Most pet dogs are spayed (females) or neutered (males) to remove reproductive organs and prevent pregnancy. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters, which results in millions of healthy dogs being euthanized in the United States each year. It also helps protect against some serious health problems and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.
Removing a female dog ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Female dogs have a high incidence of cancers of the reproductive system and spaying helps decrease the chance. The production of estrogen leads to most of the reproductive cancers. A vast majority of intact older females contract a life-threatening infection of the uterus, called pyometra. This infection is caused by problems with progesterone, another female hormone, which is eliminated through spaying.
Males that are not neutered can exhibit aggressive behaviors, which can be dangerous to them, other animals, and people. Removing the testicles from male dogs can reduce the breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and be less aggressive. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals. Neutering your dog can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland), many other prostatic disease (which treatment is neutering) and testicular cancer. The most common type of dog to get hit by a car is an intact male dog.
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Spaying and neutering requires anesthesia. Your dog may be under the weather for a few more days as a result of the surgery, but will heal within a matter of a week or so.
While the traditional age for neutering is six to nine months, consult your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your dog based upon his/her breed, age and physical condition.