People's Animal Welfare Society
Eastern Province

Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

When you spay or neuter your dog you are not only saving the lives of other dogs, you may be saving the life of your own.

You may wonder how spaying or neutering is saving the lives of others; the answer is simple. For every puppy that your dog (male or female) does not produce one puppy that has already been born may have a chance at a home and family.

You may argue that you can find homes for all of your dog’s offspring. Yes, this may be true, initially; but, there is no way you can guarantee that it will be a responsible or lasting home. The statistics prove that far too many dogs end up abandoned or in shelters. Of these abandoned dogs most are not spayed or neutered which perpetuates the cycle of breeding leading to more overpopulation. One un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years. There will never be enough homes.

So how does spaying or neutering may be saving the life of your own dog?

Spaying (Ovariohysterectomy)

An ovariohysterectomy (OHE) is what we call spaying. Which simply put means the surgical removal of the ovaries, oviducts, uterine horns and the uterus.

This surgical procedure removes the organs that produce estrogen and progesterone. While you may know that these hormones control the female heat cycle (estrus) and play a role in pregnancy there are some things you might not know that could potentially harm your dog physically and psychologically.

Dogs will come into heat about every 6-9 months. The female dog’s estrus cycle differs greatly from that of a cat. It generally is thought of this way:

“In Season” 21 Days: 7 days coming into heat; 7 days in heat; and 7 days coming out of heat.

If you find your dog is in heat before you can have her spayed you should confine your dog the entire 21 days.

This is an extremely stressful time for your dog and your entire household.

Risks & Rewards

RISK: Hormonal stress can be both physical and psychological. Your female will be driven by her hormones to actively seek a male. This can lead to irritable and nervous behavior which could result in biting or snapping, an influx of males around your house, household damages (blood spots on the carpet or furniture, male dogs destroying your property), or even your dog getting out and being hit by a car, lost or attacked by another dog.

REWARD: When you have your dog spayed this will prevent this stress on her body and mind. She will tend to have a more even temperament and will not go through the hormone-induced mood swings that intact females sometimes have.

RISK: False pregnancy is a condition where a female dog shows signs of pregnancy, nursing and lactation but produce no puppies. This usually occurs after her estrus stage is over (about a month or two), and it may last for two to three months depending in type and severity from one female to another.

REWARD: With spaying, false pregnancies are eliminated as is all their resulting mental and physical stress.

RISK: Mammary cancer is the number one malignant tumor in dogs and the most common form of cancer to spread to the lungs. Female reproductive hormones are one of the primary causes of mammary cancer in dogs.

REWARD: Spaying before the first heat cycle decreases the risk of your dog developing this condition to almost zero; and if done before the third heat cycle it will be reduced to 26%.

RISK: Tumors of the uterus and ovaries.

REWARD: Having your dog spayed will prevent this 100%.

RISK: Pyometra is an infection of the reproductive tract which occurs after a heat cycle. Pyometra is when bacteria enter the uterus and it becomes infected and filled with pus. If left untreated it results in a 100% death rate. Even if proper treatment is received it can be costly and leave your dog open to lifelong heart and kidney problems.

REWARD: Having your dog spayed will prevent Pyometra 100%.

Neutering (Orchidectomy or Orchiectomy)

An orchidectomy is what we call neutering. Which simply put means the surgical removal of the testicles.

Other than the issue of not contributing to the overpopulation problem there are a variety of other reasons to neuter your dog.

Whether they are medical or behavioral issues both can be attributed to the male hormone testosterone. This is why vasectomies are not usually performed on animals. While a vasectomy would prevent reproduction it would not affect the unwanted characteristics or conditions that are caused by testosterone, which is produced within the testicle.

Risks & Rewards

RISK: Aggression/Nervousness/Agitation/Irritability.

REWARD: Neutering will eliminate your dog’s need to respond to his overwhelming want to reproduce. This in turn makes your dog less aggressive, nervous, agitated and irritable.

RISK: Marking territory is considered offensive behavior. This is a normal behavior of intact male dogs.

REWARD: By neutering your dog you will decrease the likelihood of him marking up your household with urine.

RISK: Roaming is typical intact male dog behavior. Male dogs can sense females in heat by the pheromones that they produce. These pheromones travel great distances through the air which lead your male dog in search of the female. This search can end in your dog being lost, stolen or hit by a car.

REWARD: Neutering your dog will make him much less likely to roam great distances from home.

RISK: Fighting in un-neutered males is a serious health concern. They will fight to defend their territory or to acquire the female in heat. These fights can lead to very serious injuries. Too many un-neutered dogs have scars, missing ears or eyes, or are killed from these hormone-induced fights.

REWARD: Neutered males are much more likely to stay home and not get into fights with other males over territory or females.

RISK: Testicular cancer is the 2nd most common tumor diagnosed in older, intact males.

REWARD: Neutering is 100% prevention.

RISK: Prostate cancer.

REWARD: Neutering greatly reduces the chances of your dog developing any type of prostate problems.

RISK: Perianal gland cancers are the 3rd most diagnosed tumors in older intact male dogs.

REWARD: Neutering greatly reduces the chances of your dog acquiring this condition.

RISK: Prostate enlargement occurs in at least 60% of un-neutered dogs over 5 years old.

REWARD: Neutering reduces the chances of prostate enlargement and the other health conditions associated with prostate enlargement.

RISK: “Riding” objects or people.

REWARD: Your neutered dog will be less likely to display this inappropriate and often embarrassing behavior.

Spaying or neutering can be done at any age. It is becoming increasingly common for dogs to be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks. This new trend is due to the new generation of anesthetics that are now available. For the best time to spay or neuter your dog please consult with your veterinarian.

As you can see, spaying and neutering have numerous benefits in addition to population control. Spaying or neutering can add years to your dog’s life or even save it.

Isn’t your dog worth it?