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Should You Get Your Dog Spayed or Neutered?
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Should You Get Your Dog Spayed or Neutered?

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 6, 2022

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Have you recently adopted a dog? Are you a new puppy parent? When bringing a pooch into your home, it's important to consider the option of spaying or neutering. This is a big decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.

There are several benefits and drawbacks to getting your dog fixed. As a responsible pet owner, it's best to examine the pros and cons of this life-altering surgery to make the right choice for your dog.

1

What is spaying and neutering?

vet nurse holds a Bichon Frise at the examination table sturti / Getty Images

Before getting into the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, you need to understand their definitions. Both surgical procedures remove an animal's sex organs so they cannot reproduce. Even though they're minimally invasive, they involve an incision and are performed under general anesthesia.

For dogs, spaying is the process of sterilizing a female. Usually, it entails taking out the uterus and ovaries, and there's no outward physical change. Neutering is the removal of a male dog's gonads or testicles. Also known as castration, it will change the animal's physical appearance, though it isn't as intrusive as spaying.

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2

Pros: Controlling and reducing overpopulation

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Millions of dogs end up in shelters each year. Only about one-tenth of them find their forever home. This means a heartbreaking number of animals languish in shelters until they're euthanized. None of this needs to happen.

The majority of overpopulation is caused by pet owners who don't take responsibility. Not sterilizing an animal can easily lead to unintended pregnancies. Even if you're vigilant, it only takes a few minutes for procreation to occur. Accidents happen, and dogs do get loose. Don't leave it to chance: spaying or neutering will guarantee you don't end up with a litter of puppies you weren't anticipating.

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3

Pros: A cleaner and healthier dog

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The chances of a female dog developing mammary gland tumors are quite high if they aren't spayed before their first heat. Cancer and other diseases of the uterus and ovaries aren't uncommon, either. Spaying will prevent these potentially fatal issues. Additionally, it keeps your house cleaner since your pup won't have any bloody discharge during a cycle.

Neutering a dog eliminates the risks of testicular cancer and other related diseases. Overall, males seem to have fewer future health issues when they're fixed, including a reduction in prostate problems. Urination in uncharacteristic and inconvenient places will also decrease, and so will marking their territory.

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4

Pros: Less anxiety and aggression

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Getting your dog fixed will calm them down since a hormonal change will usually make your buddy less aggressive. Plus, they won't be acting out as much. Males are less inclined to instigate fights with other dogs or break down the door to escape when they sense a nearby dog in heat. Females aren't attracting mating advances and won't have to endure uncomfortable cycles. Overall, sterile canines tend to be more affectionate, gentle, and relaxed.

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5

Pros: Long-term cost savings

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One way to view sterilization is that it's a long-term investment. Yes, it's an up-front cost, but it will save you an incredible amount of time, effort, stress, and money in the long run. Weigh the lifestyle and financial costs of a medical procedure for one animal versus the price of care, health, and maintenance for an unexpected litter of puppies. Which would you prefer?

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6

Cons: There's no going back

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Spaying and neutering will render your dog permanently sterile. Once it's done, it's done, and reproduction will never be possible. You need to be certain this is what you want for your furry friend.

Some owners decide to breed their dogs. This decision should be thought-out and requires preparedness. If it's something, you're even remotely considering, spaying and neutering will forever prevent this from happening.

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7

Cons: Tendency to gain weight

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Weight gain is one of the most common negative factors of sterilization. While the dog will calm down in part due to hormonal changes, these changes will also make your pooch less active. Fixed animals may favor a couch potato lifestyle over exercise. Some owners do want a docile animal, but others prefer an active canine who's up for frequent playtime and adventures.

Obesity can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, joint disorders, and diabetes. If you have your dog spayed or neutered, you need to take more of a proactive role in keeping their weight down.

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8

Cons: Surgery poses risks

Veterinarian doctor is examining dog in veterinary vchal / Getty Images

Are you familiar with the process of sterilization? Typically, spaying and neutering are low-risk canine surgeries. Yet anything can pose potential problems during the procedure, in recovery, or later down the road. This is something you need to discuss with your vet. Know the x-factors ahead of time, then personally decide if the operation's benefits outweigh the risks.

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9

Cons: Immediate costs

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Medical procedures cost money. Up-front prices for surgery may not be in your current budget. Unless you have a low-cost clinic in your area, you might end up spending several hundred dollars. Spaying is more invasive, so it runs higher than neutering. Regardless, the price will be even higher if any dog has a preexisting medical condition.

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10

Is spaying or neutering right for your dog?

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As a responsible pet owner and dog lover, you want to make the best decisions. A lot of thought goes into determining whether to get your pal fixed. Finances, breeding, health, and home life are all points to ponder. Ultimately, you have to consider what is best for you, your household, your pup, and the animal population as a whole.

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