DOG GUIDEHealth & Diet

Pros and Cons of Spaying a Dog – Guide 2020

Some pet owners are sending their female dogs for spaying. Yet, there are others that are not fond of dealing with this kind of canine’s procedure especially if they are after more of the breeding purposes. Due to this, it is crucial for pet owners to learn the pros and cons of spaying a dog as it can help them to quantify if they can go on for the procedure or not.

As we go along, we will provide you with our list of the perks and drawbacks of spaying your dog. Moreover, to further help you understand this procedure; we will discuss first the definition of spaying and the age recommendation to undergo in this process. So, let us check them all out below!   

What is Spaying?

Before we jump into learning the pros and cons of spaying a dog, first, let us start to know what spaying really means. Actually, spaying is the most popular sterilization methods for animals. Other terms that veterinarians are calling this procedure are de-sexing or fixing. However, the term fixing dogs seems to be iconic or misleading to most because the process of doing it is not conclusive.

Spaying is generally a sterilization procedure that is for female dogs. During this process, vets removed both the ovaries and uterus of the female dogs. This is scientifically known as Ovariohysterectomy. However, an intact dog is the other term for dogs that are not yet deal with the process.

Recommended age for spaying a dog

Ideally, the recommended dog age for spaying is about 3 to 4 months in some breeds. But for larger breeds, spaying starts at 12 months. Moreover, the advisable age for dog spaying is at the age of 3 months onwards. The other term for this is juvenile spaying in dogs. However, in doing this, the dog must have a weight of less than 15 kg or 6 months old adult dog which weighs more than 15 kg.

The Pros and Cons of Spaying a Dog

Now that we already have an idea about dog spaying, it is time that we need to discuss the pros and cons of spaying a dog. Here they are:

Pros of Spaying a Dog

PROS # 1: Reduction of body heat phenomenon

Actually, if you want to know the pros and cons of spaying a dog, one of the perks of doing it is the prevention of feeling too much heat. During the body heat phenomenon of a female dog, they may generally experience swelling of the genital areas and emits an odor easily recognizable even for a long distance. Moreover, this odor may attract unexpected attention from male dogs.

Spaying a dog will also lead them to have a low desire in wandering and search for their specific mate. This will generally result in other dog behavioral concerns such as escaping from their home and getting lost. Once the female dog experiences bodily heat, they usually also have a discharge that contains blood. Because of it, it will stain the coat of your dog even her crate and as well as your furniture.

Intact dogs may really cause a mess as they ejaculate. Those bloody discharges are highly associated with the bodily heat periods that an intact female dog is experiencing. In order to avoid this mess and to prevent the dog from the body heat, the great solution would be spaying them.

Leaving the spayed female dog in the yard and getting her on an outdoor walk will not be something to worry about. A cleaner, calmer, and more loving dog will be one of a good result of this sterilization process. They are basically less aggressive and will develop to be a happy dog making their pet owners happy and satisfied as well.

PROS # 2: Prevention of dog pregnancy

In terms of the pros and cons of spaying a dog, preventing dog pregnancy is one of the perks of spaying. Most dog owners are struggling with the financial and time-bound challenge of breeding that also involves health risks in canines.


There are intact female dogs that assume that they are having pups after weeks of their bodily heat phenomenon. Actually, milk production in female dogs started and they ready like stuffed toys which for them are puppy alternatives. This hormonal change is actually related to a false pregnancy which can lead the dog’s metabolism out of way thus causing much health issues.

In fact, there are some female dogs which have false pregnancy and mammary glands’ infection follows eventually. The wide distribution of infection over their bloodstream will then take effect. And, even if they got antibiotic treatment, they are still susceptible to dying. With this, the pros and cons of spaying a dog become highly beneficial.


