There are many reasons for spaying a female dog or castrating a male dog other than preventing unwanted puppies. Neutered dogs tend to be healthier than fully intact dogs because they are not subjected to the hormone surges that can trigger some canine illnesses.

Removing organs that usually become diseased in your dog’s older years can also help prolong your dog’s life. This is the most proactive step. Neutering is a simple surgery with a very quick recovery period. Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, neutering a male will help mitigate certain problem behavior found in whole males, and it will help prevent certain medical conditions, too.

Benefits of spaying (females)

  • No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
  • Less desire to roam
  • Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
  • Reduces the number of unwanted cats / kittens / dogs / puppies
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Benefits of neutering (males)

  • Reduces or eliminates the risk of spraying and marking
  • Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
  • Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated and decreases the incidence of prostate disease
  • Reduces the number of unwanted cats / kittens / dogs / puppies
  • Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Myths and Facts

There are many myths about canine reproductive needs. Chiefly among these are the suspicions that neutering turns a male into a sissy and spaying causes a female to get fat and to lament her lost capacity.

The truth is that male dogs, especially those with a submissive personality, are usually better pets if they are neutered. They may have less desire to roam, to mark territory (including furniture), and, if neutered before sexual maturity, they may be less likely to exert dominance over family members.

They may also be healthier pets: no testicles means no testicular cancer.

Spaying or neutering your pet prevents the suffering and tragic death of thousands of animals. Half of the pets taken to American animal shelters get euthanized or killed. In fact, three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the U.S.–that’s roughly 10,000 per day–simply because there aren’t enough homes to adopt them.

Many healthy kittens and puppies are euthanized before reaching six months old. Yet some pet owners continue to allow their animals to breed. In fact, 34 percent of owned dogs and 15 percent of owned cats are still not spayed or neutered.

The most heart-wrenching result of our failure to spay and neuter is the fate of all the resulting unwanted animals. Only one in 10 animals born in the United States will get a good home that lasts a lifetime.

Of the remaining unwanted pets, those that get euthanized in a shelter are often the lucky ones; others get abandoned or otherwise killed or disposed of. Stray cats and dogs on the streets usually live miserable and short lives, ending only when they die from cold, starvation, disease, or worse.

But it’s not just the animals who suffer due to our failure to spay and neuter. Capturing, impounding and eventual euthanasia costs taxpayers and private agencies some $2 billion each year in the United States alone. Our society seems to have adopted a distressing view of animals as disposable “goods” that can be dealt with only via the inherently disrespectful solution of euthanasia. The failure to spay and neuter is costing us all.

Facts about Spaying and Neutering Cats and Dogs