Pro and Cons of Spaying Your Pet
Find out the benefits and disadvantages of spaying your dearest furkid!
Benefits of Spaying Your Pet
1. Spaying prevents the nuisance during heat periods
Heat periods can be messy and embarrassing. Your dog’s genitals swell. She will have a bloody discharge, which can stain your carpets and furniture. She may spend a lot of time licking her private parts. She may flirt with other dogs (male or female), presenting her rump and encouraging other dogs to mount her. She may mount other dogs herself or hump pillows or stuffed toys.
Heat periods require vigilance and confinement. A female in heat can be smelled from a long distance away and fences mean nothing to a lust-crazed male. You shouldn’t leave her alone in the yard for a single minute. Indeed, you may have to stop walking her completely.
Heat periods can upset your own plans. Vacations and trips may have to wait. Friends and relatives won’t appreciate a visit when your dog is bleeding or will leave tempting scents in their yard. And leaving a unspayed female with a pet sitter or boarding kennel is risky.
2. Spaying prevents deadly infections of the uterus
Nearly 1 in 4 intact females develop an infection called pyometra.Under such conditions the uterus swells with toxic pus and the only cure is an emergency spay. The surgery is dangerous when a middle-aged or elderly dog is already sick from the infection.
3. Spaying prevents false pregnancy
A few weeks after a heat period, some intact females act as though they’re going to have pups. Their nipples produce milk and they become obsessed with stuffed toys as puppy substitutes. It sounds harmless, even amusing. But the hormonal changes associated with a false pregnancy can throw your dog’s metabolism out of whack, causing health problems.
4. Spaying prevents real pregnancy
Your dog can die trying to give birth, or shortly after birth from infections. Your beloved dog was happy and healthy, and then suddenly she’s gone, just because you wanted puppies.
Disadvantages of Spaying your Pet
1. Spaying doubles the risk of obesity.
Extra weight leads to debilitating joint disease, arthritis, heart disease, pancreatitis, and diabetes.
Spayed dogs become overweight when owners feed the same amount of food as before their dog was spayed. Spaying, you see, changes a dog’s hormonal make-up and metabolism so she doesn’t require as much food.
2. Spaying increases the risk of deadly cancer
Apparently the reproductive hormones offer some protection against this cancer, because spayed females are twice as likely to develop hemangiosarcoma of the spleen and five times as likely to develop hemangiosarcoma of the heart, compared to unspayed females.
3. Spaying triples the risk of hypothyroidism
The loss of reproductive hormones appears to upset the endocrine system. This can result in low thyroid levels, which causes weight gain and lethargy. Fortunately it can be treated with a daily thyroid supplement for the rest of your dog’s life.
4. Spaying requires general anesthesia
Studies shows that about 20% of spay procedures have at least one complication, such as a bad reaction to the anesthesia, infection, abscess, etc. But most of these complications are minor. Less than 5% are serious, and the death rate is less than 1%.
Updated: September 21, 2017.