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Should You Have Your Dog Neutered?

Dog neutering is a routine veterinary operation, but the decision is not always routine. Some people are concerned that having their dog neutered reduces his quality of life. In reality, unless you’re a professional dog breeder, you’re giving your dog far more than you’re taking from him when you have him neutered.

"Dog" in this article refers to males, while "bitch" refers to female canine animals.

An non-neutered dog may:

  • Have an uncontrollable urge to roam
  • Find a way out of a secure enclosure to get to a bitch in heat
  • Urinate on everything, inside and outside, to mark his territory
  • Hump neutered dogs
  • Hump moving objects and people
  • Attack other dogs
  • Become a father, leaving you part responsible for unplanned puppies

Reasons to have your dog neutered

  • Better socialization  Dogs that are not neutered are driven by hormones. They can’t interact with other dogs or with people the way they did before puberty. Their sexual drives, aggression, and urges to urinate on everything don’t fit with their role as part of the family.

    On the other hand, if dogs are neutered before reaching puberty, they won’t miss what they never had, and they’ll be healthier and happier. They’ll be able to interact with other dogs and with people as friends and playmates.

  • Less risk of prostate cancer  Neutered dogs are less likely to get prostate cancer. If dogs are not neutered, the prostate enlarges during life, and it can become uncomfortable and susceptible to infection.
  • No risk of testicular cancer  Neutered dogs don’t get testicular cancer.
  • Easier to train  With less aggression, less need to dominate, and less to distract them, neutered dogs are easier to train.
  • A longer life  Dogs that are neutered live longer than dogs that are not neutered.

Should you breed your dog?

People who breed dogs should know how to:

  • Study dogs’ pedigrees to find the desired characteristics to improve your dog’s breed and avoid undesirable characteristics
  • Meet the dietary requirements of a pregnant bitch
  • Assist during labor if necessary
  • Take care of young puppies
  • Match each puppy with a suitable owner

Most of us don’t know enough to be able to help produce healthy puppies with the best chances for a long life. Dogs benefit by having professional, knowledgeable dog breeders make selective breeding decisions and provide specialized care.

The best age to neuter a dog

The best age to neuter dogs is at six months of age or younger, before they reach sexual maturity. Some breeders and veterinarians recommend neutering dogs at eight weeks of age. The surgery procedure is simple, and younger puppies may handle surgery better than older ones.

Once the behaviors associated with sexual drives start, they may continue even after male hormone production is stopped. Neutering eliminates some of the unwanted behavior in mature dogs, but it doesn’t stop it completely in all dogs. Sexual aggression in dogs is best avoided by having dogs neutered before they reach puberty. The aggression doesn’t become part of their personality if dogs are neutered young enough.

If your dog has prostate problems and isn’t neutered, having him neutered at any age is one method of treating the prostate problem. After the production of testosterone is stopped, swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland goes down.

Neutered dogs are just as playful as they would be if they weren’t neutered. They aren’t any more likely to become overweight. If they’re neutered before they reach six months of age, they may become bigger than they would otherwise have become — without testosterone, bones keep growing for longer. If a dog is neutered before he has a chance to breed, you’re also helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies and possible future animal shelter residents.

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