Spaying and neutering the dog: what are the alternatives?

Narrated from: Dog Health

Spaying and neutering are important procedures. The dog population is growing more and more rapidly and this is largely due to uncontrolled breeding. Many dog owners oppose homeless dog euthanasia - yet, the increased dog population is largely due to pets left without supervision.

Spaying and neutering are cruel procedures – but they are necessary, since each unwanted puppy is a dead puppy walking. There are health risks associated with the operation though – so one could examine the alternatives.


If you possess a female dog, you could keep her indoors when she is in heat. A normal female dog should have her first cycle when she is about six months old. You should be on the watch for vaginal bleeding as the main symptom – it is not comparable to a human cycle though, so we are speaking of just a little blood; it is quite hard to notice with small dogs. An average heat cycle lasts about three weeks, and happens twice a year. So, your dog would be in heat every six or eight months. In this period, you must keep her indoors and prevent her from any contact with other animals! This might be hard, since dogs in heat tend to get rather tricksy.

Unfortunately, if you are the proud owner of a male dog, you have to be far more vigilant. Males are ready to breed 24/7, 365 days a year (366 in a leap year). So, you have to keep your dog under control all the time!

Chemical alternatives

There are different kinds of contraceptives designed for dogs. For females, most commonly Megestrol Acetate and Mibolerone are used. They stop the heat cycle. Both contraceptives have a lot of side effects though and pose a risk to your pet’s health.
For males there are different chemical alternatives that prevent breeding. Most of them reduce the testosterone production – like the GnRH analogues.

There are also different kinds of chemical castration – this means that your male dog would be unable to breed, but he will still produce testosterone. During the procedure a chemical agent is injected into your dog’s testicles. You should know that this procedure is highly painful – in brief, your dog’s balls would hurt like hell for several weeks!

Alternative procedures

Vasectomy is a more complicated surgical procedure, but the result is that your dog would still have the ability to copulate with female dogs, but he would not be able to produce offspring. You should be aware though that three weeks have to pass after the procedure before you let your dog roam free. The dog would still produce testosterone though, so no behavior problems would be solved.

With females, a similar alternative is hysterectomy (tubal ligation). Your dog would still be able to mate, but cannot get pregnant!

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