The Difference in a Spay and Neuter is spay refers to a female dog being fixed and neuter is referring to a male dog being fixed.
A female dog is spayed, removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and both ovaries.
A male dog is neutered, removing his testicles. I don’t know why, but it took me a forever to remember the difference, even now I have to think for a second to remember which is which.
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First I recommend considering all ways you want to spend time with your dog. Do you want your dog to attend doggy daycare or go to dog parks? If so, many boarding, daycares, and dog parks will not accept a dog that is NOT spayed or neutered. I also know many cities will charge extra for dog licensing for a dog that is not spayed or neutered.
Female dogs that aren’t spayed will go into heat every 6 months, which can last around 3 weeks. When your female dog is in heat she will have a bloody discharge which means you need to keep special panties on her, unless of course, you want blood all over your house!
For your female dog, there are some health benefits of spaying her, such as it can greatly lower the risk of mammary tumors.
You may also be wondering if it will spaying calm a female dog? Possibly, but every dog is different and your dog may or may not calm down after a spay.
For your male dog, neutering can prevent testicular cancer and even some prostate issues. Neutering your male dog before puberty may also help prevent some behaviors such as marking and aggression.
It has also been said that a neutered dog is less likely to run away from home, I’m guessing because he doesn’t have the raging hormones that make him want to look for a mate.
I searched for good reasons not to neuter or spay your dog, and honestly still firmly believe the benefits outweigh the negatives. Some people are afraid their dog will gain weight, or it will take away his “manly hood” or change her personality.
Some people can’t afford it or want to breed their dog because she is perfect or unique. Please, don’t add to the overpopulation of dogs in shelters. Dog breeding should be left to professional breeders!
If you are interested in reading more reasons to not neuter or spay your dog from a source that discusses the Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs, then read this article from Dogs Naturally.
Every dog we’ve had in our family has been neutered and spayed; I have never experienced any of the health risks mentioned in the above article. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
The traditional age to spay or neuter your puppy is 6-9 months but can be performed as young as 2 months old. Most vets will recommend the best age to spay a female dog is before her first heat cycle, which can happen as young as 5 months old.
Many shelters and rescues will have your puppy spayed or neutered BEFORE you adopt him. This is a great way to control the overpopulation of dogs in shelters. Plus, it saves you money, read below how much it costs to spay or neuter your dog.
There are other sources that say waiting until your dog is over a year old has more health benefits. So I suggest you talk with your vet to discuss what is best for you and your own dog.
The cost is going to vary depending on your location and vet. There are low-cost programs available in many areas to help families that cannot afford the expense of spaying or neutering their dog. The ASPCA has a great resource to search your area for these Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs.
Because we adopted our dog Bear directly from a family, he was not neutered. I called our normal vet and they wanted almost $400! I decided to call the vet that our rescue uses and was able to have Bear neutered for only $90.
A high-volume, low-cost vet is not going to be a warm-cozy office that I would recommend using for normal care. But they perform many spays and neuters daily and know what they are doing, and saving $300 is a no-brainer for me.
One big benefit of adopting from the humane society or rescue is that the dogs are almost always already spayed or neutered. The adoption fee is probably less then what you would pay to have the procedure done on your own.
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There are so many rumors and misinformation about spaying and neutering our pets, it’s hard to know what are facts truly are. I referred to PetMD, the ASPCA, and AKC to make sure I bring you the real truths about spaying and neutering.
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Now you have all the information, what is your opinion? Will you or have your dog spayed or neutered? Why or why not? I feel everyone has the right to make the decision for themselves and their dog that best fits their own situation. Why do you think it is important to spay and neuter your pet? Comment below and help others in the Rescue Dogs 101 Community.
P.S. If you haven’t downloaded our free Dog Health Record printable yet do it NOW!
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.