 5 years ago

very intersting article you linked there "thoughtful" so thank you for that.

generally speaking, i think that such evasive surgery should be left out unless the dog has medical problem that requires it.

i've read the pros for the surgery and really guys give us all a break, owners should train and keep track of ther dogs rather than cut out ther testicles. dogs are meant to breed, if an unwanted pregancy occurs then hell, don't let the dog suffer because of his irresponsible owner.


jen  5 years ago

this is an irresponsible article and fails to report the exact statistical possible benefits and risks associated with spaying and neutering. I refer to a paper by a doctor who discusses the current studies.

http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/longtermhealtheffec...


mmtpoop 5 years ago

Instead of having your pet have "Just one litter", why don't you adopt a pet from the humane society. For every litter your animal has, it takes away the lives of six or seven animals in shelters.


Rottie mom 5 years ago

I just found this site today and have Never read such ignorance in my 65 years! If this represents the intelligence of the American Public then we are in SERIOUS trouble. "Her womb would rott", Rottweilers were NOT bred for fighting but for guarding whether it was their owners money oar his sheep. Pitt Bulls were originally bred to be used in Bear Baiting-when that was ruled inhumane they were put in pits to fight Rats soon wonderful human beings added other dogs to the pit.

I have owned both breeds well bred and rescues and in the 25 years that I have owned them I have never had a "bite" incident. Yes even with the most diligent of owners animals can sometimes get out. One of my Rotties would "escape" and go around to the front door & bark. Took me awhile to find the spot on the fence (its on a hill) where he was getting out.

Humans were meant to breed also, that's why in some older cemeteries you see the males grave and 2 or 3 graves of his wife. The only reason to breed a dog is to BETTER THE BREED. Many ethical breeders believe that if you don't rescue, you don't breed!

As to getting fat & lazy, that is on the owner! All of my dogs have been spayed or neutered some went on to herd sheep-yes, a crazy rott in a sheep pen. Others into personal protection I'd like to see you call one of mine a "sissy". OThers did Agility etc. and I feed a raw diet-as I said it is on the owner. My Heart dog-a well bred rottie die at 9 of cancer even after the surgery it was aftter his death that I switched my other dogs to raw and stopped all of the vaccinations except Rabies 'cause that's the law. I learned from my Rotties oncologist that the vaccine protocols do not call for all of those toxic shots after 3yrs-I have titers done each year. Mine are NEVER ill. They have all lived to 12-14 years since then

There is more that I would like to say but will closee, my Rottie keeps knocking my hand off the keyboard :o). BTW did you know that the APBT was the mascot of the USA during both world wars-because of his tenecity, courage and fierce loyalty. It's usually on the owners NOT the dog!


Schanuzigrl 5 years ago

I am European, we never neuter nor spay dogs. I have not heard anything about Europe being overpopulated by unwanted dogs. I had my Mini Schnauzer female for 13! years - never spayed. NEVER sick! ever. Then I had two mixed breeds for 12 and 14 years - never sick-never spayed!!! If you really love your dogs, keep an eye on them and they will not breed. Who am I to take the uterus with ovaries out of my female dog?! Perhaps, you should chopped out kidnes too - to prevent kidney failure. The list can go on...That is considered barbarism in Europe. I guess we are just more responsible than US. Besides, most vet tell you to spay/neuter your dog - it is money business - as everything in US. Be responsible, keep an eye on your dog and there will be NO unwanted puppies. And read this:http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffec - you will find out that there are more risk associated with spaying/neutering than without it. Vets just don't tell you about them - they need your $$$.


lazza 5 years ago

Dont do it their just in it for the money how would u like to get ur balls cut off or your puss taken out. Their just pocketing money now if ur stupid ur gonna believe them.


lazza 5 years ago

Don't do it their just in it for the money how would u like to get ur balls cut off or your puss taken out. Their just pocketing money now if ur stupid ur gonna believe them.


Luna 5 years ago

I personally don't agree with spaying and neutering dogs. I understand the consequences of not doing that, but I don't believe we should mess with mother nature. Besides that, the dogs don't have any option of choice, and why would man, the dog's best friend, prevent them from having the right to live and procreate? It is the right of every living being to have the change to have pups and to live its life like it was born. That is why I will always look for other alternatives than this cruel procedure for them, in case I have behavior problems with my dog!


paulineleo52 profile image

paulineleo52 5 years ago

I had my dog neuter to me it was a mistake he not aggressive ,to timid and not a guard dog that why we got a dog in the first place, but I still love my mocha, will never do it again.


RexsMommy 5 years ago

I know that getting my male blak lab fixed will probably make him a little calmer, but I don't mind since he is 60 pounds and drags the kids down the street when they walk him. He isn't aggressive and is a fantastic watchdog letting me know anytime someone is walking by. But I don't want to risk him getting cancer later in life. I have had several pets growing up and throughout life. I don't see that there is a downside to getting your dog fixed. My vet is wonderful and very gentle and loving with his animal clients and I am not regretful of having this done so my Rex doesn't get frustrated and freak out when the neighbor's dog is in heat 40 feet away.


