7 Signs Your Dog Needs to be Neutered or Spayed (2023)

Many dog owners have their pets neutered or spayed for a variety of reasons. But the question is, should you do the same for your pooch? The answer to this depends on your dog’s predisposition to various conditions as well as its behavior. In this post, we will discuss the signs your dog needs to be neutered and what you need to know about the surgical procedure.

Neutering vs. spaying

signs your dog needs to be neutered
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Neutering and spaying are two different things, though it both refers to the process of removing the reproductive organs of a dog.

Neutering is done on male dogs. This is done by removing the testicles and other connected structures responsible for reproduction. The goal here is to neutralize the dog’s ability to reproduce. However, you should note that the humping instinct may not always go away.

If you don’t want your dog’s balls to be removed, one alternative is vasectomy. The process is the same with humans, but this is rarely done on canines.

On the other hand, spaying is for female dogs. In this process, the canine’s ovaries and uterus are removed. This is also called an ovariohysterectomy. If only the ovaries will be removed, it’s called ovariectomy.

Why neuter or spay your dog?

Many ask us if they should get their dog spayed or neutered. The answer is it depends. Still, if you’re weighing this option, knowing why you should neuter or spay your dog will be a big help.

The first thing why you should consider desexing your dog is population control. Not all of us can take care of multiple dogs at home, let alone multiple puppies at a time. Also, it prevents your male doggo from following a female dog around and vice versa.

Another thing is that neutering lowers the testosterone level of your male canine. This will directly reduce your dog’s dominance and other negative behavior. Still, neutering alone isn’t the answer to behavioral problems. Training is still needed so your pooch will grow to be well-disciplined canines.

What’s the right age for spaying/neutering?

For most domesticated canines, neutering or spaying can be done as early as 4 months old. However, if your pooch will join performance competitions, you should ask for the assistance of a veterinarian. You may need to delay the desexing to allow your dog to achieve optimal physical development. Usually, adult dogs are desexed upon reaching sexual maturity, which is around 6 to 12 months.

However, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends desexing shelter dogs as early as 4 months old. This is to prevent reproduction as some dogs can pregnant even before it reaches its 6th month of life.

If your dog came from a shelter, it may have been desexed already. You must check with the veterinarian to confirm this.

Signs your dog needs to be neutered or spayed

So should you have your dog desexed? These signs your dog needs to be neutered may help you decide:

signs your dog needs to be neutered
Photo Credits: SPCA

1.     You don’t want your dog to get pregnant

Again, the main goal of desexing a canine is to prevent it from reproducing. Many owners thwart the reproduction process because they can’t take care of more pups. Also, it would be disheartening to surrender the pups to a shelter.

If your female pooch is being followed by male canines around, you should consider spaying the dog. Your pet may roam the neighborhood around and get pregnant when a male dog mates with it.

So if you don’t have any intentions of keeping a litter, you might as well get your dog spayed. Besides, giving away the puppies to shelters isn’t a good example for your children. Worse, the litter may just get euthanized on kill shelters.

2.     Your dog has a defect

Canines with hip dysplasia and other genetic defects are better spayed or neutered. This is to prevent the spread of the problematic genes that could result in unhealthy pups. Usually, the genetic defect is one of the leading signs your dog needs to be neutered.

If the condition is inheritable, veterinarians would often give pet owners the option of desexing their dogs. Aside from inferior physical traits, aggressive dogs are desexed so they won’t pass on the predisposition to their potential litter.

Aside from hip dysplasia, it’s best to desex your dog if it has cryptorchidism, collie eye anomaly, congenital cataracts, hemeralopia, and the likes.

You can always ask the advice of a veterinarian about these conditions. Some dogs will need to be prepared first to ensure that they can handle the procedure.

3.     Your dog has a risk of testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer among male canines. Since castration involves the removal of the testicles, your dog will have no risk of developing this condition.

Testicular cancer manifests as a tumor on the reproductive organs of a male canine. It’s common among unneutered old dogs, though some of the tumors can be benign.

If you have an adult doggo, there are some warning signs associated with testicular cancer. This includes uneven testicles size, scrotal enlargement, brittle hair on the genital area, hyperpigmentation, and thin skin. Once you notice some of these signs, you must bring your dog to the vet right away. If the condition hasn’t worsened yet, neutering may suppress potential cancer.

4.     Your female has is at risk of breast cancer

For female dogs, the most common form of cancer is breast cancer. This condition has a mortality rate of 50% among dogs and around 90% among cats. This is followed by uterine infections.

Breast cancer among female dogs is associated with nursing and the defect in the way milk is produced. If you want to save your pet from this risk, you might as well get it spayed before its first heat. The goal is to prevent pregnancy so its mammary glands won’t activate.

