Unless you plan on breeding your dog, it is common practice to spay or neuter. Doing this has many advantages, but there are still things to consider when making that decision. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of having a dog ‘fixed’ to hopefully help you make an informed choice.
Pros of spaying/neutering:
- Prevents unwanted litters and the costs involved. Every year in the UK, thousands of abandoned dogs are handled by the authorities. Having your dog spayed or neutered means you are doing your bit to help reduce the number of homeless dogs roaming the streets and shelters.
- Prevents unwanted behaviours. In male dogs this includes aggression and dominance, as well as territory marking and hypersexuality. In female dogs, it includes the same behaviours (to a lesser extent) as well as phantom pregnancies, which can be very distressing for an intact dog.
- Prevents heat. This can be a messy and stressful time for both of you and can bring unpredictable symptoms and behaviours.
- Neutering a male dog prevents testicular cancer, as well as enlarged prostrate which occurs in 80% of intact male dogs over five years old. Spaying a female dog offers partial protection against mammary tumours if your dog is spayed before 2 and half years old. It is estimated that 1 in 4 intact females will develop pyometra, an infection of the uterus that is fatal for many, and entirely preventable for all.
Cons of spaying/neutering:
- Can affect growth and maturation if done too early. Early spaying and neutering can cause the bones to grow unevenly, which often leads to hip dysplasia and torn ligaments.
- May increase the risk of obesity. Spaying and neutering causes hormonal changes and affects metabolism, meaning dogs don’t need as much food following surgery. It doubles the risk in spayed females, and triples the risk in neutered males.
- May cause urinary incontinence in female dogs spayed too early. This happens because the bladder isn’t fully developed when spaying occurs, so the muscles are weakened and are prone to leaking in later life. It appears in approximately 20% of spayed females.
- Can affect the growth and texture of the coat.
Although there are moderate risks associated with spaying/neutering, the benefits do seem to outweigh them. It is best to speak to your vet about the best time to carry out this surgery, as doing it too early or too late in life can cause significant problems.
If you have any thoughts on this discussion or want to share your experiences of getting your dog fixed, please comment below for our other readers.
Written by: Hannah