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 didn’t 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
- 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.