What are the differences between neutering and spaying?


With the sterilization the sexuality of the dog remains intact, but with castration the animal cannot maintain sexual relations

  • Publication date: January 30, 2012

Animal owners are not always clear about the difference between spaying and neutering, however there are notable differences between the two options. Depending on the results you want to achieve, you will have to choose one option or another, depending on what the veterinarian recommends. In the case of sterilization, the sexual behavior of the animal is intact and with castration the absence of sexual activity is achieved.

If the option chosen is castration, the sexual glands are removed with surgical techniques. That is, the testicles in the case of males and ovaries in females. In this way, you get the sterility and the absence of sexual activity. However, with sterilization the fertility of the dog is avoided, but normalized sexual behavior is maintained.

The technique of castration It is more drastic and invasive than in the case of sterilization, but it also has its advantages such as: controlling the character in cases where there are concrete problems of living together (aggressiveness, escapes), as well as all the advantages associated with sterilization: prevention of diseases related to the uterus or breasts, in the case of females, and when it is a male, prevent diseases of prostate. It should be borne in mind that both spaying and neutering are suitable options to prevent procreation, and therefore unwanted litters.


Castration results in a reduction in the number of hormones and helps control problems in which reducing the amount of sex hormones has a direct impact on the conduct, as in the case of sexual behavior or certain types of aggression.

If the option chosen is castration, the sexual glands are removed with surgical techniques

However, castration has no therapeutic effect on problems such as hyperactivity, separation anxiety, emotional problems or those that are derived from incorrect education.

Behavior modification is much more noticeable in the case of males than in that of females. In the case of males, castration helps in the treatment of certain types of aggressiveness, that is to say it reduces combativity against other dogs and, according to Manuel Lázaro, veterinarian of the Mirasierra clinic in Madrid, "they are easier to educate, but they are just as affectionate, playful and have the same good character as before the operation" . On the contrary, in the case of females, castration is not effective in cases of aggressive control.

Weight gain

Castration involves certain hormonal changes that lead to a greater tendency to overweight, because the rhythm of metabolism decreases and increases the dog's appetite. However, with an adequate food strategy supervised by the veterinarian, it does not have to be a problem. There are solutions such as the contribution of less caloric foods and the increase in activity of the dog, to compensate for the weight gain.


As in the case of castration, sterilization has an important preventive nature with respect to certain diseases.

As in the case of castration, sterilization has a preventive nature with respect to certain diseases

With it you can reduce the risk of uterine infections, breast tumors, ovarian cysts and postpartum complications are avoided, as well as psychological pregnancies and character changes in the dog when she is in heat.

Sterilization consists of a surgical intervention, which is performed under anesthesia. Its purpose is to definitely avoid reproduction and zeal of the animal. But sexual activity remains intact.

In the case of males, worries are avoided in the time of heat: escapades, nervousness, aggressiveness, fights. And on the other hand, it helps prevent prostate problems effectively.

The recovery of the surgical intervention is rapid. In the case of males, convalescence lasts three days and in females, one week. Keep in mind that the intervention does not imply life risk of the dog and can be practiced at any age.

Sterilization does not involve contraindications or sequelae. Weight gain does not occur in all cases. If it happens, with a proper diet, you can correct the overweight.

The veterinarian is the one who can best report on the most appropriate option for each animal.

Bitches do not need to give birth once in a lifetime. Nothing happens if they have no offspring.

The decision to have a litter of puppies must be taken from the reflection. It is not easy to place several dogs with responsible families.

If the arrival of the puppies cannot be assumed, it is better not to have unwanted litters.

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Castrate or spay my dog ​​or cat? This is one of the most common questions that owners usually ask themselves when they seek to prevent their pets from having litters. Although procreation is avoided with both options, there are notable differences between neutering and spaying and, therefore, it is important that we have clear what these differences are. And of course, always go to a veterinary professional, since it will be the best person to tell you which option is the most suitable for your pet. Continue reading for more information!

