What Is the Difference Between Altered and Unaltered Dogs?

The distinction between altered and unaltered dogs goes beyond mere physical changes and delves into their behavioral and temperamental disparities. Unaltered animals, not subject to spaying or neutering, may possess a range of behavior and temperament problems more frequently than their altered counterparts. These unaltered dogs, affected by hormonal fluctuations and instincts related to reproduction, can exhibit territoriality, aggression, or excessive territorial marking. On the other hand, altered dogs, typically having undergone spaying or neutering procedures, tend to showcase a more composed disposition, characterized by enhanced calmness and heightened affection. This profound contrast in behavior between altered and unaltered dogs emphasizes the significance of considering reproductive status as a crucial factor in comprehending and addressing dogs' demeanor and mental well-being.

What Does Altered Dog Mean?

What does altered dog mean? When someone says an animal is “fixed” or “altered,” it means the animal has undergone a surgical procedure called spaying or neutering. This procedure involves removing the reproductive organs of the animal, rendering them unable to reproduce. At PAWS, we believe in the importance of spaying and neutering, which is why we spay and neuter every animal that’s adopted from our shelter, regardless of their age. In fact, we even perform this procedure on animals as young as eight-weeks-old.

There are several reasons why we recommend having your pets altered as soon as possible. Firstly, spaying or neutering your dog can help eliminate or significantly reduce their risk of certain health issues that can arise from reproductive organs. For example, female dogs that are spayed before their first heat cycle have a much lower risk of developing mammary tumors or uterine infections. Additionally, neutering male dogs can help prevent testicular cancer and reduce the risk of prostate problems.

Another benefit of having your dog altered is that it can help improve their behavior. Unaltered dogs are often more prone to certain behavior issues such as aggression, marking territory, or wandering off in search of a mate.

By preventing unwanted litters, you’re helping to reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters or on the streets, facing uncertain futures. This practice also helps to alleviate the strain on local shelters and rescues, allowing them to better care for the animals that are already in need.

At PAWS, we strongly advocate for this procedure as it not only improves the health and behavior of pets but also helps control the pet population and reduce the number of animals in need.

The Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Cats

Spaying or neutering cats has numerous advantages for both the cat and their human companions. It helps control the feline population by preventing unwanted litters, reducing the number of stray cats, and minimizing the pressure on animal shelters.

Moreover, sterilization prevents certain health issues in cats, such as uterine infections, mammary tumors, and testicular cancer. The procedure can also reduce the risk of aggressive or territorial behavior, including marking territory with urine or roaming in search of mates. Cats that are spayed or neutered tend to be more relaxed and better behaved, making them easier to handle and less likely to engage in destructive behaviors.

Lastly, spaying or neutering can have positive effects on a cat’s overall lifespan and well-being, as well as help the owner save on potential costs associated with unplanned pregnancies or treating reproductive-related diseases.


Unaltered animals, being in their natural state, may exhibit behavioral and temperament problems stemming from their innate instincts. On the other hand, altered animals have been found to display calmer and more affectionate behavior. This suggests that the decision to alter a dog can have significant effects on their overall demeanor, emphasizing the importance of responsible pet ownership. While these observations are supported by research and anecdotal evidence, it’s crucial to consider that individual variations in behavior may exist, and the decision to alter a dog should always be made after consulting with a professional veterinarian and considering the specific needs and circumstances of each unique pet.

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