Spaying or Neutering Your Dog: The Pros and Cons

Dog sitting

Spaying or neutering your dog has its pros and cons.

As I sit here writing this my two rescue dogs, Briscoe and Kensi, are keeping me company. When my husband and I adopted them from one of our local rescue groups we did have to make the decision about spaying or neutering as that was already done. 

Here in South Florida, a nonprofit dog rescue organization can only adopt out a dog that has been spayed or neutered, unless there is a medical reason for not doing so, such as age or heart condition.

What Does Spaying or Neutering Mean?

In short, it means sterilization. For male dogs, it is castration (removing the testicles). For female dogs, it is the removal of the ovaries and uterus.

Pros of Neutering Your Male Dog

  • Some Health Problems can be Prevented – Your intact dog is at risk for enlarged prostate and testicular cancer.
  • A Calmer Dog – Dogs who are neutered tend to be quieter and less stressed.
  • Less Chance of Marking – A neutered dog generally does not feel the need to mark his territory, especially in the house.
  • Less Chance of Getting Lost – Neutered dogs are not on the hunt for a mate, so there is less chance of him wandering off in search of his next girlfriend.
  • Doesn’t Contribute to Pet Overpopulation – Here in South Florida hundreds of unwanted dogs and puppies come into our local shelters every day. There are dozens of others that are just dumped on the street like trash. While you may not own the female dog, your intact male dog is contributing to the problem. It takes two to tango.

Cons of Neutering Your Male Dog

  • Possible Weight Gain – Your dog may not be as active which can lead to an overweight dog. This can be managed with diet and exercise.
  • Anesthesia Risks – There is about a 20% chance your dog may have an adverse reaction when under general anesthesia, which is required for neutering. Most of these reactions are not serious, but there can be life-threatening complications for some dogs.
  • Hormone Imbalance – This can sometimes cause hypothyroidism, which can also lead to weight gain.
  • Can Affect Bone Growth – This is usually caused by early neutering. Consult your vet as to the best age to neuter your dog.

Pros of Spaying Your Female Dog

  • Some Health Issues can be Avoided – No ovaries means no ovarian cancer and no ovarian cysts. No uterus mean no uterine cancer or infections. Spaying your dog before she hits puberty lowers her risk of breast cancer too.
  • A Calmer Dog – When a dog has no desire to mate they are naturally calmer.
  • Less Mess – If your dog is not I heat there will be no bloody discharge.
  • Doesn’t Contribute to Pet Overpopulation – There are already so many unwanted dogs and you certainly do not want to be contributing to the problem. Besides, finding good homes for puppies is not an easy proposition.

Cons of Spaying Your Female Dog 

Close up of black and tan dog

Weigh the pros and cons of spaying and neutering.

  • Anesthesia Side Effects – Just like neutering, spaying is surgery requiring anesthesia. While most reactions are minor, 1 in 5 dogs reacts negatively to anesthesia. Anesthesia can, however, be life-threatening.
  • Possible Illness – Spaying may increase the occurrence of urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism.
  • Possible Weight Gain – Your dog may be less active, so they may put on a few pounds. This can be managed with diet and exercise.

There is no perfect answer to whether you should spay or neuter your dog. Every day I see so many unwanted pets, that I tend to think spaying and neutering is a must, but there are risks. There are also risks if you do not spay or neuter. Either way, you must be a responsible pet owner.

What are Your Thoughts on Spaying and Neutering? Are Your Dogs Spayed/Neutered? Let Us Know in the Comments Below.

The Dog Walk: Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

Taking our dog for a walk is one of the great pleasures of owning a dog. However, there are a few things you can do to keep you and your dog safe and get more enjoyment from your time together.

Focus on Your Dog

Man looking at his phone while walking dog.

Stay focused on your dog, not your phone.

Being aware of your surroundings while on your walk will keep you both safe. If you are distracted by a phone call, text message, Facebook or music you will likely miss something potentially dangerous to one or both of you such as your dog eating something off the ground, an oncoming dog or an approaching stranger. 

The purpose of your walk should be spending quality time with your dog, so enjoy.

 Don’t Let Your Dog off Leash

Even if your dog has a totally reliable recall, letting them off leash can be dangerous. All it takes is for them to see another dog, a cat, a squirrel or something else that makes them run off.