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Main difference between neutering and spaying your pet

As we said, when we want avoid pregnancies in our pets, (in addition to other multiple advantages for your health that we will discuss later) we talk interchangeably about neutering or spaying.

However, the procedure is different.

For the dog castration wave feline castration an operation is performed in which Your testicles are removed to the male and ovaries or ovaries and uterus to the female

For its part, at sterilize to a male, proceed to section the seminiferous ducts, that is, those that connect the testicles and the penis, while sterilization in a female consists of ligate your fallopian tubes.

Therefore, the main differencebetween neutering and spaying What we found is that castration is a more invasive surgical intervention Than sterilization.

Other differences between spaying and neutering

From the first difference the second one is extracted and, obviously, recovery periods will not be the same in one case than in another.

What you should know is that both in sterilization and in castration, females can take up to double that of males in recovering.

In the case of dogs, for example, sterilized males they are usually fine at 3 days, while the females may take 5 or 6

For its part, a neutered dog can be perfectly fine a week of the operation while a female dog it will take up 2 weeks.

In both cases and whatever the animal, your pet you must receive all the care that the veterinarian indicates for his speedy recovery. Including the pampering you deserve!

Advantages of neutering and spaying your pet

Regardless of the decision you make (you can always consult with a professional if you have doubts about neutering or spaying), you must recognize that both interventions They bring many benefits to your pet.

One of the main advantages is that reduces the chances of some diseases related to the reproductive organs, such as prostate cancer in them and breast or uterine cancer in females.

On the other hand, with these interventions birth of unwanted litters is prevented and, therefore, a possible case of animal abandonment.

Remember that Your pet is your responsibility!

Castrate a dog

The castration of a dog requires surgery and should be practiced by a veterinarian. This technique involves the removal of the dog's testicles, leaving the scrotal bag. Is irreversible.

  • It inhibits the male from sexual desire and avoids the associated conflicts.
  • It decreases the possible dominance of the dog when the production of testosterone ceases.
  • Decrease the probability>

Castrate a bitch

Castration of a dog is a delicate surgery that can only be performed by a veterinarian. They exist in females two modes of castration. The first one is called ovariectomy and consists of extracting both ovaries from the dog. The second is called ovariohysterectomy, and it involves removing the ovaries and the uterus.

  • When no hormones are produced, the females' zeal disappears.
  • Prevents breast cancer and tumors in the reproductive organs.
  • Knead the character.

What is castration?

In the male it is based on the surgical removal or removal of the testicles (orchiectomy). The procedure involves general anesthesia. An incision is made just in front of the scrotal sac and both testicles are removed, leaving the sac intact.

Sterilize a dog

The sterilization It is a surgical modality less invasive That castration. However, only veterinarians can practice it. Consists in section the ductsseminifers (These are the conduits that connect the testicles with the penis).

  • It is less invasive than castration.
  • Recovery is faster>

Advantages of castration

This procedure inhibits the sexual impulse of the dog and prevents conflicts associated with the influence of male hormones, so it is easier to socialize with other pets. In this sense, it reduces or eliminates some forms of aggression, especially those influenced by male hormones.

Too eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and greatly reduces prostate disease, two extremely common and serious problems in older male dogs.

In the female it is a delicate surgery and there are two ways to do it. The first is called ovariectomy and involves removing both ovaries from the dog through a small incision in the abdominal wall. The second is called ovariohysterectomy, and removes both the ovaries and the uterus.

The castration of the bitches stops the production of hormones, prevents breast cancer and tumors in the reproductive organs.

Sterilize a bitch

The sterilization of a bitch consists of the fallopian tube ligation (the ovioducts).

  • Less invasive surgery
  • Faster recovery>

Advantages of sterilization

The recovery of the dog is faster than with castration. This method decreases the chances of the dog suffering from diseases in the prostate. But nevertheless, hormone production and the dog's sex drive does not stop, so your behavior with other pets will not change.

