This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience, which means I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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.

Dog at vet - Why Spay or Neuter Your Dog

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will receive a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Dog

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.

Reasons NOT to Neuter or Spay Your Dog

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.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

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.

How Much Does it Cost to Spay or Neuter Your 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.


Why You Should Adopt a Dog from a Foster-Based Rescue

The Spaying and Neutering Facts

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.

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.

About the Author


Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three 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.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Regardless of whether or not you have them spayed and neutered, if you do have animals it is your responsibility to take care of them. For those who are unprepared for this task, they should not get animals in the first place.

  2. Debi, it’s great to know that spaying a female dog can lower the risk of her developing mammary tumors and stop her from having her period every six months. My boyfriend and I just adopted a female German Shepherd a few months ago, and she already stained our sofa with her bloody vaginal discharge. Perhaps it would be beneficial for everyone in the house, plus cost-effective since we no longer have to buy doggy diapers, if we have her spayed by a reputable veterinarian. Thanks for this!

  3. My husband and I just got our first dog, and we want to get her fixed right away. Your article had some great information regarding this, and I liked how you said if we have a female dog, which we do, getting her spayed can greatly lower the risk of her getting mammary tumors. Thanks; we’ll keep this in mind when fixes our dog.

  4. I really appreciate it when you mentioned that most dogs in shelters get spayed or neutered before you could adopt them. Not only would these procedures prevent dogs from unnecessarily breeding in the shelter, these would also assure foster homes of healthier dogs. My younger brother is planning to adopt a puppy for his birthday and this would be a nice bit of info that I could share to him!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}