Other Dogs Can be a Problem

While your dog may love others of his kind those other dogs may not be so friendly. In the interest of safety, it is best to keep your dog away from others.

Even if the owner of the other dog seems to think it’s alright for the dogs to meet, no one asked the dogs. Play it safe.

Make the Walk Fun!

Walking your dog should not be a chore it should be a fun adventure for both of you. So, stay alert but enjoy!

Bring Water Along

You should always bring water along for both you and your pal. Even when the temperatures are a bit cooler it is important for everyone to stay hydrated.

When it is very hot outside, staying hydrated is especially important. You can find collapsible bowls at your local pet supply store, so you can pour a drink for your four-legged friend.

Never Leave Your Dog Alone

 It only takes a minute for your dog to be stolen or harmed, so never leave your them alone. There are always heartbreaking stories of dogs that are missing and their owner only left them for a brief moment.  Don’t take the chance!

Keep an Eye on Where Your Dog is Sniffing

You never know what people have thrown out of their car window or just dropped on the grass. Chicken bones or other items could be potentially deadly.

If you use a regular leash such as a four or six-foot lead you are more likely to keep your dog away from some potential danger on the ground. Using a retractable leash gives you much less control.

Watch Where Your Dog is Walking

Happy dog

Taking your dog for a walk is a great way to bond with your dog.

Broken glass is everywhere, so keep your eyes looking ahead to where your dog is walking. There are so many things on the ground that can hurt your dog’s paws.

Keep to Well Lit Areas

The safety of you and your dog is important. Walk in areas that are well lit.

Walking in areas that are dark or underpopulated puts you at risk for falls or worse.

Be present with your dog and you will both enjoy the walk much more.

Taking your dog for a walk can be a great way for you both to unwind and enjoy some quality time together.


If you work long hours, but would still like to get your best pal out for an adventure, please contact us for more information on our dog walking service.

Why Tethering Your Dog is a Bad Idea


Dog tethered with a chain

Tethering puts your dog at risk.

                                                                                                                                                                    What is tethering? According to Rebecca Wisch of Michigan State University College of Law“Tethering or chaining a dog under most state laws means that a person ties a dog with a rope or line to a stationary object.” Chaining or tethering your dog outside seems innocent enough, but there could be some big consequences. Sure, the dog gets to be outside and you have the peace of mind he will not run away, but at what cost? Here are a few of those possible costs:


Dogs that are continually tied up can get frustrated with their inability to move about, causing them to become aggressive. Dogs are also territorial and that small plot of land they are confined to becomes something that needs to be fiercely defended. Also, dogs are very social beings and being confined outside, away from interaction with others for long periods of time can be psychologically and emotionally damaging (think solitary confinement).


If your dog is tethered in a yard that is not secure there is a possibility that one day that tether will snap, and your dog will escape. Ask yourself this question; would you come back?

Injury or Death

Dogs that are chained run the risk of getting entangled in their chains or tethers, breaking or cutting off circulation to a limb. They can injure their necks and backs when they hitting the end of their tether. They also run the risk of hanging themselves if their chain is caught on an object. Tethered dogs are vulnerable to attack from other animals as well as venomous snakes and insects. Extreme heat and cold can be deadly to dogs confined to the outdoors. And dangerous weather events such as hurricanes and snowstorms can also be life-threatening.


Dog tethered with a chain

Tethering can cause emotional and physical harm to a dog.

Are tethered dogs really thought of as family members? Are they getting regular meals and fresh water? Are they provided with adequate shelter? What about veterinary care? What about simple things such as affection and play? They are simple things that dogs need.

These are just a few of the damaging effects of being tethered outside. It is no wonder more and more states, cities and towns are making it illegal to tether your dog. Click here for a comprehensive list of the states that have addressed tethering and chaining.

Here in Florida, there are several cities that have made tethering illegal, but the whole state is not on board yet. Here are the Florida cities and counties where it is illegal to tether your dog (Sourced from Collier County, Fernandina Beach, Hallandale Beach, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Lake County, Lee County, Miami-Dade County, Marion County, Martin County, Mount Dora, Okaloosa County, Palm Beach County, Pasco County, Pembroke Park, Pinellas County, Sarasota County, and St. Lucie County.

What can you do if you see a dog that is tethered? Call your local Animal Control and report the abuse.