In the female sterilization of a dog involves ligation of the fallopian tubes, that is, the ovarian ducts.

It is a less invasive surgery than castration and your recovery is faster. It decreases the possibility of diseases of the uterus, ovaries and breast tumors. In addition, the dog will continue with her heat cycles and her behavior will not soften.

Recovery periods

Because they are very different procedures, The recovery periods are also different between both surgeries.

In castration, males they recover completely in a week and females in up to two weeks.

In the sterilization the males they usually recover in two or three days. Females for up to five days.

What method to choose?

To decide between neutering and spaying your pet, it is important to evaluate the dog's original behavior. If you tend to be dominant, aggressive, or run away when you're in heat, castration could be the best option. If your dog is normally calm, then choose the mildest method, opt for sterilization.


Now that you have discovered the differences between neutering and spaying a dog, choose correctly. To decide between castration and sterilization It is important to value the original character of the dog or dog, the importance we give to the attempt to avoid unwanted litters and the prevention of some health problems offered by castration. Consult the specialist which is the best option for your dog if you have doubts.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Differences between neutering and spaying a dog, we recommend that you enter our Prevention section.

Post operative care

Many pet owners are not prepared for their dog's postoperative symptoms. Here, we will show you the care and what is normal after sterilization surgery in dogs.

Once the surgical procedures are completed, and the complete recovery of anesthesia, the dogs are discharged from the veterinary clinic The same day of surgery.

Postoperative symptoms

Your pet may be stunned upon arriving home. As usual, your pet will need between 18 and 24 hours to recover of general anesthesia. Most animals will return to normal when anesthesia leaves their system completely.

After surgery, dogs will require a lot of rest. Your pet will sleep much more than normal. You can also be a little agitated or aggressive due to the side effects of anesthesia and pain.

Thus, avoid manipulating it too much, since he can try to bite you. Keep it isolated from children and other pets.

Your pet will have little balance when walking, this will make climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car, more difficult than normal, so be prepared to help. Help your dog get in and out of the car, since sudden movements can damage your stitches or cause internal bleeding.

Lift the dog very carefully, avoiding stretching the skin at the stitches and abdominal muscles, wrap it with your arms around the dog's chest and the hind legs.

If your dog was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep it away from un castrated males for at least two weeks. While she cannot get pregnant, she will still attract the intact males for a short period of time.

We recommend that you keep your pet limited in a small room without furniture, in the first days after surgery.

Place the following items in your pet's recovery room:

  • Bowl of water.
  • Food bowl
  • Dog bed

The bed should be covered, because Dogs are very likely to vomit after surgery Due to the effects of anesthesia, in addition, many dogs urinate while they sleep. Your pet may sleep deeply due to the side effects of anesthesia, and may experience incontinence during sleep, especially if he received intravenous fluids during the procedure.

In case your dog is not sleepy after surgery, you will have the unpleasant task of keeping it idle and calm. It may be necessary to enter boxes, if your dog tries to jump and play.

Spaying and neutering they are very safe surgeriesHowever, complications may occur. Once a day and for a week, look at the area of ​​the incision. Check for excessive redness or swelling, discharge or pus, blood, bad smell or if the incision site is open. All these symptoms could indicate the beginning of an infection.

Do not attempt to clean or apply any topical ointment at the site of the incision, unless prescribed by the veterinarian. As a rule, the incision should improve as the days go by, as well as your pet's energy level.

Do not let your pet try to lick or bite the incision. We recommend that you use during the recovery period, a cone-shaped collar, also known as Elizabethan necklace or an inflatable one, which are smaller and convenient for your pet.

In many cases, anesthesia causes animals to experience nausea, so your pet may not want to eat when he gets home after surgery.

You will need to re-enter the food slowly, if vomiting occurs, wait until the next day to give you more food. Provide your dog with the normal amount of food and water The day after surgery.

Your pet's appetite should return gradually within 24 hours after surgery. Do not change the diet at that timeDo not give him inadequate food.