Spaying is the common name of a surgical procedure that consists of the removal of the ovaries and the uterus of a female pet. On the other hand, neutering refers to the surgical removal of the male testicles.
In general, spaying or neutering your dog has several advantages for your dog, your family and your community. Unless you are planning on breeding your Chihuahua you should consider the surgery.
Unlike what is popularly believed, spaying or neutering your dog will not make your dog obese but could predispose them to weight gain. You should make sure that your Chihuahua is receiving an adequate diet and that he or she is doing enough physical activity as small breed dogs can easily become overweight.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Chihuahua
Save money. If you spay or neuter your dog you can save money on your veterinary bills because it reduces the risk of many diseases. You will also save the money needed to take care of a litter.
Prevent pet overpopulation. Each year millions of stray dogs are euthanized or die on the streets. There are homeless animals in every community and in every state.
In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted while the other half is tragically euthanized (The Humane Society of the United States).
Unless you plan on taking care of a litter or those beautiful Chihuahuas, spaying or neutering your small friend is the best option.
Prolong Your Chihuahua’s Life
Neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-altered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. (The Humane Society of the United States). Spaying and neutering reduces the risk of various diseases, including uterine infections, and mammary gland cancer, and eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, the risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and it decreases the incidence of prostatic disease. Spaying your Chihuahua before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
Your Chihuahua will behave better. When you spay your dog you will avoid heat cycles that can attract males to the house and cause trouble around the neighborhood. Your neutered Chihuahua will have less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents.
Potential Risks of Early Spaying or Neutering
A study made at the University of California Davis in 2013 showed that the risk of development of hip dysplasia doubles in dogs neutered or spayed before the age of 12 months. In addition, dogs that were neutered or spayed before sexual maturity were more likely to develop a disease called cranial cruciate ligament injury and a type of cancer called lymphoma (Torres de la Riva, 2013). Early neutering or spaying may also be related to an increased incidence of other types of cancers. The good news is that most of these orthopedic problems are more likely to occur in large breed dogs and are not commonly experienced in Chihuahuas. The recommended age of neutering small breed dogs is typically between 6 months to a year of age, as they enter sexual maturity earlier than large breed dogs.
Personally, I plan on waiting a few years before I neuter Ziggy. There is no chance of him getting anyone pregnant, he’s not aggressive, doesn’t mark and his vet feels it’s best to wait a little while.
But he will eventually be neutered.
Spaying or neutering your Chihuahua has many potential health benefits for your pet and it can reduce the costs of medical care. It also has various benefits for the community. Even though there are some potential health risks associated with early spaying or neutering, the scientific evidence against early spaying is not solid so you should discuss these risks with your veterinarian. Overall the benefits of spaying and neutering outweigh the risks.
If you want to see what can happen if you don’t spay your dog, check out this post (warning: it’s graphic) https://ilovemychi.com/another-reason-to-spay-your-dog/
ASPCA. Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/top-10-reasons-spay-or-neuter-your-pet
Torres de la Riva, G., Hart, L.B., Farver, T.B., Oberbauer, A.B., et. al. (2013). Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055937
The Humane Society of the United States. Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/why_spay_neuter.html
You may also want to read these posts:
Paula Simons, DVM
This post has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. Find out more about Dr. Simons on our About page.