Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog

After lasts week’s post about how to care for female dogs in heat, in this article we are going to discuss the pro’s and con’s of neutering male dogs and the effects this can have for you and your dog. Neutering is usually considered beneficial for your dog, in terms of health as well as preventing puppies. Although it is know that castration can lead to deteriorated health in a dog. Our aim is to consider the pro’s and con’s, so you can make an informed decision based on the facts.

WHAT IS NEUTERING?

Neutering or Castration is a process that involves the surgical removal of a ale dog’s testicles, in order to make him sterile, technically called an ‘orchectomy’. The operation itself involves putting the dog under anaesthetic and the process usually takes a few hours to complete, although your dog may be required to stay at the vetinary practice for up to 24 hours post-operation, just for observational purposes. This highly depends on the dogs age and overall health – dogs in good health can expect to go home on the same day as the surgery. The operation is a common procedure and with today’s technology and health standards, is considered to be a routine surgery without complications.

PRO’S OF NEUTERING YOUR DOG

The main and most obvious reason for neutering your dog is to prevent him from impregnating female dogs, hence resulting in potentially unwanted puppies. Overpopulation of dogs is becoming a real concern and many people try to control this situation from escalating by eliminating the chances of reproduction. The second most common reason for having your dog castrated is purely for behavioural purposes – many believe that in most cases, it actually improves the quality of the dog’s life. Neutered dogs are less likely to act aggressively towards humans and other dogs, and less likely to bite and react negatively. Dogs who have their testicles intact are prone to fighting, biting, refusing food and generally displaying provocative behaviour. They commonly urinate as a sign of marking their territory, are known to run away or excessively chase female dogs in heat due to the build up of testosterone in their body. Some dogs roam of and will do almost anything to find a female dog, and will fight with any potential threat or competition towards the female.

Other than the prevention of puppies, there are also many health benefits of neutering a male dog. It is proven that surgery can reduce the risk of developing prostate problems and testicular cancer. A neutered dog is less likely to develop diabetes and other perianal tumours, are generally much easier to handle and will be less likely to fight and act aggressively towards other dogs. The reduced levels of testosterone mean the ‘desire’ to find a female and mate is greatly reduced. It is important to note however, that neutering your dog is not a fail-safe guaranteed way of controlling your dog’s behaviour – if he has sever behavioural issues, the chances are high that they will still display this even after the testosterone levels are reduced.

CON’S OF NEUTERING YOUR DOG

The obvious downside of neutering your dog is that the procedure is permanent, once castrated, he will no longer be able to reproduce. If you are considering breeding your dog later on in it’s life, then you must be aware that the operation can not be reversed. One main concern post-operation is the fear of your dog gaining excessive amounts of weight. Generally speaking, the effects are normally minimal, although depending on the size and breed of your dog, this can become a concern. The desire to seek a mate is incredibly high in male dogs who have their testicles, and as you can imagine, a great deal of energy and effort is expended in the process of finding a mate and reproducing. Dogs who have undergone the procedure may be eating the exact same amount as before, but find they are not burning off as many calories due to the lack of testosterone. If you allow your dog to get fat, then that is where the problem lies! Far too many people blame the procedure for excessive weight gain, when in reality they are overfeeding and under exercising their dog.

Neutered dogs also have a tendency to be more calm and less active, for similar reasons as the previous point. In most cases this is a preferred option as owners can manage a sedentary and peaceful dog more easily. Saying that, if you prefer the opposite and want your dog to be overactive and energetic, then neutering may not be the best option. (Please note, this is only speaking generally, some neutered dogs remain hyper and excessively active in the same way that dogs who have not had the operation can be just as calm and quiet as one who has been castrated. There are many other factors that add towards to personality and temperament of your pet, so it is important to bear this in mind). Finally, some people prefer the aesthetic appearance of male dogs with everything intact. Although this isn’t directly related to the dog’s health or wellbeing, people with concern can opt to have testicular implants inserted at the end of the operation.

The best advice if you do not intend to breed your dog, is to consider neutering at a young age (depending on the breed). we feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives and you will ensure that the problem of overpopulation does not escalate out of control. If you are thinking about neutering your dog, there is a wealth of information on the web which goes into much more detail about the procedure and what to expect. If you have any concerns, visit your local veterinary practice, who will be able to ease any issues or concerns you have.

What experience do you have of neutering? Let us know in the comments…

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11 Responses to “Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog”

  1. A great article! Very informative.

  2. Rob says:

    Good article, I believe it is important to make owners aware of the benefits of castration. I would also like to add that home boarders in my area are no longer able to take full males in accordance with the councils boarding license conditions… so owners of full males may find their options limited to just kennels when they go away.

  3. Kathy says:

    Seems to me the “cons” aren’t really cons at all. If it was a matter of the dogs’ health then I would consider not neutering. The only health related concern is weight gain but as you stated, it’s not the procedure but overfeeding that causes this. I’m a firm believer in spay/neuter. There are far too many dogs in shelters as it is who will most likely be euthanized.

    I don’t believe any of these “cons” will come in to play if the dog is neutered as a puppy. All of my dogs have been fixed, male and female, and I haven’t run into any problems at all.

  4. Jay says:

    A very helpful post especially for those who are not sure about neutering. My own personal view is that unless you intend to breed your dog then your dog should be neutered. There are far too many dogs that end up in shelters and far too many irresponsible owners….sometimes I think they should be fixed as well!!!

  5. Jay P says:

    Has there been any studies done regarding “fixing” the males as opposed to castration? I would think that it would help the dog regarding the positive medical impact of keeping their testicules, but eliminating their ability to breed.

  6. The only upside to not neutering male dogs at a young age I have come across in my experience as a canine rehabilitation practitioner is that dogs castrated young lose testosterone. This provides them with muscle bulk, and stops them from growing over height. A lot of the dogs I see which are tall by breed standards have long bone deformities, or not enough supporting muscle to keep joints in their “normal” position.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for reducing unwanted or badly bred dog population. And I would not advocate putting your dog’s health at risk.
    But please do not put them at a different risk by castrating them too early.

  7. Nik says:

    The only concern I have why do you want to change your dog … What if you were adopted and neutered. I have a pit and love him to death and I will not neuter him coz if I liked him the way he was when I first got him and giving too much love and affection would always let him be calm. But again it’s just me I know people would have negative comments against me but I don’t care as Im just sharing my opinion as everyone else.

  8. Maureen says:

    I have 3 dogs 2 are under 1 year old and one is 8 years old I am worried about both pros and cons. I want them to have reduce cancer risk but I don’t want the surgery risk
    So what should I do

  9. steve says:

    Personally I am against the procedure. If you asked any man if he would consider having his healthy testicles removed so he cannot get certain illnesses, I’m sure you can guess the answer. In the article it states that your dog may gain fat, the reason for this is because a drop in testosterone this means a drop in muscle and muscle burns calories (in humans its about 50 cals a lb a day). Testosterone is growth hormone females have lower levels than males hence males tend to be larger and more muscular. I feel that the procedure may have a negative effect a dog because he may not grow as well as he should and a weaker dog is more likely to get ill. My dog is like my son and would you castrate your son?

  10. sarah says:

    my male is just a year old and not neutered, but he is well trained (attended training classes since he was 3 months) and has never given me any reason to even consider neutering him. Health reasons would be the only reson i would neuter, but even then there are pros and cons!!

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