Will Spaying Calm a Female Dog? Spay Problems and Benefits

Will Spaying Calm a Female Dog? Photo fo a calm female dog after being spayed.

Wondering just what a spay surgery is going to do for your female dog as far as her instincts and hormonal fluctuations? Here’s what you’ll want to know!

Spaying will often calm and even out a female dog’s behavior. The typical hormone fluctuation of her natural cycle can cause irritability, like PMS in humans. Once her hormones are gone, she’ll be even-manned and calm.

As well, since there is no hormonal-driven competition for a mate, she’ll be more settled and less likely to act protectively over who/what she determines to be her litter.

Do female dogs change after being spayed?

A spay will change your female dog because it takes organs out of her. Wait, what? Let’s back up. A spay surgery is when a female dog’s reproductive organs are removed. This surgery is routine for vets, but it is still a significant surgery — for your dog.

With her reproductive organs removed, she’ll have no more menstrual cycle, and her hormone levels will change. This causes her behavior to change, and this is what most people notice after a spay surgery versus before a spay surgery.

The best way to see this change, of course, is to bring home a dog that hasn’t been spayed and then spay her after the fact. Since many will buy or adopt puppies, the procedure takes place before that first heat cycle (more on that in a bit). In this way, they won’t notice a “change” in their dogs!

Will my dog be less hyper after spaying?

While some dogs are just going to be hyperactive, many will notice that their dog is much calmer after their spay surgery. This is mostly because she would normally be a mess of a hormone roller coaster beforehand, and this would make her a bundle of energy. As her levels decrease, she’ll be calmer.

Will having my dog spayed make her less aggressive?

Many will notice that their days display less aggressive behavior, yes. When dogs go into heat and fail to become pregnant, they can create a “hysterical pregnancy.” When this happens, they will gather their “litter” and then protect them. Since her litter could be made up of toys and socks, this will be hilarious to us humans but very serious to her.

As well, some dogs can be aggressive when searching for a mate. They’ll jostle for attention around any male and will also do what they can to deter the competition (aka other female dogs). This behavior, hormone-driven, will stop after her spay.

However, it’s important to note that not all aggression is caused by hormones. A spay surgery won’t’ just magically “cure” an aggression problem in your female dog! That is to say, obedience training and socialization training should still be a priority for responsible dog owners.  

How long after a dog is spayed does she calm down?

This mainly depends on where your dog was in her cycle when she was spayed. The hyperactivity comes when she is just going into the reproductive part of her cycle. If she is spayed just before that, she may still have the same hyperactivity.

The hormones don’t just disappear as soon as the organs are gone. It will take a few cycles for them to stop completely as her body stops producing them.

Most will find that 2-3 months may pass until their dog completely clams down, but it depends on the dog, her cycle, and her reason for hyperactivity. If you are concerned, you can always dog to your vet. Remember: not all hyperactivity is a result of her hormones!

Benefits of spaying a female dog

There are numerous benefits to spaying your female dog. While some pet parents are still apprehensive about such an “unnecessary” surgery, the benefits are something to think about. These include:

  • Less/no escaping behavior
  • Fewer mood swings
  • No heat seasons
  • No pregnancies
  • No labor or delivery complications
  • Lower risk of breast cancer

Less/no escaping behavior

When dogs go into heat, their hormones drive them to find a mate. This means that they’re more likely to try to escape the house or the yard as they go to search for one. This can lead to missing dogs long-term or even the death of a dog as she darts across the road. 

Fewer mood swings

Hormones bring mood swings in your dog just like they would in a human. If she is irritable, frustrated, or even aggressive — especially if she has a hysterical pregnancy — then a spay can really help even those swings out and help her true personality come out. Also, those mood swings aren’t enjoyable for her, either!

No heat seasons

Heat seasons in your dog are identical to a period in humans. This means that she’ll need a onesie or other clothing to cover her as she bleeds. If not, she’ll drag her belly all over your furniture and anything else, as this is what she would do to attract a mate.

Also, this can be accompanied by wailing, screaming, and more. It’s not a fun time for dogs, either, so this will free her of this!

