Become a Contributor

Dog Behavior After Spaying

Dog Behavior After Spaying

Spaying refers to the removal of ovaries and the uterus of a female animal. This write-up provides information on the behavioral changes in dogs after spaying.
Smita Pandit
Spaying or neutering is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the reproductive organs of an animal. While the term 'spaying' is used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal, the term 'neutering' refers to the castration of a male animal. Thus, this procedure makes them incapable of reproducing. This procedure can be used to control the sexual urges and hyperactivity in dogs. Male dogs become sexually mature between the age of 6 and 12 months, whereas sexual maturity in females occurs in the age of 6-9 months. If not neutered, unwanted pregnancies can lead to an increase in the population of dogs. Often dog owners think about this procedure as a means for curbing aggressive behavior when in heat.


It is believed that the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus has a positive effect on the temperament of the female dogs, and also lowers their chances of contracting certain infections. Most dog owners believe that the hormone-related mood swings and aggressive sexual behavior disappears after the removal of the reproductive organs. It is believed that female dogs that are spayed before their first heat cycle are less likely to develop mammary cancer. Due to the removal of uterus, such female dogs cannot develop pyometra, which is a grave infection in the uterus that could sometimes even lead to death.

Changes in Dog Behavior after this Surgery

Neutering or spaying will make your dog more docile. The dogs that have not undergone this procedure are very difficult to control when they are in heat. Male dogs that have undergone this procedure show a decline in dominance tendencies and aggression due to the decreased testosterone levels. A neutered dog is less likely to get into fights or wander around looking for females. Such dogs are less likely to bark excessively and will not spray and mark territory.

The heat cycle of female dogs lasts for about 6-12 days, twice a year. Female dogs in heat have hormone-induced mood swings and display sexual behavior. However, their heat cycle gets eliminated after this procedure. The female will no longer have the urge to wander in search of a mate. This eliminates the chances of unwanted pregnancies. The owners wouldn't have to worry about those unwanted male dogs she would attract otherwise.

Since this surgery is more invasive, you must take proper care of your pet. Your dog will need at least 24 hours to recover from this surgery. Make sure that she gets proper rest. She will be somewhat disoriented due to the influence of anesthesia, which is why, you must keep her isolated from other pets. Make sure that you ask the veterinarian about all the precautions that need to be taken.

She should get ample rest. Minimize her physical activity after the surgery during the recovery, since the abdominal muscles need some time to heal. Take your dog for short walks only, as exertion or heavy physical activity could lead to complications. Monitor the incisions and follow the aftercare instructions given by the veterinarian. After a week or so, take your dog to the veterinarian to check if she has recovered completely or not.

The removal of the uterus and the ovaries certainly reduces the chances of several illnesses and curbs the problem of aggression in dogs to some extent. If you don't want your pet to conceive, spaying your dog before her first heat cycle would certainly help in tackling behavioral problems or hormonally-driven guarding behavior. However, don't consider this procedure as a quick fix for behavior problems. There's a study that suggests that estrogen and oxytocin may have calming effects, and in some cases, dogs might become aggressive after this procedure.

In general, it is believed that the removal of the reproductive organs can reduce the hormone-driven behavior that dogs display when in heat. However, owners must not expect that dog will never display aggressive behavior after this procedure. The behavior that your dog displays is largely dependent on her personality. Therefore, owners must not expect an aggressive dog to become docile. Teach her basic obedience skills or seek the services of a certified professional dog trainer for tackling the issue of aggressive behavior.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.