Common practices for adopting dogs include spaying and neutering at a young age. This procedure is justified as a way to decrease animal homelessness from free mating and staving off certain undesirable behaviors.
In female dogs, the concept of spaying can be confusing as certain health benefits are improved while the risk of complications from the actual surgery itself are frequent.
The following information derives from a meta analysis preformed by Laura J. Sanborn, M.S. in 2007:
When female dogs are spayed before 2.5 years of age, the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs [especially if spayed younger than 30 months old], is greatly reduced.
Spaying nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs. The already small risk of developing uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors (≤0.5%) is removed. Lastly, just like with male dogs, the risk of perianal fistulas is reduced.
10 Reasons You Should Not Spay Your FEMALE Dog
#1: Similar to male dogs, female dogs are typically spayed prior to 1 year of age which impacts healthy, regular growth. Spaying young females significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer), a common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
#2: When female dogs are spayed before puberty, distinctly female disorders rise. The risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis increases.
#3: Delaying the closure of growth plates after spaying a young female dog causes irregularity in the development of different bones. This hormonal disruption can cause unnatural proportions and proclivity to arthritis. Many bones may continue to grow due to the failure of growth plates to close.
#4: Spaying female dogs increases the risk of splenic and cardiac hemangiosarcoma. The increase of this common cancer rises by a factor of 2.2 for splenic hemangiosarcoma and by a factor of >5 for cardiac hemangiosarcoma. In some breeds, this cancer is among the top causes of death.
#5: The urinary complications in spayed female dogs are greatly increased. The occurrence of "spay incontinence" rises by 4-20% and the risk of persistent or recurring UTIs (urinary tract infections) increases by a factor of 3-4%. Spaying also doubles the small risk (<1%) of developing rare urinary tract tumors.
#6: The risk of obesity in spayed female dogs rises by a factor 1.6-2%. Obesity leads to other common health struggles including diabetes, ruptured cruciate ligament, tumors, urinary disease, and oral disease.
#7: Bone and ligament diseases in spayed female dogs are alarmingly increased. The risk for hip dysplasia in female dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months old rises by 70%. Their increased risk for patellar [knee cap] luxation rises by 3.1 fold. Cranial cruciate ligament rupture increases 2 fold.
#8: The risk of loss of pelvic bone mass [hip dysplasia] and spondylosis in the spine of spayed female dogs rises. The likelihood of developing fatal acute pancreatitis rises by 22 times.
#9: Early spaying of female dogs likely causes illnesses sparked by autoimmune thyroiditis. The risk for hypothyroidism triples for spayed female dogs.
#10: Spayed female dogs are susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccinations. Reactions such as anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest and shock, sudden death [chronic disease from vaccinations is not recognized by [conventional medicine, only acute reactions are recognized] increase by 27-38%.
If you're still confused about whether or not you should spay your female dog, here's what I would suggest you consider before making your choice:
Educate yourself, think about your lifestyle, ask your vet questions and then carefully move forward. Keep your animal intact for as long as possible. Specifically for female dogs, make sure you monitor for pyometra and carefully regulate her heat cycle social life.
If you have access to a vet who will preform a tubal ligation, I suggest you consider this. I also suggest you get adequate training to insure your dog is well socialized - this is a must to give your dog a safe, natural upbringing!
To learn more about what to do for your male dog, please, read 10 Good Reasons You Should Not Neuter Your Male Dog.