How to tell if a dog is spayed or fixed? (5 common ways)

Want to know if a female dog is fixed? In this guide you will discover the benefits of spaying a dog, and also how to tell if a dog is spayed or not.
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If you have adopted a female dog from a shelter or maybe found a stray on the street and you want to know if she’s spayed, then this article is for you. 

Here you will discover the benefits of spaying a dog and also how to tell if a dog is spayed or not.

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If you are not sure whether your dog has been spayed, don’t worry. You are not alone in this dilemma. Many new owners are going through this exact situation. Sometimes shelters may claim that the former owner had spayed the dog. But you can’t rely on this statement alone. 

What if the former owner didn’t know or was just trying to hide the fact that the dog was not spayed? 

Knowing if your female dog has been spayed is very important, especially if you have unneutered male dogs around your neighborhood.

The unfortunate part of this is that your dog cannot say if she was spayed or not, neither will she be able to remember the procedure. This is because dogs are fixed when they are very young. And this makes it a bit difficult to tell if your dog is spayed or not, but there are a few telltale indicators. 

The purpose of this article is to help you determine whether your new dog has already been spayed or not, but before I proceed, let’s look at some of the terms that will help you understand the topic better.

What Does It Mean to Spay a Dog? 

Spaying, also known as ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical procedure that has to do with the removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs. Spaying should be done under general anesthesia by a veterinarian. Spaying will stop the dog from having heat cycles and the ability to reproduce.

On the other hand, neutering is the process of sterilizing your pet by removing its testicles, so it cannot impregnate a female.

Benefits of Spaying Your Dogs

How to tell if a dog is spayed or fixed - how to know if a female dog is sterilized - benefits of spaying a dog (1)

The major advantage of spaying a dog is that it will not be able to reproduce and will not contribute to overpopulation. Which is the major reason thousands of shelters dogs are being euthanized every year. 

However, this is not the only advantage of spaying a female dog. 

The following are other reasons that female dogs are spayed:

  • Significant reduction in mammary tumors: By spaying your dog, you help reduce the risk of mammary tumors by about 90 percent. This is because spaying removes the hormonal drive that makes tumors increase in size. 
  • Prevention of ovarian cancer: This is a fairly rare cancer, but it is usually fatal if it develops. Ovarian cancer won’t be a problem for your dog anymore since the ovaries have been removed.
  • It helps prevent pyometra: Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that happens in adult dogs. The uterus is filled with pus, if left untreated, can damage the kidneys and liver. Spaying prevents any chance of your dog from becoming infected with this infection.
  • It stops any problems associated with dogs on heat: The heat period can be a very stressful time for you and your dog. Spaying your female dog will help you prevent problems that arise when your dog is in heat; this usually happens twice a year, and it comes with bleeding, stress, and unwanted attention from male dogs.
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How to Tell if a Dog Is Spayed?

It is not easy to tell if a dog is spayed or not. You can check your dog’s secondary sexual traits if they are smaller or look at the belly for a spay scar, but some dogs don’t have one. The best way to tell for sure is to take your dog to the veterinarian for an examination.

The following are 5 ways you can figure out if your female dog has been spayed or not:

1. Find The Sterilization Incision

Flip your dog over and rub his stomach to make her relax. Sometimes female dogs may get upset when you want to examine them, so minimizing her anxiety will let you have a better examination. The incision may not be easy to spot. It is very small and difficult to see. You may have to shave your pup’s abdomen to see the mark. The scar can be found around the base of the nipples and the top of the genital area.

2. Check Your Dog’s Secondary Sexual Traits

A spayed female dog’s mammary glands, vulva, and nipples are somehow smaller when compared to that of unsprayed dogs. Although, there is no concrete evidence that gives any importance to this.

3. Look for Your Dog’s Medical Records

This can be a bit difficult, but it can be rewarded if you can discover your dog’s health records. You can achieve this if you know the name of your dog’s former owner; you can contact a few veterinary offices in the neighborhood and see if anyone still has the dog’s medical records. 

4. Ask Your Vet for Hormonal Testing

If the spay incision is hard to detect, your vet may give a few options; at times, he or she might check for a particular hormone or may examine the cells gathered from the vaginal wall.

5. Exploratory Surgery

If all else fails, the vet might choose to go into a medical procedure and perform exploratory surgery. Often, this is a situation of a female dog that has been spayed and has a few ovarian tissues still remain, this is hard to distinguish and may require a more practical approach to detect and remove it.

Alternatively, the vet can inject hormone and then take some blood samples to check ovarian activity. While these tests are not perfect, together, they can help provide a clearer picture that can save a dog from undergoing exploratory surgery.


How to tell if a dog is spayed or fixed - how to know if a female dog is sterilized - benefits of spaying a dog (2)

As you can see, there are several ways to determine whether your female dog has been spayed or not. A combination of these factors is a good indicator that your dog is unable to give birth. 

Always check with your vet to know your dog’s reproductive condition and never depend on assumptions.

That being said, there is nothing left but to thank you for your attention up to this point.

I hope I have been helpful, and I wish you many moments of joy and satisfaction in the company of your beloved puppy.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns along the way, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

Until next time!

A big hug.

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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