What is the difference between a dog spay and neuter?

Good question, Erin. Neutering is typically the word we use for male dogs and involves castrations: removing the testicles. Spaying is typically the term we use for doing a similar thing, only for the girls. We go inside and remove the ovaries and uterus.

Dr. Melinda Striyle
43rd Avenue Animal Hospital

How does dog spaying or neutering impact the health and wellbeing of my pet?

Good question. Spayed or neutered dogs tend to live longer lives than their intact brethren. Spayed and neutered dogs also tend to have fewer health conditions than intact dogs.

How soon should I bring my pet in to see a veterinarian to get my dog spayed or neutered?

It's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you adopt your new furry friend. Make that appointment, and meet your veterinarian and the veterinarian team. Then you can have that discussion about how old your pet is and what vaccines your pet potentially still needs in order for them to start out life on the right track. The moment you adopt that baby is a good time to establish a relationship with a veterinarian.

What are some possible conditions that can be helped by spaying or neutering my dog?

Spaying and neutering help prevent many unwanted issues in dogs and cats. Something as simple as neutering male dogs makes them less apt to want to roam around the neighborhood and, in some instances, less apt to want to pick fights with some neighbor dogs. Although, neutering a dog doesn't guarantee they're not going to be a little bit assertive. Also, neutered male dogs have a much lower incidence of prostate problems, including prostatitis and scary things like prostate cancer. Neutered male dogs also cannot develop testicular cancer as well. When spaying female dogs, we see a lower incidence of breast cancer or mammary cancer. Dogs that are spayed before their first heat cycle have a dramatically reduced chance of developing mammary cancer or breast cancer. With each subsequent heat cycle that a female dog has, its chances of developing breast cancer tend to increase. Spayed dogs no longer have a uterus, meaning they can no longer develop a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra.

What will my veterinarian need to know about my dog before spaying or neutering it?

Your veterinarian is going to want to know your pet's vaccine history. We want our pets to be up to date on vaccines. Your veterinarian is also going to want to know if there are any known underlying health conditions that your pet might be experiencing. Has your pet been feeling ill in any way or experienced any things such as coughing, having any appetite challenges, tummy troubles, or anything like that?

How long will it take for my dog to recover from being spayed or neutered?

Not very long. Most dogs are a little bit quiet the day they go home from their surgery. They tend to want to rest, partly from being under anesthesia and a lot of the medications that are used to help keep them comfortable while in the hospital. Usually, by the next day, they're feeling a little bit better. Often, these guys are feeling good enough that they want to do more than they should before they're completely healed from surgery, so we have to actively restrict our dog's activity level for several days post-operative so that they don't overdo it and potentially disrupt their decision.

What care should I be prepared to provide at home while my dog is recovering from their spay or neuter surgery?

Your pet's going to need a nice, comfortable place to rest and preferably a quiet place that is out of the way so that other pets in the household are not going to be inclined to bother them for a few days. The same goes for other family members. Small children get really excited when their furry friends come back home, and sometimes we need to have extra conversations with our kids that we need to let our friends rest for a few days until they're fully recovered.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (602) 843-5452, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Support The Fight Against Animal Overpopulation

Every year, thousands of stray and unwanted animals are euthanized in shelters across the United States. Many of these deaths are the avoidable result of owners failing to spay and neuter their pets. These unexpected offspring often fill shelters and are never given chances at happy, loving lives.


Spaying is a common surgical procedure performed on female cats and dogs. The process, called an ovariohysterectomy, involves removing the patient’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, rendering the animal incapable of reproduction. 43rd Avenue Animal Hospital veterinarians recommend spaying your pet when they are three to six months old, depending on the breed. Ideally, your pet would be spayed before their first heat.


This procedure has many notable benefits including:

  • Preventing unwanted pregnancies
  • Eliminating the risk of ovarian and uterine tumors
  • Removing the possibility of uterine infections


Neutering is performed on male cats and dogs. This process castrates the animal, removing their testicles and making them unable to impregnate females. Neutering is advised when your pet is four to six months old but can be performed on older animals as well.


Neutering generates many important health benefits:

  • Prevents unwanted reproduction
  • Placates the animal, reducing aggressive behavior and decreasing dominant tendencies
  • Reduces roaming and spraying (territory marking)
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular and prostate tumors