Many pet owners wonder “how will spaying change my dog?” There are a number of medical and behavioral benefits that arise when a female dog is spayed. Millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States due to an overpopulation of pets and not enough homes for placement. When a dog is spayed, this reduces the number of unwanted puppies. Puppies are typically spayed between the ages of six and nine months but healthy dogs as young as eight weeks can be spayed, as well as adult dogs. Here you will learn what changes your dog may go through after a spaying surgery and the pros and cons of spaying a dog.
How Will Spaying Change My Dog? Medical Reasons to Spay
Decrease the Chance of Mammary (Breast) Cancer. When a female dog is spayed before their first estrus cycle, or heat, the risk of developing mammary cancer is nearly absent. Each time your female dog experiences a heat cycle, the chance of developing this cancer increases. The first heat cycle can begin as early as six months of age so it’s important to spay before this occurs.
Avoid Pyometra from Affecting the Uterus. Pyometra is a potentially fatal infection that is caused from bacteria within the uterus of a female dog. Pyometra typically occurs in dogs between seven and eight years and affects 25 percent of all unsprayed female dogs before the age of 10. Signs that your dog may have pyometra include vaginal discharge, depression, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, inflamed eyes, weight loss, abdominal distension or excessive urination.
Eliminate the Risk of Ovarian Tumors. Ovarian and uterine tumors, although rare, can occur in female dogs. Some breeds are more prone to these tumors and they typically occur in older female dogs. When a dog is spayed, the risk for ovarian and uterine tumors is completely eliminated.
Prevent Live Birth Stress and Disease. The stress of carrying and delivering puppies can put tremendous strain and stress on a female dog. Infection and disease can also occur during or after the puppies are delivered for a number of reasons. These dangerous risks can be eliminated when a dog is spayed before it can become pregnant and give birth.
How Will Spaying Change My Dog? Behavioral Reasons to Spay
More Freedom and Prevent Roaming. When a female dog decides to run away or roam, it’s often in search for a male dog. Dogs that are not spayed need to be kept indoors or in a secure yard to prevent them from escaping and risking an unwanted pregnancy. Roaming dogs also run the risk of becoming injured or killed on busy roadways, from dehydration or from excessive temperatures. Spayed female dogs will reduce or eliminate her drive to leave home.
Reduce Frequent Urination During Heat. When a female dog goes into heat, they will attempt to attract male dogs through the scent of their urine. This may result in your dog urinating on the carpet or furniture. When a female dog is spayed, frequent urination and bloody discharge, which both occur during the heat cycle, can be diminished.
Prevent Ovarian Pain and Irritability. Intense hormonal changes occur during the heat cycles of a female dog. These estrus cycles can result in ovarian pain and noticeable irritability. When a female dog is spayed, her behavior will remain more consistent as they will not experience these hormonal changes.
Decrease Prior Aggressive Behaviors. Before being spayed, a female dog may be aggressive, overly protective or in competition for her pet owners attention. These are hormonal changes that can be prevented by spaying the dog. Some female dogs experience a “false pregnancy” where they adopt an object and act as if they were a litter of puppies. During this type of phase, the female dog can become increasingly aggressive as they are trying to protect. Spaying can reduce and even eliminate aggressive behaviors.
Sexual maturity occurs when a female dog reaches 12 months of age. Before maturity is present, veterinarians recommend that all dogs should be spayed or neutered. If you have recently adopted an older dog, it’s still just as important to spay or neuter. Not only to prevent unwanted pregnancies that add to the pet overpopulation problem, but to reduce and eliminate the risk of emotional and physical health conditions.
For more information on the spaying and neutering of dogs, please visit:
-Benefits of Spay/Neuter for Cats and Dogs
-Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet