What are the effects of having your dog neutered?

April 13, 2012

Should you or should you not neuter your dog? Advocates of programs that address the burgeoning numbers homeless pets would surely urge you to have procedure done on the pet if you have no plans to breed in the future. Pet owners that have noticed unwanted effects of the neutering procedure on the behavior of the pet would advise you not to submit the dog under the blade of the vet. Of course you also need to consider the cost of the procedure. Although the cost is a onetime expense, it would still be a burden for a pet owner with a tight budget.

Neutering is a surgical procedure that alters a dog’s ability to reproduce. In female dogs, the surgical procedure that removes the uterus and ovaries is called spaying. In male dogs, the removal of the testicles is called castrating or neutering. Both these procedures that de-sex dogs are collectively known as neutering. The first and foremost reason why dog owners would have the pet neutered is to prevent accidental pregnancies. Every year, thousands of homeless dogs have to be put to sleep. Majority of these unfortunate animals are products of accidental matings. Neutering though has many other favorable effects on the behavior and on the health of the pet.

Testosterone is blamed for all the unwanted characteristics of dogs. Since the level of testosterone is significantly reduced with the removal of the testicles, the dog’s aggression is decreased. Neutered dogs are less aggressive to other dogs and animals and to humans as well. Dogs have different personalities. From breeds known to have a calm personality, one individual can show a highly aggressive and an unmanageable temperament. Instead of putting the dog to sleep, owners have resolved the concern by neutering the pet. Intact male dogs would be very difficult to confine once the airborne pheromones of a female dog is sensed. If ever the owners managed to confine the dog, it would disturb the family and the neighbors as well with the whining and howling. All these unwanted behaviors can be prevented if the pet is neutered as the chemical attractants of female dogs in heat would have no effect on the neutered dog. During the heat period, a female dog would have bloody discharge that would soil the carpet or the upholstery. The need to clean the mess will be eliminated if the dog is spayed. A more important effect of spaying is the prevention of life threatening complications associated with pregnancy.

Neutering has the effect of preventing a number of health concerns. As the testicles are removed, the occurrence of testicular cancer is prevented. In female dogs, the development of pyometra and other uterine infections are prevented as well. The risks for prostate problems and perianal tumors are significantly reduced. The growth of benign and malignant perianal tumors is stimulated by testosterone. As the level of testosterone is lowered in neutered dogs, the risks for these health concerns are considerably lessened.

Neutering though has some unwanted effects. This surgical procedure requires the dog to be anesthetized and although uncommon, a negative reaction to anesthesia can endanger the life of the pet. Obesity is another concern owners of neutered dogs have to face. We know about the health concerns that can develop in obese dogs. Neutering is also associated with urinary incontinence. Urine leakage is a condition that is common in neutered dogs. Due to the removal of the testicles in male dogs and the uterus in female dogs, the level of production of estrogen and testosterone is expected to decline. These hormones maintain the tone of the urethral sphincter muscles that act as valve that controls the flow of urine.

Neutering is a surgical procedure that has become commonplace. The advantageous effect on the behavior and health of the pet far outweigh the few disadvantages.

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