Canine Spay Information

What can happen if I don’t have my dog spayed?

Hormone-induced behavior problems

· Dominance problems.

· Aggression towards other dogs.

· Roaming - increases your dog’s risk of injury and disease.

· Urine marking.

· Overt sexual behavior - riding, mounting, sniffing, licking.

· Frustration.


Hormone-induced medical conditions

· Breast cancer - very common, sometimes malignant, requires surgery, preventable if your dog is spayed before the first heat cycle.

· Cystic endometrial hyperplasia and pyometra - common in older dogs, potentially fatal uterine inflammation and infection.

· Chronic endometritis - uterine inflammation, predisposes to infection.

· Cystic ovaries and hyperestrogenism - may cause bone marrow and skin disease.

· False pregnancies.

· Mastitis - inflamed breasts during or after pregnancy or false pregnancy.

· Transmissible venereal tumors.

· Ovarian and uterine tumors.

· Vaginal hyperplasia and prolapse - may require surgery.

· Uterine torsion or prolapse - potentially deadly, requires surgery.


· There are simply more puppies born than there are good homes available for them.

· Over 5000 unwanted dogs are killed at animal shelters every year in Orange County alone.

When should I have my dog spayed?

Your dog will benefit most if the spay is done at 4 to 6 months of age, before the first heat cycle. Your dog’s risk for breast cancer is virtually eliminated if she is spayed early. She will benefit from the reduction in other medical and behavioral problems regardless of when she is spayed.

I’m afraid of complications during the spay

 We use very safe anesthetic agents, monitoring, and surgical procedures. We perform bloodwork before surgery. Fluids are given intravenously during surgery to support blood pressure and kidney function. The risks for your dog not being spayed are much higher than the risks of surgery.

It’s too expensive

Because of the importance of spaying, both for your dog’s health and the overpopulation problem, most veterinarians perform the surgery for a reduced fee, often for less than the procedure costs. There are spay and neuter clinics that are supported by public and private donations that are very inexpensive. However, many of these clinics simply cannot afford to provide the same quality of care and service for your dog as can the full-service hospitals.

Won’t my dog get fat and lazy?

 Your dog’s energy needs will naturally decrease by about 1/3 after the spay. Feeding less will prevent weight gain. If you keep your dog at her optimum weight and provide her with opportunities to exercise, there is no reason for her to get lazy. There is a gradual decline in activity that is especially noticeable between 1 and 3 years of age - this is due to maturation, not spaying.

But I want her to be a good guard dog

 Protecting your house and yard is a natural territorial instinct of any mature dog, male or female, altered or not. Guarding ability is not affected by spaying.

I have a great dog and want a puppy just like her. Besides, my friends all want puppies

 Unfortunately, many puppies do not resemble the mother in either appearance or temperament. Also remember there are already more puppies than homes available. Even if you do manage to find good homes for your pups, that simply means that some other puppies that may have found homes may need to be killed.

My dog will be better adjusted if she has a litter

 Going through the process of pregnancy and raising puppies will not alter your dog’s personality. Some dogs are calmer when they are raising the puppies but will revert to their prebreeding behavior as soon as the pups are weaned.

I can sell the puppies and make money

Producing good quality, healthy puppies is seldom profitable. You must account for the prebreeding examinations, including hip and elbow radiographs and certification in large breed dogs and brucellosis testing, possible pregnancy radiography or ultrasound, post whelping examination and possibly a “clean out” shot, deworming medication for the mother and puppies, examinations and vaccinations for the puppies, and increased feeding and housing costs. Complications are often quite costly and may include difficulty delivering the pups (potentially necessitating cesarean section), mastitis, hypocalcemia, retained placentas, hand-raising the puppies, and illness or death of the puppies or mother.

I want my children to experience “the miracle of birth”

 The process of birthing is sometimes not pleasant, especially when complications occur. Complications may include dead or deformed puppies, difficult delivery, rejection or maternal killing and eating of the puppies, and even death of the mother. Many dogs will wait until things are quiet until they deliver the puppies, so your children may miss the birthing process anyway. Children can benefit from observing the compassion and social responsibility you will demonstrate by having your dog spayed instead of breeding her.

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