What is the Difference Between Castrating and Sterilizing a Dog?

What is the Difference Between Castrating and Sterilizing a Dog?

What's better, castration or sterilization? Is there a big difference between the two neutering methods?

If you own two or more dogs of the opposite sexes, these are questions you'll surely have asked yourself more than once. After all, preventing unwanted litters is one of the inherent responsibilities of the carer when adopting dogs.

This AnimalWised article will explain what is the difference between castrating and sterilizing a dog. That way, if you have to make up your mind you will be well-informed and familiar with both techniques and thus you'll be able to choose the most suitable neutering method for your dogs.

Castrating a male dog

Castrating a male dog requires surgery and must be done by a vet. This technique involves the removal of the dog's testicles, leaving only the scrotal sac. It is irreversible.


  • It inhibits the male sex drive and prevents associated conflicts.
  • It possibly decreases the dog's dominance as testosterone production is stopped.
  • It decreases the likelihood of prostate diseases.
  • It is easier to socialize and educate castrated dogs to be tamer.
  • It will get along better with other pets.


  • There is a risk with anesthesia, as there is with any surgery.
  • The recovery process is slower than with sterilization.
  • It can cause obesity if its diet is not properly restructured.

Castrating a female dog

Castrating a female dog requires delicate surgery that can only be done by a vet. There are two forms of castration for female dog. The first is called an ovariectomy and it involves removing both of the bitch's ovaries. The second is called ovariohysterectomy and it removes the ovaries and the uterus.


  • It stops hormone production and the estrus cycle disappears.
  • It prevents breast cancer and tumors in the reproductive organs.
  • It tames their behavior.


  • The same as castration in male dogs.

Sterilizing a male dog

Sterilization is a less invasive surgical method than castration. Like before, it can only be performed by vets. It consists of cutting the seminiferous tubules, that is,the ducts that connect the testicles to the penis.


  • It is less invasive than castration.
  • Recovery is faster.
  • It decreases the chance of prostate diseases.


  • Hormone production is not stopped.
  • The dog's sex drive is not removed.
  • If the animal is dominant, its behavior will not change.

Sterilizing a female dog

The sterilization of a bitch involves the ligation of the Fallopian tubes, that is, the ovarian ducts.


  • It is a less invasive surgery.
  • Recovery is faster.
  • It decreases the possibility of uterus and ovary diseases and breast tumors.


  • The dog continues to be in heat.
  • It is still attracted to males.
  • Their behavior is not softened.

Recovery periods after castration or sterilization

Recovery periods are quite different between both surgeries, as the procedures are very different.


  • Males typically fully recover within 1 week.
  • For females it can take up to 2 weeks for a full recovery.


  • Males usually recover in 2 to 3 days.
  • Females are fully recovered in 5 days.

What is better, castration or sterilization?

Now that you've learnt the differences between castrating and sterilizing a dog you will be able to make an informed decision.

In order to decide between castration and sterilization for your pet, it is important to assess the dog's original behavior. If your pet tends to dominance and aggressiveness, or to running away when in heat, castration might be the best choice. If your dog is naturally quiet and gentle and you prefer a softer method, go for sterilization.

Regardless of your choice, we can't underscore enough how important it is to prevent unwanted litters and health problems. If you don't want to find your dog a partner in order to breed them on purpose, neutering is always the best and safest option.

As always, consulting a specialist is the best thing you can do for your dog if you have any questions.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

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