Spay Aware Ireland - Dogs


Sharon Ni Bheoláin

Facts For Dogs

Female Dogs

It is nearly always best to spay a small bitch before her first season. This eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy, dystocia and the physiological and behavioural changes associated with the six-monthly reproductive cycle. It also dramatically reduces the risk of mammary cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra, which occurs in 23% of intact females and kills approximately 1% of intact females. The risk of a non-neutered female dog developing mammary tumours during her life drops from 70% to 0.5% if neutered before her first heat. Mammary tumours are the most common malignant tumours in female dogs - neutering before 2˝ years of age greatly reduces the likelihood of this cancer. Osteosarcoma is very rare in small-medium breed dogs.

Early neutering also confers health benefits to large breed and giant breed females such as reducing or eliminating the risk of mammary tumours, unwanted pregnancy or pyometra. However, there is no evidence to suggest that allowing a bitch to have a litter of pups confers any health benefits.

Male Dogs

Castration eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among male dogs.

Castration dramatically reduces the incidence of other non-cancerous conditions of the mature prostate (e.g. benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis/prostatic abscesses, prostatic cysts and paraprostatic cysts). Prostatic hyperplasia starts at 1-2 years of age with 95% of dogs affected by 9 years of age.

It may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes.

Castration can reduce aggression and dominance in male dogs and sibling rivalry, minimises territorial marking with urine, lessens the likelihood of roaming/straying, and dry humping cushions, owners’ legs etc.