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Published: Mar 13, 2012

Pet owners are often advised to neuter their pets, but many may not realize all the benefits of the procedure. Neutering is the procedure of removing a pet’s reproductive organs.  Ovariohysterectomy (also called spaying) is done for female dogs, while castration is the procedure for males. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends that all pets are neutered as the procedure provides tangible benefits with few disadvantages.

Spaying a female dog comes with several advantages. The procedure eliminates the possibility of ovarian or uterine cancer in the animal, while significantly reducing the rate of breast cancer if done before a dog’s first heat.  Spayed female dogs will not experience potentially life threatening uterine infections or "heat," which can cause them to become restless and may prompt them to try and escape in order to find a partner.

The benefits are similar for castrating male dogs. It eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, which is a relatively common type of cancer in dogs. The procedure will also curb certain types of aggression and eliminate sexual urges, which tends to cause dogs to roam away from home looking for a mate.

Many of the disadvantages commonly associated with neutering are in fact myths. Neutering does not automatically mean a pet is going to become obese and lazy. Neutered pets do require less calories and pet owners must feed them less in order to prevent weight gain.