Dogs that are spayed or neutered enjoy a number of health benefits that generally extend their lives. “Fixing” a dog involves surgically altering its reproductive capabilities, ideally just before it reaches sexual maturity. For a male dog, this involves surgical castration, and for a female dog, this entails removing internal reproductive organs. A vet performs the surgery on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia; recovery time is general just a few days.
Reduction in Disease
Fixed dogs are often at lower risk for diseases related to reproductive functions. Neutered male dogs have a significantly lower risk of prostatic disease and hernias, and have no chance of testicular cancer. Spayed female dogs have significantly reduced risk of breast cancer and of pyometra, a serious uterine disease. Fixed females have zero chance of medical problems from pregnancy, since pregnancy becomes impossible after spaying.
Reduction in Accidents
Unaltered dogs, particularly males, are prone to roam when they reach sexual maturity, leading them away from the safety of the home and increasing the odds they will be injured by a human, a vehicle, wild animals or other dogs, not to mention increasing the chance of picking up a communicable disease or ingesting something toxic. In reducing the sex drive, neutering a male dog can help prolong his life simply by keeping him at home and out of harm’s way.
Reduction in Fights
Both male and female dogs can be injured during unsupervised mating, particularly if several male dogs are vying for one unaltered female in heat. Dogs can suffer injuries in fights, or develop infections from them, that have the potential to shorten their life. Additionally, dogs who are not fixed are more prone to behavioral and training problems, some severe enough that pet owners turn them over to shelters -- which can also impact a dog’s length and quality of life.
In addition to health benefits, a host of reasons exist to spay or neuter your dog. Fixed animals are less likely to mark their territories, are less aggressive and are easier to train. Spaying and neutering reduces the population of unwanted animals, many of which are euthanized when permanent homes for them cannot be found.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.