Why Is My Spayed Female Dog Attracting Males?
Are Spayed Dogs Still Attractive to Male Dogs?
You may have spent quite a good chunk of money to spay your dog, but she's still attracting males dogs. What gives? Isn't she supposed to no longer be interesting to male dogs? If this attraction started out of the blue, you are right to wonder.
An intact female dog is a dog who is capable of reproducing. She is intact by definition because she is still equipped with ovaries, oviducts, uterine horns, and the uterus. A female who is spayed has undergone a medical procedure known as an ovariohysterectomy (OHE). This surgery basically removes her capacity to reproduce. Since her reproductive organs are removed, the production of hormones such as as estrogen and progesterone is also halted. These are the hormones responsible for triggering the dog's heat cycle.
Most males are not particularly interested in females sexually until she gives signs of going into heat. Blessed with over 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses, a male dog's nose certainly "knows" when a female is in heat. Indeed, a female dog gives off very powerful pheromones which help advertise her availability. There are countless stories of male dogs capable of detecting the smell of females in heat from a distance. Many of these pheromones are released in the female dog's urine, which is why male dogs are so obsessed with smelling any places where intact female dogs have urinated.
So if your dog is spayed (and as such, not capable of going into heat), how can she be attracting males? Great question! There are some explanations for this that we will look at in the next paragraphs.
3 Reasons Your Spayed Dog Might Be Attracting Males
So things definitively are not adding up: your dog was spayed, her reproductive organs removed, and her capability to produce hormones associated with the heat cycle halted, so why is she attracting males out of the blue? First, it's important information to know if she attracts only one specific male or all males in general.
Let's look at three possible explanations.
1. Maybe the Pheromones Are Not Hers
Perhaps the pheromones are not your dog's. Indeed, if your dog was spayed correctly, she should never go into heat or act as if in heat. In this case, we're talking about some neighbor's dog in heat. Indeed, if you own a spayed female and now suddenly your male dog is obsessed with her, it could be there's a female dog in heat in heat somewhere in your neighborhood. This is what happened once to a client at the vet's office, her male suddenly was obsessed with her, and after obtaining a clean bill of health, she casually noticed one of her neighbor's dogs was in heat. Unable to gain access to the dog in heat, her male dog redirected his pent-up frustration towards the spayed female dog!
2. Perhaps Tissue Remnants Were Left Behind
If your dog is spayed and is now acting as if in heat and your male dog is interested, yes, you are right to be concerned. In some rare cases, a dog's spay may go wrong. In this case, it's likely that during the spay surgery, small parts of ovarian tissue were left behind. Left in the body, this tissue grows and then triggers the brain to produce the hormones associated with the heat cycle, explains veterinarian Janet Tobiassen Crosby. In this case, if the uterus was successfully removed, your dog technically cannot get pregnant, but if in doubt, go on route to your closest vet's office to have your dog checked out!
3. There May Be an Undiagnosed Medical Condition
So there are no female dogs in heat nearby, but male dogs have shown some definite interest in your dog. What else can be the problem? In some cases, medical conditions may cause your dog to smell a bit like a dog in heat. What medical conditions cause this? We're probably looking at a possible bladder infection, an infection of the cervix or vulva, or a case of vaginitis. In some cases, the anal sacs may be also to blame. All these conditions can sometimes make a female dog attractive to males. The reasons though aren't still entirely clear, explains veterinarian Mike Richards.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
When I got my dog the person that gave her to me told me that she was spayed, but my male Chihuahua is trying to make with her. What could be the reason?
There are several possibilities. 1) The person who provided you with this dog gave you wrong information 2) she is spayed but the vet accidentally left some ovarian tissue behind (quite rare), 3) she is spayed but there is another female in heat in your neighborhood and that is exciting him, or 4) she is emanating some smell due to some health issue.Helpful 26
Even though my dog was spayed three years ago, she still releases the hormones meant for her to go into heat. I know this because our male dog humps the life out of her for about a week every six months. What can I do?
This is interesting. Have you by any chances also noticed any swelling or discharge during these times? Sometimes, when dogs are spayed, it can happen that the vet accidentally leaves some ovarian tissue behind. When this happens, dogs go still in heat when spayed and can even develop pyometra (it's called stump pyometra). I would talk to the vet who spayed her and ask and describe what you're seeing.Helpful 47
My spayed female cat is attracting male cats that have not yet been neutered. They typically do not mount her, but they constantly follow her around everywhere with their noses as close to her bottom as possible. What could be causing this?
Sometimes a piece of ovarian or uterine tissue is left behind during the spay surgery, and this may cause her to go into heat and attract males. Not saying this is the case, but it may be a possibility.Helpful 15