Monte 5 years ago

I thank whoever posted the paper from Rutgers. I was on the fence and will wait for one of my male dogs. I have 2, however, I agree, that waiting the 18 months for growth plate closing is key (544 days-have heard the rottie study) but not this one. Neither male, presently is neutered and such is life ... they both know the doberman wins over the standard poodle, however, i had reservations. Thirt years ago in the US quite frankly I do not remember any dogs being neutered so often, females being spaed for the mess ...males no. thanks again


TK 5 years ago

Just because your dogs have never gotten sick and were never spayed does NOT mean that they never became sick because they were NOT spayed. I can't believe some of the things written on here. If you are considering getting your pet spayed or neutered you should do your OWN research if you are worried and come up with and educated answer. Not believe what some else says. And not all vets are in it for the money. Don't get me wrong, some are. But there are a lot that are not.


Catherine 4 years ago

Neutering males has a well documented negative effect on their health, and does not prevent any significant diseases, On the contrary, it incresaes the incidence of some very deadly diseases by a factor of 4 to 6 times.

Spaying females can recuse the incidence of breast cancer and pyometra, but has the effect of increasing other diseases and cancers. The idea that spaying or neutering animals is beneficial to the individual animal is a falsehood!


juliaskdjen 4 years ago

the bottom line is spaying and neutering prevents overpopulation. You can't just not spay or neuter them and keep watch and hope they don't get pregnant or get a dog pregnant cuz shit happens. i have 3 dogs, all are fixed and all are still great loving dogs. my 1rst female is still aggressive and protective and she is spayed. my second female is lazy but she is also cuddly and if you moniter her food she doesn't gain weight and she is also spayed. my male is neutered and it stopped him from peeing and marking his territory on every thing in site and from trying to mount the females. it also helped him be less moody and grumpy. My inlaws had 2 females that were not spayed and they both died of ovarian cancer. could have been genetic because they were mom and daugher but if they had been spayed it could of been prevented. and to reply to some of these other comments about "we wouldn't do this to humans so why dogs" i do think there are some people that should get neutered or spayed as well. how many ppl are on well fare cuz they can't afford the family or amount of children they have or knocked up numerous woman. Its not barbaric if its for the greater good. If you want to save lives and give animals in shelters a chance to find a home then spay and neuter your pets otherwise i don't realy feel u give a shit about animals and shouldn't be a pet owner. thats the bottom line.


vladi 4 years ago

You need to be very stupid to believe that spaying will not destroy your dog. hormons are the energy of any creature.


Rufus rambles profile image

Rufus rambles 4 years ago from Australia

Well as we had a boy and a girl dog we had to neuter them. In Australia we have thousands of dogs that have to be put down because they are abandoned by their owners. Puppies are frequently abandoned or dumped at animal shelters. In fact our breeder said we had to neuter our girl dog - as they have more control over the breeding line that way. My dogs are happy and healthy - both spayed and still have lots of energy. It's funny how different countries have different attitudes. I wrote a hub about having the operation from the perspective of my female dog. I feel for her and the pain she must have felt without knowing why. This is why I wanted to try to put her perspective out there. It is not nice for any animal to have to have an operation. But in the long run, we felt it was the best thing to do. How can you have a female and male dog together and not have them continuously breed? (And we felt it kinder to get 2 dogs for company as they are alone while we are at work).


Shelby 4 years ago

Animals shelters are over populated. Many dogs without food and shelter. Why keep increasing that? Spay/Neuter your dogs. They will be less aggressive and healthy. It does not mean that if you don't get them neutered/spayed, they wont healthy, but its really important to make a change in this world and stop increasing homeless animal population.


staffieee 4 years ago

@ thoughtfull im sorry but not all dogs are evil because of there breed ? all the staffs and rottwilers i have been around have been perfectly fine spayed or not and at the end of the day how many more dogs have to be singled out because of there breed ?if im right the doberman and german shepherds got singled out a few years back because they was classed as "vishios" dogs because of irrisponsible owners that bring them up to fight them ?.. i have a staff and a german sheperd both not spayed does that make me a bad owner ? just because a dog isn't spayed doesn't mean its going to have puppies ? just because a woman has a womb does that mean she is definatly going to have a child ? considering the german shepherd is now 6 and hasn't ever had a litter and the staff is 7 months and just coming out of her 1st season and yeah i agree staffs are hyper but would you get you 2 year old spayed coz shes too active ?.. at the end of the day any human or dog can turn out "bad" its the way they was brought up ...what makes a dog bite ? what makes a human kill ? ..now theres something for you to think about


Chloe 4 years ago

www.neutering.org

The reproductive organs are essential to a well functioning endocrine system, and therefor the health of the entire animal.


