To Neuter or not to Neuter?

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Neutering

What? The removal of the reproductive organs.

Aim: For health and behavioral benefits for a happier healthier calmer more responsive dog and thus a better relationship between you and your pet.

When? I recommend neutering before health or behavior problems arise. Please speak to your vet for breed specific timings but as a general guide neutering is best done around 6 months/ sexual maturity/ when males start lifting their leg and before females first cycle. Leaving neutering till later in life can reduce its benefits.

Overview: There are pro’s and cons to neutering and it is not a substitute for training. Some people speculate neutering will change their dogs character but I have seen no evidence of this. I think in the city it is particularly helpful to you and your pet to have them neutered. There is however evidence to suggest an anxious dogs aggression can increase with neutering. Thus, my overall opinion is Yes Neuter, Early. However, if you already have a nervous, reactive dog then we may want to do some work to calm your dog before neutering.

 

Male Benefits:

·       Less Roaming

·       Less aggression without loss of guard dog behavior

·       Reduced chance of cancer and other diseases so less vet bills.

·       Control of urine marking.

·       A calmer better focused & responsive dog.

·        Reduce hypersexual behavior developing.

·       Other dogs generally respond better to them, meaning your dog is less likely to learn to be reactive towards other dogs.

·       I and other companies will not always be able to offer care to intact males.

·       Intact males smelling an on heat female can cause them a lot of stress and a number of other problems including extreme attempts to try to escape to them. Not eating. Extreme vocalization. Diarrhea.

 

Male counter argument:

·       Intact males may be more likely to resource-guard, Intact males not necessarily harder to handle or train.

·       Intact males are not inherently more aggressive.

·       There may be a trade-off with other conditions, especially obesity and diabetes mellitus.

·       Neutering too early can produce a dog with a rangier appearance. Legs tend to be longer and thinner overall compared to dogs of similar breed or build. This change can bring an increase in growth-related disorders of the connective joints, for example, hip dysplasia.

Note: It’s permanent but chemical castration is a temporary option if you are not ready to fully commit.

Female Benefits

·       Less Roaming

·       Less aggression without loss of guard dog behavior

·       Reduced chance of cancer and other diseases so less vet bills. Pyometra for example can go un noticed and be life threathening.

 ·       No heat cycles.

·       A calmer better focused & responsive dog.

·       No unwanted pregnancies.

·       Less issues with not being able to come for care with That Dog Guy at certain times.

·       Some behavioral problems that can be staved off if the female is spayed before her first heat. These include nesting, maternal aggression.

Female Counter argument:

·       If a female is spayed during a stage of estrus in which her hormones are up but she is not yet spotting, some say there may be an increased tendency to develop resource guarding behaviors.

·       There is evidence to suggest spayed females develop an increase of dog-dog aggression due to the imbalance of testosterone without the modifying estrogen which is produced by the ovaries.

·       Research is still being done, but some believe that developmental difficulties may occur with early spaying.

Note:

The spay surgery, also called an ovariohysterectomy (OVH) is the removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female dog. Some veterinarians are now offering ovariectomy (OVE), which is just the excision of the ovaries, leaving the uterus intact. Recent research suggests that the OVE is a less invasive, simpler procedure with fewer risks for the bitch.

 

Ethics:

Is it right to neuter a dog?

My answer to this is how would I like to be treated? Would I undergo a well-practiced surgery, which I would expect to be healed from in 7-14 days if I thought it was going to make my life easier, healthier and calmer?