No pregnancies

Pregnancies can happen in dogs very quickly. They also don’t always tend to be noticeable in dogs until it’s very close to delivery. No one wants a surprise of one doggo becoming one doggo with 6 mini doggos (no matter how cute they might be)!

No labor or delivery complications

Both labor and delivery are very physically stressful on mama dogs, so it’s not something that always goes according to plan. They need to be on specific diets and often will need a vet close by just in case. This is not something that you’ll want to happen accidentally.

Lower risk of breast cancer

While this isn’t a guarantee, she will have a less likely chance of dealing with breast cancer than a dog who isn’t spayed. This is a huge thing to consider for those who want to do as much as they can for their dogs.

Spaying has incredible benefits for the health, well-being, and general quality of life for your dog. It is definitely something that you should consider. If you have concerns, your vet will be happy to talk to you about them.

Possible side effects of spaying a female dog

With that in mind, there are possible side effects and complications to know about with a spay surgery. The right decision is going to be an informed decision, after all! Some of the main ones to be aware of include:

  • Difficult recovery from the surgery
  • Internal bleeding
  • Early-onset of hip dysplasia
  • Incontinence
  • Stronger likelihood of a UTI

Difficult recovery from the surgery

Caring for your dog after a spay comes with specific instructions to help her recover properly and as painlessly as possible.

If you don’t follow those instructions as you should, including keeping her from jumping or wearing a cone, it can lead to complex and potentially costly surgery recovery.

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding is very rare since spay surgeries are so common. However, it is possible. If sutures aren’t done correctly or a bleed goes undetected in the body, large internal bleeding can be a complication. This is covered on the instructions from your vet, however, so that you’ll catch this before it becomes a severe problem.

Early-onset of hip dysplasia

In dogs predisposed to hip dysplasia, a spay surgery can sometimes cause that to set in. This is often concerned to pet parents, but your vet will operate knowing this. This means that they’ll do whatever they can to reduce the likelihood of that setting in their approach and the recovery process.

Incontinence

In rare cases, a spay surgery can cause a dog to suffer from incontinence, which will mean that she won’t have as much control over her bladder in the future. This is something that your vet can help with down the road if it develops.

Stronger likelihood of a UTI

Similarly, she may have a slightly stronger likelihood of developing a UTI than a dog that isn’t spayed. 

Why is my spayed female dog suddenly aggressive?

A spay is supposed to help with aggression, not worsen it! However, sometimes a dog will become aggressive as she is initially healing from her spay surgery and will subside as she heals and starts to feel better.

In some cases, the sudden reduction of hormones can mean that their calming effect is also gone. This will mean that she is more aggressive than before. As her hormones even out, this will disappear. The hormone fluctuations are part of the healing.

Does spaying a female dog affect her growth?

This is a common misconception that runs rampant in online forums! In scarce circumstances, a dog’s growth might be slightly impacted by being spayed while still growing. However, this is very rare, and the difference would only be a factor if you were looking at something like showing your dog, where height is a factor.

If this is a dealbreaker for you or something that you are very concerned about. In that case, you can speak with your vet about waiting until she passes her 1-year-old mark, which is the end of her growth stage.

At what age should you spay your dog?

Ideally, before her first heat cycle. However, this fluctuates for each dog. Most professionals will recommend booking her in when she is around 4 months old. The surgery will be a simple as possible, and young dogs will heal much better and faster than adult dogs.

Of course, a spay can be performed on an adult dog with no complications as well. It just is a bit more complicated for the healing process, and she’ll have gone through multiple heat cycles, which can be frustrating for even the most attentive pet parents!

On the whole

Having your dog spayed will often calm a dog, both her hyperactivity and any aggression that she shows due to hormone fluctuations.

She won’t guard her “litter,” hunt for a mate or go through a heat cycle.

Spaying can calm a female dog when she struggles with aggression and hyperactivity due to her hormone fluctuations.

There are many health benefits to a spay surgery, making it an excellent consideration for the pet parent that wants to do what they can to care for their dog. Still, some possible complications to know about so that you can make an informed decision!

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Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.