vero 4 years ago

For the ignorant person insaulting pitbulls n sayn they r a fighter breed u shouldn't own any dog cuz. Pits aren't the only dogs that fight!ur little toy dog can easyly b a fighter as well(it may not win)but it could b...I have a female n a male all american gotti line pitbulls n neither one of them r mean nor fighters...they've been properly trained n r very well mannerd...my 1 yr old son is a bully 2 them n they do nothing 2 harm him my 3yr old niece has also bullied them n never once have they reacted 2 her nor anbody else 4 that matter!but I can tell u 1 thing they will protect their family n their home without hesitation!my dogs are not human nor dog aggressive!my female dog was fixed 4 health reason my male dog was not fixed n they r both the same as when I first got them...my girl dogs attitude never changed she is jus as active as my male!n also I 4got 2 mention I found my dogs in a trailer park walking 2gether in the rain at jus 2mnths old!so u knw what all that crap u said is bs n u really should watch what u say about dogs if uve never owned a "fighting"dog!u can't judge a book by its cover!just cuz sum people r ignorant like u n wanna fight dogs doesn't mean they r all that way n it is all on how u raise them!its jus like kids sum kids fight others don't no matter how big or small shape or size!


mist 4 years ago

I too find the idea of yanking my dog's internal organs out (or external for a male) to be appalling. So I had my rescue dog's tubes tied. Simple, not particularly invasive, fast recovery, and her health has been outstanding. She has also been intelligent, alert, and independent...characteristics I found lacking a lot in spayed and neutered dogs. Yes, she goes into heat, but so what? I'm in the same boat at least 6 times as often, and no one spays me. There's a yard, and I can mop the infrequent drips inside. Beats the heck out of incontinence.

Now, the down side: at age 15, she has developed a mammary tumor, which, by the time I found it, had metastasized (assuming it didn't start elsewhere). She continues to be athletic, energetic, muscular, and more mentally fit than any 15 year old dog I've known (of course, most of the spayed ones died much earlier). We're trying chemo, which she's taking in stride, but she probably won't see 16, or the 17 I was beginning to anticipate.

However. 15+ healthy, active years, with no major surgeries is pretty impressive. I would do this again with a female dog (or male, for that matter). But I'd check monthly or more for mammary tumors.


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 4 years ago from UK

Thank you for an interesting and very informative article. I was recently researching an article for publication at http://heartwormtreatment-fordogs.com and found that in areas affected by heartworm, vets insist on a heartworm test prior to elective surgery. So if you live in a heartworm area, even if your dog is on prevention treatment, the cost of a heartworm test (although not huge) is something else to factor into the cost of spaying or neutering. Voted up and useful!


Freddy 4 years ago

I'm an owner of a Male pitbull. I have been researching this topic for months now. As far as I can remember people never neutered their dogs and they lived forever. I'm a firm believer of controlling my dog and I don't worry about him "overpopulating" because my dog would have to be taken to a female to breed. It doesn't happen from him sitting in a yard.

The only reason I'm researching this topic is for health issues. After reading this post and many others it seems that my dog won't be getting neutered anytime soon. By the way my dog has been attacked by 2 chihuahuas and some other kinda lap dog and he simply ran backwards into me. These dogs where neutered. I know this because they belonged to the neighbor who told me to neuter my dog for the safety of her dog. Lol funny. Maybe she should un-neuter her dogs for the safety of my dog. Lol


crabby 4 years ago

i have two female dogs who are not fixed my better hafe rescuide a male from a bad place will get male fixed for the happyness of the family unit wrong or right still think he is better off with out his BoYs then where he was he seem to be a very loving bitt just wont leave the girls alone maybe i should be fixed ???


Rigo 4 years ago

You dog will be less aggressive? If I want a puss then I will get a cat. Who wants a dog that is worthless, just laying around eating food getting fat, useless dog.

Breast cancer? On a dog? 30yrs ago there was no breast cancer, no dogs can get it too?

Oh yeah spay your dog you will avoid the few drops of blood that they leak, it makes a huge differece.


Nicole 4 years ago

I'm guessing the people on here that don't believe in spaying or neutering your animal because it's mother nature you're messing with don't believe in people getting tubal ligation or vasectomies? You all may be responsible pet owners but alot of people aren't. Which is the reason there are over 350,000 animals on Petfinder that need adopted. All of my animals are fixed for that simple reason. I don't need to contribute to the overpopulation. Also another little fact for you....Dallas/Ft. Worth animal shelters kill 40,000 animals A DAY!!!! Talk about a number that can blow your mind!


Abby 3 years ago

If you have a competent vet then there should be no adverse risks when you fix your animal. If you go and try to find the cheapest price for the fix then you have no right complaining about problems that occur after-words.

Bye-the-bye Rigo, aggression in dogs is frowned upon because of idiots just like you. Aggression is not the same as energetic, protective, or working. And there was breast cancer 30yrs ago but nobody (men) cared about it.


Emily 3 years ago

Rigo: Thirty years ago they didn't know how to diagnose cancer, maybe that's why, genius.

And if your dog gets aggressive and has to be shot by animal control, I wonder how much of a "Puss" you're going to be when your dog is dead.

Oh, and a dog on a period is probably one of the easiest way of having a law suit filed against you because it bites and 100,000$ having to be paid out because you were a dumbass isn't fun. So if you want my opinion, I think you're a "puss".

And your dog will get fat if you don't take it out and give it exercise, and I bet you don't give it any exercise anyways, because I bet all you do is sit on your butt and bash Spay/Neuter sites.

And Crabby: Yes, if you can't spell you should be fixed.

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