If you have a new dog that you don’t plan on breeding, you may have been advised by your vet to have the dog spayed. But does a dog change after being spayed?
A dog’s personality won’t inherently change after being spayed, but her temperament and behavior will typically become more level and consistent. Hormones in an unspayed dog may lead to protective or aggressive behaviors.
Regardless of whether you’ve had pets for years or if you’re a new owner looking into getting one soon, knowing about these changes should help you along your way. Let’s look at what behavioral changes you can expect to see in your pet after she is spayed.
What Behaviors Does Spaying a Dog Change?
All of the changes we’re going over today are physical and behavioral. They don’t change who your dog is, but they do happen due to being fixed.
Spaying reduces or eliminates reproductive behaviors like calling, roaming, and aggression towards other animals. It can also minimize guarding behaviors exhibited toward other animals and humans.
Spayed dogs typically tend to gain weight after being fixed because they aren’t burning as many calories due to the hormonal changes that occur with their ovaries. However, this is remedied with proper diet and exercise after your dog is spayed.
Spaying Can Reduce Aggression Toward People
Having your dog spayed at an early age can help reduce your dog’s aggression. The hormones that are present in her reproductive system can contribute to aggressive behavior, which is why spaying at an early age helps prevent this type of behavior from forming later on.
While this isn’t a guarantee, it can be a great way to help prevent potentially aggressive behavior in the future. Aggression in female dogs is often related to the heat cycle and reproductive hormones.
Spaying Can Prevent Guarding Behaviors Toward Other Animals
While spaying your dog isn’t guaranteed to prevent guarding behaviors, it can help. Most dogs that exhibit aggressive behavior are protecting their territory and will often become defensive over items like food or toys.
If the motivation behind this type of guarding is hormonal (which it often is), then spaying at an early age could prevent this type of aggression from developing later on.
It’s important to note that every case is different, so if any issues do arise after getting your dog fixed, contact a qualified professional right away for assistance with changing these types of behaviors.
While dogs are more mellow after being spayed, they don’t change completely or instantly! It may take some time for the hormones in their body to readjust and therefore calm them down. If you’re really worried about how this will impact your dog’s behavior, talk with your vet beforehand so that you know what to expect.
What Should I Expect After Spaying My Dog?
After spaying your dog, you should expect her to become calmer and more lethargic than before surgery. Your pet will also have decreased levels of activity, but will slowly regain her energy as she heals.
After your dog has been spayed, don’t expect immediate changes in your pet’s behavior. It takes a few months for the hormones to change and have an effect on how she acts. Be patient with your dog as her hormones change.
You may notice that your dog is less active, comes to you for attention more often, and is much calmer. This can be ideal for previously hyperactive dogs.
If your dog shows signs of aggression after being spayed, you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Underlying health problems can cause this behavior, or it could be a sign of lingering pain from the surgery.
Things To Consider Before Spaying Your Dog
Spaying is not recommended until a pet has reached at least two pounds in weight and four months of age. By this time, your pet’s hormones will be developed enough that you can make an informed decision on what’s best for her health.
There are several things to consider before deciding if you’ll spay your dog, including:
- The appropriate age to have her spayed.
- Any breed-related risks, such as certain hormones.
- Understanding how spaying will affect her adult behaviors and body functions. For example, if your female dog tends to get bad urinary tract infections when she goes into heat, your vet may recommend getting her spayed.
While spaying or neutering your pet does come with some health risks – such as infections at the incision sites, post-surgical bleeding, etc., it also has its benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of certain types of cancers
- Minimized chance that your pet will develop certain diseases, like diabetes or hypothyroidism
- Improved overall temperament
Surgical Recovery After Spaying Dogs
After dogs have been spayed, they need constant care for about two weeks until they can go back outside and exercise or play as normal.
After your pet is spayed, she may feel tired for a few days as her body recovers from stress. Also common are mild swelling where the incision was made, and bleeding that starts within 24 hours of surgery but then tapers off after two to three days.
You may notice bruising around the entire site and slight diarrhea if anesthesia was used during the procedure (but the stool should return back to normal in about 12-24 hours).
You should immediately take your pet to a veterinarian if any other problems occur, including:
- Acting abnormally lethargic
- Severe pain at one side of the abdomen
A female dog’s hormones may lead to more protective behavior, which is a common problem for dog owners. Spaying is an important surgery that prevents some health risks in your pet and allows her to stay healthier while improving their temperament.
Spaying your dog will not change her personality, but it may make her calmer. Hormones in an unspayed dog can lead to protective behavior and other changes that you don’t want for your pup. Knowing the benefits of spaying is essential before making this decision for your furry friend!
And as always, Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.