Pros and cons of spaying and neutering in dogs
There are several concerns, myths and controversies when it comes to
spaying or neutering dogs, such as: what’s the best age to spay or neuter your
dog? What are the changes in the pet’s behavior? What are the risks and
health benefits? In fact, there are advantages and disadvantages to spaying
Regarding the advantages, having the female dog spayed before its first heat
cycle prevents psychological pregnancy, reduces the risk of breast tumors by
approximately 99%, and eliminates the risk of tumors in the ovaries and uterus
as well as some disorders after the heat, such as pyometra, which is a life-
threatening uterine infection. Moreover, the use of contraceptives can be
avoided, and there is no more bleeding.
The main advantages of neutering male dogs, if it is performed while the pet is
between 6 and 10 months of age, are the elimination of the risk of testicular
tumor development, lower chances of developing prostate cancer, and less
competition for females and territorial conflicts (mainly urine marking).
In addition to specific gender-related advantages, there are some common
benefits for both male and female dogs, such as animal population control,
reduced spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and increased life
However, the belief that neutering or spaying reduces dog aggression is false.
In fact, aggressiveness is mainly linked to the way the dog is raised and
trained, so neutering or spaying an adult dog with aggressive behavior will not
solve the problem, just as neutering or spaying a guard dog will not affect the
way it performs its functions.
Finally, there are also some disadvantages to having your dog spayed or
neutered, for example: the risk of obesity increases, because after the
procedure the pet tends to gain weight due to its more “sedentary” lifestyle and
increased appetite, or even compulsive eating habits. Thus, daily food intake
must be controlled and physical exercises must be added to the pet’s routine.
Besides, spaying your female dog too early can result in urinary incontinence,
while neutering your male dog too early can cause excessive growth,
dysplasia, because the animal is still growing, and an increased risk of
hypothyroidism. It is also important to mention that surgical procedures involve
a potential risk to dogs because of the anesthesia, the procedure itself,
some post-operation care.
Keeping all these pros and cons in mind, if you opt for having your pet spayed
or neutered, the most important is having the procedure performed by a
veterinarian, so get in contact with a veterinarian you trust.