Can A Spayed Female Dog Still Attract Males?

Can A Spayed Female Dog Still Attract Males? Photo of a spayed female dog licking the face of a male dog.

You’ve gotten your female dog spayed, but you still notice male dogs following her around. What does it mean? Can a spayed female dog still attract males? Here’s what you need to know.

Yes, a spayed dog can attract male dogs, though rare. This happens when the spay surgery leaves behind a small amount of ovarian tissue. Over time, this can still send out hormones that will send your dog into heat, attracting male dogs directly.

The continued male attraction could also be due to a medical condition in your female dog or a male mistaking her for another dog who is in heat. Lastly, this behavior could be your male dog trying to assert himself as dominant over your female dog!

Why is my spayed female dog still attracting males?

It’s strange to see a spayed dog getting so much attention from a male dog, especially if they both show interest in her and try to mount her. Worried and frustrated? As introduced, the most common reasons for this attraction to your spayed dog include:

  • There is leftover tissue
  • There is an underlying health condition
  • The male dog is seeking out another dog in heat
  • The male dog is trying to assert dominance

There is leftover tissue

Sometimes a surgeon will unintentionally leave behind small bits of ovarian tissue. This means that those tissue particles will still be secreting the reproductive hormones that usually are stopped with the spay surgery. This will attract male dogs just as it would if she were still intact.

It’s worth noting that your spayed dog will not be able to get pregnant since her reproductive organs are removed. So, you won’t need to book her in for another spay surgery!

There is an underlying health condition

Whether it’s a urinary tract infection (UTI), some sort of injury to her vulva or something else entirely, an injury to that general area can often smell similar to the pheromones that she would typically put out. This will attract males.

They may or may not try to mount her once they realize that it isn’t the right kind of smell but rather something similar.

The male dog is seeking out another dog in heat

Sounds funny to us, but it’s true! A dog in heat has potent pheromones. If there is an intact (aka not spayed) female roaming around the house or the neighborhood, a male dog may see your dog and assume that it’s your dog who has been secreting them! It’s basically a funny case of mistaken identity. Once this dog realizes that your dog doesn’t smell at all like what they are expecting, they should move on.

The male dog is trying to assert dominance

Male dogs want to be in charge of every other dog. This includes females. They will often sniff around her to try to assert dominance through this behavior of mounting her or at least checking her out thoroughly. While fighting for dominance is expected, you can correct this behavior if you wish. This is especially important since you want to be the dominant person in the household!

Other reasons your spayed dog might be attracting males

While these are the most common reasons for males to be attracted to female dogs, there are others. These include:

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  • Your dog smells good/interesting
  • Your dog has something on her bum
  • Another dog is getting to know your dog 

A dog’s sense of smell is one of their primary methods of communication with each other. By smelling each other’s bums, they can learn about the mating potential, attitude, and even mood! While it is unsightly and gross to think about, it’s the same as small talk for us humans.

Can a male dog be attracted to a spayed female?

Yes, a male dog can be attracted to a spayed female. Those reasons might be sexually motivated or just general curiosity. 

Do spayed female dogs still release pheromones?

In most situations, female dogs can’t and don’t release pheromones. However, you’ve already learned that remnants and similar health conditions can often imitate it. If this is something that you are concerned about, talk to your vet about what you can expect.

Do female dogs still mate after being spayed?

No, female dogs won’t feel the need to mate after being spayed. Unlike humans, they are not programmed to crave any kind of sexual activity, and their interest will fade once their organs are gone. 

Sometimes male dogs will still want to mate with spayed females. If this is the case, you can stop the process if your dog is in distress. It’s a matter of personal preference!

Why is my dog humping and mounting?

It often surprises many pet parents to find that their dog (male or female) mounts and humps, well, anything. This is a common play behavior and is an excellent release of stress for dogs. Some will do it when they feel anxious, and others will do it when they want to play.

While it is often unsettling for us to see or experience if we are the target, it’s not a sexual behavior in dogs. You can redirect your dog’s behavior if you want to, but it’s harmless.

How do I get male dogs to lose interest in my female dog?

It can be frustrating to find that your dog has a fan club that doesn’t leave them alone every 6 weeks. If you want to get rid of the behavior, you do have help and support. Some tips include:

  • Take care of underlying issues
  • Learn your dog’s “cycle” and keep her inside/alone during those times
  • Talk to your vet

Take care of underlying issues

Your dog may have an underlying issue, as mentioned. You’ll want to check with your vet to see what’s going on and whether anything needs to be addressed. This is a great idea anyway since you’ll want to know why our dog is getting that attraction so often. 

Once the underlying issue is treated — antibiotics for an infection, for example — you should notice a decline in the attraction and a much healthier and happier dog!

Learn your dog’s “cycle” and keep her inside/alone during those times

While your dog will not have an actual heat cycle, you will start to learn when she has her fake cycle. Kep her inside and/or away from other dogs during this so that you can avoid the frustration of male dogs crowding your female dog. You can also consider a spray product that can help mask the scent, but you will want to talk to your vet about this to check what is best for her health.

Talk to your vet

Talking to your vet about your spayed dog attracting males is a good idea. This is not typical behavior, but it is a vital behavior to mark. Your vet will be able to look at your dog’s health, understand what might be going on, and how to help you get through the process to the other side.

Conclusion

Strangely, spayed females can still attract male attention for many reasons — sexually motivated and otherwise.

There are several reasons why a spayed female dog could attract male dogs. These include having leftover ovarian tissue that secretes pheromones, dealing with an injury or infection in their bum area that smells similar, a male dog mistaking her for another dog in heat nearby, or a male dog trying to assert dominance over your female dog.

Understanding what to do about it will help you keep on top of the problem and help your female dog get on with her life undisturbed.

Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.