How to Tell if Your Pet is Overweight and What to do About It.


Did you know that over 50% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight according to the latest veterinary surveys? An obese pet is at greater risk of developing severe health problems. Is your pet fat?

What are the Health Risks?

  • Heart disease

    Overweight dog

    Having an overweight pet puts them at risk for several health issues.

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Many forms of cancer

How can I tell if my dog or cat is overweight?

There are many Body Condition Score (BCS) charts you can find online, but here are a few guidelines for dogs and cats:

  • Obese – It is difficult to feel the ribs because there is a thick layer of fat. The base of the tail is thick and it is difficult to feel the tail base because there is a thick layer of fat. When viewing your pet from above, the back is widened and no waist definition. When viewing your pet from the side there is no waist and your cat may have that hanging belly that swings from side to side when it moves.                    

    Overweight cat

    Having an overweight pet puts them at risk for several health issues.

  • Overweight – It is hard to feel the ribs because there is a sufficient layer of fat. The base of the tail is somewhat thick and hard to feel because of the layer of fat between the bone and the skin. When viewing your pet from above the back is widened and there is little if any waist definition. When viewing your pet from the side there is little if any belly tuck and your cat may still have that hanging belly that swings from side to side when it moves.

What is the ideal body condition for my dog or cat?

  • You can easily feel the ribs.
  • You can feel the base of the tail.
  • When viewing your dog or cat from above there is a defined waist.
  • When viewing your dog or cat from the side there is a belly tuck.

What can I do to help my overweight pet?

Cutting back on their food and increasing exercise are two great places to start. Talk to your veterinarian about how much you should cut out of your pet’s diet and how much exercise they suggest. This is also a great time to rule out any health issues that are already present or are brewing.


Start increasing your pet’s exercise gradually. Just like you can’t get from couch potato to marathon runner, neither can your pet.

While you can grab a leash, and take your dog for a walk, exercising cats take a little more creativity. Use your cat’s inner hunting instinct and play, play, play. Cats are more active at sunrise and sunset, so those are the times you will get more play activity from your cat.

If you don’t have the time to exercise your dog or cat, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to get your pets moving.

Dances with Dogs has a proven track record of helping pets drop unwanted pounds. Click here for more information on how we can help you help your dog or cat lose the weight.

Running With Your Dog

Jogger running with two dogs

Running with your dog can be fun for both of you.

If you want to run with your dog you should take a few precautions before you get started:

Before You Start

1. Before you start a running program with your dog, make sure he or she is healthy enough for the endeavor. A trip to the vet should be first on your list before starting.
2. Once your pooch is cleared to start running, don’t take off on a 10-mile run. Just like people, dogs need to be conditioned. Start slow and build up your dog’s endurance.
3. Training is important. Your dog needs to learn how to run alongside you so that you can both enjoy the time together.
4. Not all dogs are meant to be runners. If your dog is older, short-snouted, or just too small to keep up, leave them at home when you go for your jog.
5. DO NOT run your dog if it’s hot outside. Dogs do not disburse heat the way we humans do. Keep some of these things in mind: [Read more…]

The Importance of Picking Up After Your Dog


Every day I am out walking dogs and every day I see piles left by dog owners who don’t pick up after their dog. I get it! Sticking my hand in a bag so I can pick up a warm pile of dog poop is not exactly on the top 10 list of my most favorite things. But what are the consequences of not picking up after your dog? Well, there are many. Here are just a few of the things that dog poop can contain:

  • E-Coli
  • Salmonella
  • Parvovirus
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Cryptosporidium

[Read more…]

Laser Light Toys and Your Dog


When my husband and I adopted our dog Kensi, one of the first things we noticed was her obsession with light. If we brought out our cell phones she immediately started looking for the light on the floor. The same thing happened if we turned on a flashlight. To this day, if she is riding in the car with us and the sun glints off something in the car she will chase that reflection until we can figure out what is causing it and stop it. If we open a door into a dark room she will bound in chasing the light from the hallway that shines on the wall of the darkened room. I know this doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but when we first brought her home it was constant. She chased any kind of light or reflection. She was obsessed. Our guess is that one of her previous owners, she’s had several, played with her using a laser toy or flashlight, encouraging her to chase the light. [Read more…]