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Unneutered male dog with a spayed female

Having two dogs is wonderful, most of the time. Similar to a child having a sibling, they always have someone to play with. Of course, like human children, they can also get into some unwanted behaviors. 

If you have an unneutered male and a spayed female, it’s normal to have questions. Will the male be sexually attracted to her? Can it cause issues between them? 

Is it ok for an unneutered male dog to be with a spayed female?

Generally, it’s fine to have an unneutered male dog and a spayed female. Since the female can’t go into heat, the male shouldn’t show sexual interest. This can reduce many of the concerns that go with keeping a male and female dog together. However, life isn’t always so simple. 

Why Males Are Attracted to Females 

Typically, a male dog is only attracted to a female when she is in heat. When in heat, the female releases hormones known as pheremones. These signal to any males nearby that she is ready to mate. This is why an in heat female seems to draw every dog in the neighborhood. 

Does the Male Know the Female is Spayed? 

You may be wondering if your male dog can tell the difference between a spayed and unsprayed female dog. Scientists don’t know for certain, but the common belief is that they don’t know the difference, most of the time. 

This is because a male is typically only attracted to a female when she is in heat. A female with a traditional spay will not go into heat, so she shouldn’t send your male into a hormonal frenzy. 

Can a Male Be Attracted to an Spayed Female? 

It is possible for a unneutered male to be attracted to a spayed female. Intact females produce low amounts of hormones, even when not in heat. 

Thsi shouldn’t drive a male into a frenzy, but it is possible for it to cause sexual interest. A spayed female should be unable to produce these hormones. 

However, some females develop ovarian remnant syndrome. This occurs when some ovarian tissue remains after spaying. This tissue continues producing hormones. 

In some cases, the female can even have a heat cycle, even though she’s spayed. 

The good news is that as long as the uterus is removed, the female can’t get pregnant. However, if she has ovarian remnant syndrome, the male dog may be sexually interested. 

Signs of Sexual Interest 

It can be important to know the signs your male dog is interested in your female, even if she’s been spayed. A male who is interested in a female will often seem fascinated by her vagina. He may sniff it or even lick it. 

The female may not appreciate this, particularly if she isn’t in heat. She may attempt to move away or snap at the male.

Urine marking is another sign. Of course, this isn’t limited to sexual interest. However, if your male suddenly begins urine marking, or marking more frequently, keep an eye out for other sexual behaviors. 

Mounting is also common. A male who is sexually excited may mount the female. They may also mount other dogs, or even objects as an outlet for their sexual interest. 

If you have more than one male in the home, they may begin to fight if the female is producing hormones or in heat. Males who normally get along well may determine “sharing is caring” doesn’t apply. In addition to fighting over the female, they may become territorial. 

Will a neutered male dog mount a spayed female dog?

It is possible for an unneutered male to mount a spayed female for a few reasons. This behavior can be surprising, but it’s not uncommon. 

Reasons for Mounting 

The first time I saw my female dog mount a male, I was shocked. I couldn’t help but wonder why she would do this, since she certainly couldn’t procreate that way. 

I’ve since learned there are several reasons for mounting that have nothing to do with sex. This is why you may see a female mount a male, or another female. You may also see a male mount another male. Even neutered males will mount other dogs, although less often than an unneutered male. 

This is sometimes a dominance behavior. One dog mounts another as a way of saying, “Hey! I’m top dog”.  

Dogs will also mount each other as an invitation to play. In this case, you may even see them taking turns mounting each other. 

Lastly, dogs will mount each other, or your leg, when they are excited. This is most common in unneutered males, but it can occur in any dog. If you think about human desire and emotion, sexual attraction and excitement are closely linked.

It’s similar for dogs. This can lead them to act out seemingly sexual behaviors out of non-sexual excitement. 

Ovarian Remnant Syndrome 

As mentioned earlier, if the female has ovarian remnant syndrome, this can lead to the male being sexually attracted to her. In this case, he will mount her for sexual purposes. 

How to get an unneutered male dog to leave a spayed female alone?

If your unnneutered male is showing unwanted interest in your female, there are a few steps you can take to calm things down. 

Essential Oils 

Essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus can help mask the smell of female hormones. Unless your female is in heat, this might be enough to cover the scent, causing the male to lose sexual interest. 

You will need to dilute the essential oil with water, alcohol, or witch hazel. Then, apply it to your female dog as you would a perfurme. Peppermint is safe for dogs, but some essential oils are harmful to them. Be sure that the oil you use is pet safe. 


Exercising, particularly for your male, can work wonders. It allows him to spend some of his energy, so he can be calmer. This will hopefully reduce his interest in the female. 

Be sure they are getting plenty of mental stimulation as well. A bored dog is always more likely to get into trouble than a dog who is well entertained. Puzzle toys, play sessions, and occasional doggie TV can help keep your pooches entertained. 

Get a Checkup 

If your spayed female is attracting males, it’s a good idea to get a veterinary checkup. It isn’t always necessary to treat ovarian remnant syndrome, but it’s a good idea to know if it’s occurring at the least. 

Spaying the Male 

The most obvious solution to the issue is to neuter the male dog. This can reduce sexual behaiovr.  However, males will still retain some of their sexual instincts after neutering. Generally, the older the dog at the time of neutering, the more of their previous sexual behavior is likely to remain.