A lot is talked about benefits of spaying and neutering a dog, but still many people are reluctant about taking this step.
Aren’t there any side effect of such surgeries? Well, there indeed are, so, in this article, let’s give a clear picture about losses and benefits of spaying and neutering your dog. Both male and female.
Spaying and neutering is irreversible – no puppies ever
A funny story from a veterinarian in Latvia. He once asked a dog owner if his dog was spayed already. The client answered: “No, not recently”. Although this answer is a bit funny and an can make us laugh, in reality it’s a bit weird. This means many people still not know a simple, well know fact – spaying is irreversible.
Spay or neuter your dog only if you don’t want puppies from that dog. Ever! Spaying cannot be done backwards. Once spayed or neutered – dog will stay spayed for the rest of its life.
There are two sides of the story. If you want to avoid your dog becoming pregnant ever, then that’s a huge benefit of spaying your dog. However, if you think you might breed your dog at some point, then you should not spay or neuter it.
We are not going to argue about whether any should or should not breed their dog with argument like “shelters are already full” and “don’t add to dog overpopulation”.
Shelters are full, but we support responsible breeders who choose mating partners carefully and add to development of a specific breed. We applaud to those who take care for, socialize and find good homes for puppies and do not consider it as easy money. You should not too, best dog breeders actually spend more than generate from dog breeding.
Spaying and neutering will affect your dog’s behavior
One of the most noted benefits of spaying an neutering is that it will affect behavior of your dog. Spaying and neutering triggers huge changes in hormonal system of your dog which means that many behavior problems should fade out. This includes:
- Aggression – not limited, but most notable for male dogs, since dog aggression is commonly initiated by hormone testosterone. Testes removed, no testosterone produced. Adequate training, however, will still be necessary if you are dealing with a dangerously aggressive dog.
- Territory marking – it’s highly related to your dogs sexual needs – both male and female dogs mark territory to establish contacts. It’s especially bad if your dog pees on your belongings, ruining them. Female dogs also mark, but do it mainly when they are in heat to announce their presence. Neutering will significantly reduce marking behaviors in dogs.
- Wandering – it’s a common problem for male dog owners. If your dog escapes, it leaves you with tons of worries and possible legal problems. Neutering a male dog is the primary thing to do in order to reduce wandering behavior. But not only males. Female dogs tend to escape and wander around when they are in heat, too.
- Disobedience – studies show that spayed and neutered dogs are more likely to be cooperative in obedience training. This is because their hormonal system stabilizes and their natural rhythm is less likely to control their mind.
- Howling, barking, growling – similarly like anything mentioned above, those, and similar actions will be exhibited less rarely after the spaying and neutering a dog.
However, you still have to consider at least some additional behavior management techniques if you are dealing with aggressive or excessive barkers or adult dogs to whom marking or barking may have become a habit. Best point to start would be reaching to your local dog trainer. But he will definitely suggest you start with neutering or spaying your dog.
Health issues regarding spaying or not spaying is a double-edged sword. On one hand it may exclude some illness and on the other hand it may cause some as well.
At first, be aware if your dog has any illness that makes high risk when using anesthesia. In most popular cases it is heart related problems, but might be others as well. Always mention it to your veterinarian before making any surgery.
Sterilization removes possibility of some genital related diseases. In example – inflammation of prostate for males or uterine inflammation and mammary tumor for female dogs.
On the other hand sometimes female dogs may encounter urinary incontinence after sterilization. Possibility for this happening is very small, but this fact does not help if it happens to your dog.
Obesity is a very common problem in sterilized dogs. However, it’s not spaying or neutering what makes your dog fat. Sterilization, however, makes your dog less active (this is why wandering, barking and aggression lowers). This means that you have to change your dog’s diet and include more activities, like walking or playing in your dog’s routine. Many dog owners do not know that.
Diet changes might include switching to food that is specially produced for sterilized dogs or food with lower amount of fat or by just lowering amount of food you gave your dog before sterilization.
And of course you have to keep in mind that sterilization is a surgery. And there is always risk of complications during any surgical operations or postoperative period. Including death in rare cases. Good news is, spaying your dog is less likely to cause complications when compared to other surgeries.
Spayed females are never in heat and spayed males do not pay attention to females in heat
It is very hard to calm a female dog in heat. And it is not much easier with males either when a female in heat is nearby. And it sure is a nightmare when you have both genders at home and male is in heat.
Boys wander around when somewhere nearby (it can be miles away) is a female in heat. This triggers numerous problems for your male dog:
- dog fights and injuries – male dogs are aggressive to other males when competing for attention of opposite sex.
- traffic accidents – when wandering around on streets with high traffic intensity chances to get into accident are pretty huge. A fact that your dog has only one thought in his mind does not help here.
- mean people – those are people who do not like your dog wandering unattended. Especially owners of a female in heat. And you can’t blame them – you are responsible for what you have tamed.
Life is not much easier for female owners:
- restless nights – females in heat are quite nervous. Especially during nights when owner needs to get a sleep. And it is not that easy to calm a female dog when she’s in heat.
- uninvited guests – when my newfie girl was in heat there was a nasty toy-terrier visiting regularly. Did I tell about a dozen of other dogs grazing in my backyard all day and night as well. No need to mention, but it was quite uncomfortable.
- unwanted pregnancy – hopefully I managed to escape this side-effect of having a female dog in heat. However I had several worries about that and numerous nightmares about rising Toy-terrier and Newfoundland mix puppies.
- other worries – along above mentioned, there are plenty other not-so-nice parts of caring for dog in heat. For instance, just take a look at heat symptoms in dogs, not everyone can handle them easily.
So, still thinking about spaying your dog not? Don’t do it if you are planning to use your dog for breeding or you think that dog is not healthy enough to undergo surgery.
Otherwise, if you don’t intend to breed your dog, we thing benefits of spaying are neutering a dog are much greater than any disadvantages and possible side effects. However, if you are still in doubt, consult with your veterinarian and ask as much questions as you can think of.