Generally, once the dog is trying to give birth for their little pups, they can even die. Another situation that may lead them to experience the risk of dying associated with pregnancy is the short after birth due to infections. Just imagine the feeling of longing for a puppy but risking the healthy life of your furry buddy. This only leads to a conclusion that real canine pregnancy is a life-threatening situation for your doggy.

pros and cons of spaying a dog
Image courtesy of Crittersitca

Another concern associated with dog’s pregnancy is the passage of genes for health problems. During breeding, the dog testing and clearing them from specific health issues is crucial. It is such a worst feeling to have a puppy suffering from painful health condition due to the genetic problems of the female dog during breeding.

Lastly, responsible pet parenting involves responsible breeding which calls for enough knowledge and budget. You should have deeper knowledge about canine genetics and analysis regarding pedigrees. Along with this runs the fee for veterinary processes and it may goes up once there is something wrong happened during the dog’s pregnancy or birth. With all of this, the pros and cons of spaying a dog come in.

PROS # 3: Save money

Moreover, dog pregnancy increases the expenses of owning and caring for a dog which includes the vet bills, dog food and dog supplies. Additionally, comes with dog pregnancy is a little bit risk of death during canine birth and after it. In case the dog suffered from complications during pregnancy, bills from vet care and other risks of newborn puppies will also increase. Basically, if you spay a female dog the occurrence of pregnancy may be less costly.

Perhaps, the cost of spaying a female dog is also a little bit expensive which is the main reason why other pet owners fail to have their dog spayed. Yet, comparing the cost that will be incurred if they don’t undergo spaying, the price is actually minimal.

PROS # 4: Reduce the risk of health issues in dogs

Another thing that is also an important concern in terms of the pros and cons of spaying a dog is the involvement of different health issues.


Actually, the moment of dog spaying of intact female canine prior to the occurrence of their first heat period will decrease the risk of the development of infection in the sex organ. Based on studies, about 1 in every 4 female dogs will develop pyometra or the infection of the uterus.

At this condition, the uterus of the female dog swells having toxic pus and the only way to address this is immediate spaying. Yet, the process of spaying may become dangerous for dogs in the middle or old age that is already sick due to infection.


Generally, the process of spaying a dog will reduce the risk of development of cancer in the uterus, ovaries, or the entire reproductive tract. Removing these organs will basically lead to less worry about the dog’s health. Although cancers of these organs are less likely to occur for the lives of the female dogs, dog spaying is still the number one recommendation of most vets.


Reduction of breast cancer development is one of the health issues in the pros and cons of spaying a dog. Female dogs that have been spayed before the age of 2 1/2 years old are not prone to the development of mammary tumors. Bear in mind that if the heat periods are greater, the risk of having breast cancer is also greater as well.

PROS # 5: Population control of dogs
pros and cons of spaying a dog

Actually, within North America, animal shelters and vet clinics, even the humane societies basically give the responsibility to the pet owners to have their dogs spayed. This will generally help in preventing possible problems especially to the overpopulation of domestic animals. Moreover, spaying dogs prior to their adoption is a requirement of the law by some states.

Yet, the problem in relation to domesticated animals becomes very real. In fact, the Humane Society of the US shows that the animal shelters received around 6 to 8 million pets annually. And as time goes on, the records of domesticated pets are significantly growing as well as the animals going into the shelters.

Basically, other animals are also performing spaying but the dogs are the most common to undergo this procedure. The procedure works with the help of the general anesthesia so that they won’t feel the incision during surgery. 

Cons of Spaying a Dog

CONS # 1: Being less active

Generally, dog spaying let their hormones will start to change which will lead them in a calmer and more relaxed state. If the puppy is calmer, they are less active rather when they not before the process. Yet, most people are fond of having active dogs. Moreover, being calmer is not the only thing but they are also quieter as well which is considered as a problem for some.

CONS # 2: The development of hypothyroidism and obesity

During the time of dog spaying, the system most affected is the endocrine system. Because of this, the risk of hypothyroidism will be developed. With this, the dog may feel weak, tired, and even start to lose their hair. Since it affects the endocrine system, female canines begin to struggle with obesity.

pros and cons of spaying a dog

Female dogs that have low levels of the thyroid will generally experience weight gain and obesity. Dog’s obesity is a condition of canine that is actually hard to address even if you offer them a sufficient diet. And at the time of female dogs spaying, the rate of gaining weight increases quickly. Aside from that, most dog owners fed their dog with the same amount of foods even the time when they are not yet spayed.

