To spay or not to spay — is it really even a question?

My dog Sally had an unplanned litter of puppies. At the time, she was a stray and just a pup herself – her veterinarian estimates she gave birth just before she turned one year old.

One day, someone saw Sally alone on the side of the road and brought her into the local shelter. We don’t know for certain what became of her puppies, but it’s safe to assume they probably experienced the same hardships that Sally did – either living on the streets, unwanted, or ending up in a shelter.

This all happened before I adopted Sally. While her story, fortunately, has a happy ending, the fact remains that my dog epitomizes the problem of animal overpopulation. Sally is both a product and perpetuator of this tragedy. It’s for this reason and others that I advocate the spaying or neutering of pets.

In addition to proactively reducing animal homelessness, there are also a multitude of health and behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering your pet:



The reproductive drive of unaltered animals often causes them to leave home in search of a mate. This puts them at high risk of getting lost, injured or killed on streets and roadways.

Hormone-driven behavior

Hormonal changes associated with reproductive drive can affect an animal’s temperament. For example, there are noted behavioral changes in female dogs when they look after their pups.


Fatal infection

Pyometra is a common, potentially fatal bacterial infection of a female dog’s uterus. Approximately 25% of all unsprayed females will suffer from pyometra before the age of 10.

Cancer and complications in reproductive organs

Spaying or neutering your pet involves the removal of key reproductive organs. In doing so, you can help protect your pet against illnesses like testicular cancer, mammary cancer, enlarged prostate gland and uterine cancer.

Either way you look at it, spaying or neutering your pet is a victory for animals in general – whether it’s protecting the health and wellness of your own pet or preventing future animals from experiencing the heartache and hardship of homelessness. Thus, to alter your pet is to choose to be part of a proactive solution that saves lives, and not perpetuate a problem. In that regard, whether or not you should do it is really not even a question at all.

– Christina is a proud dog mommy to Sally and passionate about pit bull advocacy and animal welfare.