The Chop or not?

19 Apr

As you are aware i have had both Maya and Max neutered within the last few weeks. You will also be aware of how hectic life has been since, but i figured it would be worthwhile providing some information about neutering your dog. This is all from a post i did a while back, but the information still stands.


What is neutering?

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.


The procedure:

Obviously this partly depends on whether you have a bitch (who needs spaying) or a male (who needs castrating). Whether you have a male or female, your dog will need to be anaesthetized (go to sleep). Due to this reason, you will be asked not to give your dog any food after around 8pm the night before (yep, i’m pretty sure they do get hungry). You will also be asked that your dog has his/her water bowl removed the morning before. The reason behind the no food rule, is because it decreases any chances of your dog vomiting during surgery (something that you obviously don’t want to happen).

Males: Luckily the procedure for your little man is a lot simpler than for a female. The vet will make a very small incision in the skin, just in front of the testicles. The testicles are then moved up under the skin and removed through the tiny slit (Max has a “wound” approximately 1cm long, although obviously he is little anywhere so size will vary). That’s pretty much all there is to it. Your dog will then be stitched up (these are often internal nowadays) and then monitored whilst he recovers from the surgery.

Females: With your girl, the vet will make the incision in the center of the animals abdomen. This will be a larger “wound” than with males (usually around about 5cm, but it depends on the dog). Once the uterus and ovaries have been located, the blood vessels will be clamped so that no bleeding occurs and then the uterus and ovaries can be removed. Again, your dog will be stitched up and monitored.


     Maya feeling groggy after her operation, but Max was there to take care of her.


photo (7)

Max got a cone too! The reason he was neutered so early was because he desperately needed his dew claw removed (hence the bandaged leg).




This depends a little on the dog. You will be told to keep your dog quite and give plenty of rest. Also to avoid strenuous exercise and keep the dog on the lead. To be honest, this is the most difficult thing i have ever ecountered with the dogs. Whilst you know that they need to remain calm, they feel perfectly normal after a couple of days and think its perfectly acceptable to charge around and wrestle with each other.

There is also the importance of keeping the area clean (your dog may require antibiotics and/or anti inflammatory). They must also be refrained from licking, hence the “cone of shame”.

I’m not gonna lie, it is hard work!


When you need a break from the cone, an old t-shirt works great.


When to get it done:

Wherever you live and whoever your vet is, there will be variations to the guidelines. Generally speaking, younger animals tend to recover better from the anesthetic and are easier to operate on. Also, as the dog ages, the benefits of neutering reduce.

In males, the UK tend to advise that you wait until they are 6 months old. This means that they have entered the dog equivalent of puberty, will be of a good size and started to exit puppyhood. However, Max is not yet quite four months old and my vet said that he was able to be neutered early (for various reasons).

With female dogs, there seems to be even more variation. Generally speaking, it is suggested that females should be spayed once they have reached six months old. Some vets will say that there is no need to wait until your bitch has had her first season. However, depending on the size of the dog, it may be beneficial to wait as it can effect bone growth and other issues. If this is the case, it is usually advised (as with the case of Maya) that you wait until three months after her first season. This ensures that there is nothing going on within the uterus/ovaries and everything is stable for operation.


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.


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 consider getting your dog neutered. Of course, its entirely up to you, the question is, to chop or not?


Some websites to look at:


5 Responses to “The Chop or not?”

  1. jackiewriting April 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    As you may remember I have 2 rescue/rehomed bitches, Molly the Border Collie (9 years old this summer) and Bonnie the Staffie (now 5 years old). While I was working, I had Bonnie spayed first as she suffered terribly with her seasons (and so did we!) and I intended to have Molly done next in the middle of her seasons. That was nearly 2 years ago, I had Molly booked in but then lost my job due to ill-health and had to cancel as I could no longer afford it. I’m still not working, but every time I almost save enough money to get Molly done another big bill comes in or something needs replacing.
    I totally agree that all dogs should be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancy and over-breeding.
    I have heard about the benefits to health, but Molly though is still very slim and active for her age, where I’ve seen a lot of Collie bitches grow fat, old before their time and grumpy. Maybe it’s just her temperament that means she’s still youthful and full of beans? I don’t really know, but I do still intend to get her done as soon as I can, as long as the vet thinks it’s advisable.

    • taylorr1991 April 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. That’s a shame that Bonnie had bad seasons, at least all is well with her now though. I would be interested to know if she suffered at all with the aftercare? Maya was apparently allergic to the stitches and so had to have a course of antibiotics (and generally the healing period has taken a little longer). How did Bonnie get on with staying calm and resting?

      I completely understand where you are coming from with the money situation. At the end of the day getting your pet neutered may not be the most important cost to shell out at the time. The overall process does cost a lot of money.

      I am wondering if perhaps getting Molly neutered at her age would be less of an issue. Obviously older dogs mean a higher risk to the surgery, and if you are finding that she is healthy, happy and problem free it may not be as important (perhaps it is just the unwanted pregnancy issue).

      I have heard the same thing about spayed bitches putting on wait. It would make sense that it varies between breeds, ages and individuals. Although having them spayed does not mean they will become overweight, there is an increased risk (basically just be careful with their diet and exercise).

      Thanks again for your comment, i hope i haven’t rambled too much! I am just trying to get back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging!

      Hope everyone is well and full of beans your end, Maya and Max send Bonnie and Molly lots of licks!

      • jackiewriting April 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

        Apart from crying all the way home from the vets and staying on the sofa for several hours, Bonnie sailed through the aftercare! She didn’t touch her stitches, and didn’t need any further treatment thankfully. It was a little hard to stop her from running around too much and jumping onto the settee with me (although she did like being lifted about and babied!) but there were no problems with her.
        I thought the same thing about Molly – is it worth the risk now? Especially as she is so fit & healthy, our garden is secure and I’m always with her when we’re out, so there’s very minimum risk of her getting ‘caught’. Maybe it’s something I’ll have to consider, and talk to the vet anyway before I go ahead..
        We’re all well here thanks, my younger daughter starts her new job on Thursday and I’m in the middle of decorating – aargh! Hope you’re all ok too – I know what you mean about getting into the swing of things with blogging, it’s not as easy as you’d think!
        Woof woof from Bonnie and Molly!

      • taylorr1991 April 23, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

        Aww well done Bonnie! Maya cried a lot in the night, we had to take turns for a few days sleeping with her down stairs. Once she felt better though it was a nightmare keeping her from chasing around and as you say, jumping around. Max didn’t help the situation either!

        Hmm, definitely talk to your vet about Molly. I would imagine that as long as you are super cautious when she is close to, during and just finished her season (which i am sure you are), the risk might not be worth it.

        Oh thats good to hear! I am hoping to be offered a job at the end of the week. Hopefully it will be a good week for us all!

  2. jackiewriting April 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Poor Maya! Glad she’s ok now though 🙂 Good luck with the job offer – let us know!

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