What Is The Difference Between Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying a dog refers to the removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs, while neutering refers to the procedure that’s done for males.

When a female dog is spayed, our veterinarians removes her ovaries and usually her uterus as well. Spaying renders a female dog or cat no longer able to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle. Typically, behaviour related to breeding instincts will cease, as per the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This, however, is not always true for every dog. In medical terminology, this procedure is also known as an ovariohysterectomy (meaning where both uterus and ovaries are removed).

When neutering a dog, both testicles and their associated structures are removed. This procedure is also known as castration. Neutering renders a male dog or cat unable to reproduce, and similarly to females, any behaviour related to breeding instincts, like humping, usually ceases. Again, occasionally neutering does not take away these behaviours. The outcome of behavioural changes may depend on the age of the animal and other factors. 

When Should You Spay Or Neuter?

Short Answer: the traditional age for spaying or neutering is between 4-6 months.

Long Answer:

Each individual owner should discuss their specific circumstances with one of our veterinarians. Several factors can influence the timing of spaying and neutering.
For example, breed can make a big difference. Research has shown that larger dogs tend to mature a little later than their smaller counterparts, so they may be recommended to spay or neuter at a later age.

An animal’s living situation may also be a consideration. For example, if a male and a female from the same litter are adopted into the same household, the pair should be spayed and neutered earlier – specifically before the female goes into heat. 

Our general practice is to spay females before their first heat. The timing varies, but will usually occur somewhere between 5-10 months of age. Spaying before the first heat greatly reduces the risk of your pet developing mammary tumours and cancers. 

In males dogs, adult size is an important factor. Small and medium male dogs are generally neutered earlier – around 6 months of age – while it may be recommended waiting until a giant breed puppy is around 10-12 months before neutering. 

It all cases, it is very important to bring your pets in for a pre-spay/neuter examination to ensure there are no underlying health issues that may cause problems in the operating room. 


Why Spay Or Neuter?

Animal shelters around the country are filled with abandoned animals. Spaying and neutering reduces the number of unwanted litters, which, in turn helps reduce the number of unwanted pets or stay animals that enter shelters or rescues.

These procedures also have specific health benefits that can help your pets live a healthier, longer life. Done at the correct time, can also help reduce unwanted behavioural issues. 

Spaying your pets can help prevent serious health problems, including mammary cancer and pyometra, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection.

Neutering males helps prevent development of testicular cancer, and neutered males are typically less aggressive and less likely to stray from home. 

At Central City Animal Hospital, we believe the pros pf spaying and neutering greatly outweighs the cons.

Book an appointment with one of our veterinarians today to see what the best course of action for you and your pets!