To neuter or not?

9 Jan

The dogs trust describe neutering as “he general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs in both male and female dogs”. That means castration for males and spaying for females.

People all have different opinions as to whether or not they should neuter their dog, so here i would like to give my personal opinion and explain a few of the pros and cons to neutering.

My Personal Opinion:

Personally, I am very pro neutering. This is probably largely due to my own experiences and upbringing, as well as my own knowledge about the pros and cons of neutering:
-all of my past dogs have been neutered. I remember that clay used to mount us and try to “hump” us before he had the chop. This is not a particulalry nice experience for children, and so i would highly recommend it for dog that will be around children frequently.
– I grew up watching animal rescue program’s and reading animal magazines which always stressed the importance of neutering. There are too many animals in shelters that need new homes, people i.e. hoarders end up with far too many animals and struggle and neutering can help reduce behavioral problems.

– I live in an area where dogs are usually let off the lead and therefore knowing that your dog cannot get pregnant, get another dog pregnant or simply run off in search of another dog makes you more confident on the walk.

I feel that unless you have a working dog, or your dog has come from an exceptionally good bloodline with amazing genes and temperament and therefore will be used for breeding, their is absolutely no need to keep your dog intact.

I have heard people complain that neutering their dogs is too expensive: to that i say, you chose to get a dog and it is therefore your responsibility. You should have thought about the costs before bringing it into your life.

Other people argue that it is cruel, or unfair: to that i say look at the benefits, its hardly cruel.

Then there is the old, “but you wouldn’t do that to your husband would you?”: this one makes me laugh. My mum pointed out to me only yesterday, that actually, you would! My dad is a prime example. They had two children and said “no more!” , off to the hospital he went.

Now for the Pros:

1. Neutering can potentially encourage calmer, more balanced behavior which would therefore make it more suitable as a family pet. This is something i remember seeing in Clay.

2. As i mentioned before, neutering can help reduce aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior  preventing fighting, mounting and destructive behaviour. Again i can use the example of Clay, before he was neutered he pulled up the lino in the conservatory, even destroying cables. Once he was neutered we never had a problem with destruction. Dogs that are neutered are also less likely to mark territory or stray.

3. Reduces the likelihood of strange behaviour in bitches coming into season (for about three weeks, twice a year). My puppy is currently in week one of her first season, and i cannot wait for it to be over. She needs long walks and running around, not to be kept indoors or restrained by the lead and only walking for a few minutes. I have promised her that this will be her first and last!

4. Prevents male dogs desperately attempting to escape and seek out a local bitch in season.

6. The are health benefits, the biggest being that it greatly reduces and in some cases completely removes the risks of some cancers in both males and females, most notable the testicular and mammary cancers.

7. Having your female dog spayed, removes the significant health risks associated with pregnancy as well as the possibility of potentially fatal womb infections (pyometra).

8. Prevents the unnecessary costs of unplanned pregnancies and raising puppies.

9. Reduces likelihood of large vets’ bills associated with certain illness and accidents caused by unruly behavior.

Cons (i would like to point out that these are harder to find):

1. The procedure can be expensive, although i would like to point out here that it would be worth asking your vet about payment plans and other schemes that you can be part of to reduce the price. For example i pay £10 a month for Maya which gives a 25% discount on her being spayed, includes all of her boosters, flea and worm medication and reduces the price of any medication she might need.

2. Loss of breeding potential (of course that is something that you would have considered when buying a dog, i assume?)

3. Studies have suggested that dogs that have been neutered require about 25% less calories. Therefore it could be assumed that dogs that are neutered are more likely to have weight problems.

4. Neutering reduces the animals drive to herd, guard, hunt and work (which is why earlier i said that i understand why working dogs are not neutered).

5.Some people worry about the procedure being dangerous; but actually it is very simple and generally has few complications.

There you have it, a list of pros and cons to neutering your dog. If you decided to get a dog as a family pet, or companion, i would suggest that you seriously consider getting your dog neutered. Of course, its entirely up to you, the question is, to chop or not?

Some websites to look at:

http://www.dogsbigandsmall.com/spayingneutering.html

http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/male-dog-neutering.html#pros-cons-neuter

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/n/neutering/default.aspx#.UO1M0m9FWAg

http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/general/neutering

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