Moreover, when the dog gains additional weight, they usually tend to have debilitating joint disease, heart disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, and arthritis. Yet, it can be prevented by providing your female dog sufficient exercise on a regular basis. Additionally, knowing the appropriate food for your dog and their proper nutrition involves a healthy and stress-free canine’s lifestyle.

It is also important to look after the shape of your dog while you feed her. Adjusting the amount of food that they eat along with enough exercise will not make your dog fat after being spayed.    

CONS # 3: Development of lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and other related complications

Generally, when it comes to the pros and cons of spaying a dog, it increases the risk of lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma specifically affects the spleen and heart of the dog which is too far from the reproductive organs of female dogs. This type of cancer may be developed twice in the spleen and five times within the heart. There are some dog breeds in which these types of cancer are very common. This includes the German Shepherd, French Bulldog, Labrador, and African Hound to name a few.

CONS # 4: Sterilization and the risk associated with the general anesthesia

Dog spaying is the sterilization method that undergoes surgical procedures. Because of this process, the fate of the dog in conceiving pregnancy will eventually stop. Since this procedure highly required the use of general anesthesia, reacting poorly on this medication is possible. Based on studies, there is 1 in every 5 dogs that developed post-surgical complications. Luckily, most of these complications are not really serious and have really low morbidity rate.

Statistically, about one complication may be experienced by 20% of spayed dogs. This may include abscess and infection aside from the poor reaction to anesthesia. However, these complications are just minor ones. No more than 5% seems to be serious and the rate of morbidity is about 1%.

CONS # 5: Spaying at the Wrong Age

Generally, spaying of dogs at the wrong age will increase the risk of some health conditions in canine in addition to the pros and cons of spaying a dog. The reproductive hormones have a special role in the appropriate development of the bones, joints, and internal organs of canines. Once these reproductive hormones were removed too early, the completion of their role in the canine’s body wouldn’t be complete enough.

Moreover, there would be more health complications to be developed if spaying is performed at the wrong age. Examples of these unwanted conditions are bone cancer, uneven bone growth, and urinary incontinence. There will also be the development of abnormal vulvas which can trap bacteria. Due to this, the dog may suffer from dermatitis, urinary tract infections, and vaginal infections.


When you spayed the female dogs at an early age, they tend to have uneven bone growth. In connection to this, the dog will be more susceptible to hip dysplasia and torn ligaments.


Another risk involved in the early age spaying of female dogs is associated with bone cancer that usually happens in large breed dogs.


Generally, around 20% of spayed females may develop urinary incontinence. The moment the dog is spayed prior to the full development of the female’s dog bladder, they may usually experience leakage due to weak bladder muscles within the middle age. This condition may be a real stress for you and the dog. In order to help you address this situation, lifetime supplements of estrogen together with proper medication will keep up the balance.


Basically, the private part or the size of the vulva of the female dog that has been spayed on age is still small. Moreover, the vulva does not protrude and recessed inside the body of the spayed female dog. It is very much important not to send your dog into spaying before their reproductive hormones were already developed to execute the valuable task. However, the time for the development of their reproductive hormones varies on the size and breed of the dog.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the pros and cons of spaying a dog is generally essential for them especially in the development of their reproductive hormones. However, the key point here is the correct and appropriate timing of subjecting your dog into spaying. Keep in mind that spaying the dog too early may also lead to more serious health issues. That’s why it is very important not to rush your dog to undergo spaying.

Usually, there will always be the right time and most of the time, the surgery was performed inappropriately. It is also crucial to know that spaying is a surgical procedure for canines that generally requires the use of anesthesia. Because of this, spaying a female is considered as a safety precaution that is not used unless being asked.