If you’ve ever seen The Price is Right, you’ve heard about spaying and neutering your pet. Five days a week the past host, Bob Barker, would sign off every episode by reminding us to spay or neuter our pets.
But is it completely necessary? Are there benefits or drawbacks to neutering? Also, when should you neuter a dog?
Continue reading below as we discuss multiple aspects of neutering your dog.
What is Neutering?
Often, people use the terms spaying and neutering to mean the same thing but on animals of different sexes.
The term neutering comes from the Latin word neuter, meaning of neither sex. The term more correctly applies to both sexes and is the most common method of sterilizing animals.
For female pets, neutering involves abdominal surgery where the vet will most commonly remove the animal’s ovaries and uterus. Some vets have their own likes when it comes to what is removed with one leaving the uterus or one ovary, but this is less common. The easiest and therefore most common process involves surgically removing the uterus and ovaries.
For male animals, the most common method of neutering is simply to remove the testes. Castration is the easiest method, though animal psychologists believe that an animal will suffer the mental loss of their testes. This has led to alternatives, like the vasectomy. This process allows the dog to keep their testicles but will still render them unable to bear pups.
There are other alternatives to neutering that have come up. Some involve injections, some involve other forms of surgery, but these are rather uncommon. Most animals that come from a rescue and have been neutered have had the easy and more traditional method performed.
What are the Benefits of Neutering?
The immediate benefit from neutering is that your dog cannot produce puppies. As the pet owner, this is probably one of your biggest concerns, though there are other benefits your pet gains from being neutered. Here are some of the extra benefits for you and your dog.
Neutered Females Live Longer
A neutered female is less likely to develop uterine infections and breast tumors. This affects about 50 percent of unneutered dogs. The best protection comes from neutering before their first heat.
Neutered Males Don’t Get Testicular Cancer
Since the testicles are removed, you basically remove their ability to get this common form of cancer.
Dogs Exhibit Less Aggressive Behavior
Male dogs who are intact will do almost anything to get to an accepting female. This means they might be digging under your fence, climbing over, or otherwise destroying your property. A neutered male is less likely to exhibit this behavior since their drive to mate has also been removed. Males will also be less likely to mount after neutering.
Misconceptions of Neutering
While neutering is responsible for keeping many animals off the streets, there have also been some wrong ideas about it.
- Neutering makes a dog overweight – Many people believe that neutered animals are more likely to become overweight. The truth is that a dog who is given a healthy and appropriate diet will not become overweight. It’s up to the owner to decide how much food to give their animals. A neutered male will have less testosterone, and therefore will need less calories. Diet and exercise are the key factors to a dog’s weight.
- Neutering will make your dog a mope – People seem to think that neutering your dog will relegate them to a life of lounging around and chewing on your slippers. The truth is that each dog responds to the process in their own way, but the procedure will not remove their want to play with you.
When to Neuter a Dog
If your dog is healthy, you can neuter them any time after two months of age. Though, a two-month dog is somewhat young. Most veterinarians suggest neutering between six and nine months of age. This is the perfect window of a young pup who has the fortitude for the procedure, but they are also old enough to be developed fully.
Even adult dogs can be neutered at a later age, but there is a great risk of complications. The same is true of dogs that have health problems or are overweight.
How to Care for Your Dog After Neutering
You’ve gotten your pup home from the vet and they are probably pretty interested in their incision. Your vet will have the best advice for how to deal with your dog, but there are a few things you should also consider.
- Keep it quiet – Your dog just had a major surgery. This means they will need time and a place to recover. Make sure you have a nice quiet place for your dog to relax.
- No exercise – Your vet will likely make a recommendation on for how long, but you want your dog to skip exercise for at least a few days. Some vets suggest up to two weeks after surgery. The last thing you want is for them to get excited and bust their stitches.
- Keep it clean – Don’t let your dog lick at the wound. This is their natural reaction to having been injured, but it’s also a great way to cause infection. Be sure to distract them with lots of attention and treats, or they may need an Elizabethan collar to protect their wounds.
- No baths – Going along with preventing infection, you don’t want to submerge the wound site. Most vets would recommend skipping a bath for two days after neutering. This gives the wound time to properly heal.
- Check for healing – Check at least daily to make sure your dog’s wound is healing properly. If you see signs of redness, swelling or discharge, contact your vet immediately.
If your dog starts acting strangely, stops eating, begins vomiting or having diarrhea, you should also call your vet. You should also ask your vet if they recommend pain medication before you leave their office. They’ll likely give you some medicine to last a few days immediately after, but just make sure you’re informed. You should also never give human medicine to a dog, so make sure you have spoken to your vet about what they recommend first.