According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), elective spaying and neutering is a vital component of pet population control and reduces undesirable mating behaviors that may contribute to pets being abandoned and relinquished to animal shelters.
Spaying or neutering your dog has several advantages and, unless you are a licensed breeder, you should consider the surgery.
When Should My Dog be Spayed or Neutered?
One of the biggest benefits of spaying a female dog is the prevention of breast cancer. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, female dogs that have not been spayed have a risk for breast cancer that is 200 times greater than that for dogs that have been spayed before the first heat. Female dogs that are spayed after their first heat cycle are 10 times less likely to get breast cancer than unaltered females.
To achieve this benefit, veterinarians usually recommend the surgery to female dogs that have not had their first heat, which can occur between 6 and 24 months of age depending on the breed (it tends to occur later in larger breeds).
In male dogs, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease. Vets usually recommend neutering male dogs between the 4 and 12 months of age.
Will My Dog’s Personality Change?
Neutered male dogs usually behave better after being neutered. When you spay your female dog you will avoid heat cycles that can attract males to the house and cause trouble around the neighborhood. In addition, a neutered male will not urinate around the house to mark his territory and he will have less desire to roam. The surgical procedure will also reduce aggressive behaviors in males.
Will My Dog Be In Pain At All During The Process?
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures, which will cause pain. However, with proper pain management, there is nothing to worry about. As with any surgery, there are risks related to the anesthetic procedure, your veterinarian will explain these risks to you before the surgery.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Spaying or neutering your dog can save you money on your veterinary bills because it reduces the risk of various disease (e.g. prostate and breast cancer).
This is the best way to prevent pet overpopulation. According to the ASPCA, each year millions of stray dogs are euthanized or die on the streets. Unless you plan on taking care of a litter, spaying or neutering your dog is the best option.
One of the most important benefits of spaying and neutering is preventing certain health issues. This surgical procedure can prolong your dog’s life because it reduces the risk of uterine infections, mammary gland cancer, prostatic diseases, and eliminates the risk of ovarian and testicular cancer.
Potential Risk Of Early Spaying Or Neutering
Recent research has shown that spaying or neutering is not as safe as once believed; while it reduces the risk of some cancers and medical conditions, it increases the risk of others—AVMA says.
A study conducted at the University of California Davis in 2013, showed that the risk of development of hip dysplasia doubles in dogs neutered or spayed before the age of 12 months. A study published in the PLoS One Journal in 2013, found that dogs that were neutered or spayed before sexual maturity were more prone to developing a disease called cranial cruciate ligament and a type of cancer called lymphoma. Early neutering or spaying may also be related to an increased incidence of certain types of cancer.