If your dog is currently in heat, you should consult with a veterinarian about the schedule of spaying. Some vets can spay a dog in heat, though it may result in more bleeding and potential complications. So to be sure, you should wait until your pooch is out of the heat phase.

5.     Your male dog is becoming aggressive

The surge of testosterone among male dogs makes them extremely dominant and imposing. This can lead to aggression, especially if competing with another dog for a female in heat. Also, unneutered dogs can be territorial. This will also lead to heightened aggression against other dogs and humans.

In fact, inter-male aggression among dogs can be reduced to 60% through castration. However, you should remember that your dog’s prey drive will not be affected by neutering since it’s an instinctive trait.

Aside from neutering, behavior modification through dog training is needed to fix a behavioral problem. 

6.     Your dog roams around to find mates

The common problem among unneutered or unspayed dogs is its tendency to wander around. Some canines would even escape looking for a mate. This can be problematic, especially if you don’t want your pet to get pregnant.

The key here is early castration. That way, your dog won’t go in heat and have the urge to mate with other canines.

Aside from preventing reproduction, the fact that your dog roams increases its risk of injuries. Your pet may get caught in the traffic and get hit by a car. Some people may also take interest in your dog and steal it.

7.     Your male dog marks everything

Lastly, if your dog marks every corner of your home, you must consider desexing it. Marking makes your home smell awful and it also makes your pet less disciplined. Take note that the habit of marking is a territorial instinct to drive away other dogs, usually of the same gender.

According to the Humane Society, castrating your dog will help reduce markings dramatically. However, it will not stop it completely. Training and proper housebreaking are important too.

Take note that your dog may increase its marking habit if you just brought home a new pet, specifically a new canine. This is your old dog’s way of imposing its territory to the newcomer.

How to prepare your dog for the operation

Before the operation, the vet will conduct a blood test to ensure that your pet is in good shape. If the veterinarian diagnosed an infection or underlying condition, it would be treated first before proceeding to desex your pet.

Also, your dog should fast for eight hours before the operation. Some vets may also prohibit the consumption of water too close to the time of the surgery. This is due to the anesthesia’s nauseating effect.

Other than that, there’s nothing left to do but to keep your dog healthy.

What to expect after?

After the operation, your dog may experience nausea, which will go away in a few hours. Male dogs can usually go home on the same day, but female canines would have to stay on the vet clinic overnight.

Take note that it’s normal for the scrotum area of the dog to appear swollen. It could be so inflamed that the dog may look like it wasn’t neutered at all. This should subside in a few days as long as you prevent your dog from licking the area (put them on an Elizabethan cone even as the dog sleeps).

Also, you must restrict your dog’s activities for several days until the stitches have been removed.

Some dogs will still feel nauseous a day or two after the surgery. This is normal and some of the pooches may have a poor appetite. Don’t force the dog to it in this case. Just keep it hydrated with clean water.

If you notice any discharge from the incision, you must phone the vet right away. This isn’t normal and can be a sign of infection.

Once your dog recovered fully, it can either be calmer or has the same jolly personality. It all depends on the biochemistry of individual dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is neutering or spaying cruel to dogs?

A: While it’s true that spaying or neutering will hurt, you’re actually doing your dog a big favor. It saves them from potential health problems like cancer and uterine issues.

Q: Do dogs get sad after being neutered?

A: According to studies, spayed dogs are more likely to develop separation anxiety. Also, these dogs are observed to be shy and aloof of other people. Still, spaying and neutering bring a lot of benefits that outweigh the cons.

Q: How soon can I walk my dog after neutering?

A: Usually, dogs can go outdoors a day after the operation. Still, you may want to put off long walks until the veterinarian gives it a go. That way, your dog can recuperate from the operation and the stitches. This may take a week or two.

Q: Do dogs feel pain after neutering?

A: During the surgery, your dog will not feel any pain because it’s under the influence of anesthesia. But after the surgery, expect that your pooch will start to feel the pain due to the stitches. The vet will give pain management medication to ease the discomfort of your pet. The most important thing here is to put the dog in a cone so it won’t lick the area.

Q: Can my dog sleep with a cone on?

A: Yes. As much as dog cones may look uncomfortable on your dog, being strict about it will help the pooch in its recovery. Just make sure that you put the cone on properly so you won’t choke or hurt your dog.

Final words

Knowing the signs your dog needs to be neutered is crucial so you and your dog won’t have to deal with the consequences. As much as you can keep your dog intact, you should know how to deal with the responsibilities if the pooch happened to reproduce.

If you’re not planning to keep any litter, it’s best to desex your dog as early as possible. It will also prevent them from developing fatal health problems.