Neutering is the general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs in both male and female dogs.
- Castration is the removal of the testicles of the male dog
- Spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus of the female dog.
Reasons for neutering
Neutering may improve some behaviours in your dog. Neutering male dogs may decrease the likelihood of undesirable behaviours such as scent marking.
Neutered dogs are less likely to show certain behaviours, such as looking for potential mates or otherwise being distracted by unneutered dogs who they may feel in competition with. Neutering might therefore be helpful with training, as neutered dogs are potentially less distracted by unneutered dogs in class or when out in public.
Roaming behaviour may be increased in entire male and female dogs where a female is in season. These mate-seeking behaviours could present a safety risk, for example if your unneutered male dog attempted to cross a busy road to reach a female who was in season, consequently neutering may reduce this risk. Please speak to your vet to find out how neutering may impact your dog as an individual.
Neutering improves the overall health of your dog whether it’s male or female. It can remove health risks associated with pregnancy, some cancers and fatal infections.
Neutering can help to save money by avoiding the costs of unplanned pregnancies and raising puppies. Neutering can also prevent certain illnesses, reducing the risk of large vet bills in the future.
Your vet practice may offer care plans (pay monthly or yearly) to spread the cost of essential pet care such as flea and worming treatment, vaccinations and neutering. It’s important to note these health plans are not an alternative to insurance, which is recommended in addition.
If your dog is neutered, engrave “I am neutered” on their ID tag as it may act as a deterrent against dog theft.
Benefits of neutering for female dogs
- Female dogs usually come into season for about 3 weeks, twice a year. Around this time they can get pregnant and normally will produce a bloody discharge. Whilst in season they may act strangely by trying to run away in search for a mate so will need to be kept away from male dogs. Neutering avoids the inconvenience and mess of having seasons.
- Pregnancy and giving birth can be a health risk by putting your dog at risk of complications. Dogs can suffer from phantom pregnancies which can cause both behavioural and health problems.
- Neutering can prevent some cancers and womb infections (pyometra) which can be very expensive to treat and potentially fatal.
- Unneutered female dogs are at a higher risk of developing mammary tumours.
Benefits of neutering for male dogs
- Neutering can prevent behavioural issues such as scent marking.
- Neutered males may be less likely to show aggression towards other dogs or be the target of aggression from other dogs.
- Neutering reduces the risk of prostatic disease and certain cancers that can be costly to treat at a vet and in some cases fatal.
- Male dogs’ behaviour can also change greatly when a local bitch is in season – they may be desperate to escape, even running into busy roads or jumping from high windows – to find a mate.
It’s vital you adhere to the post-operative care advice given by your vet/nurse when picking your dog up from a neutering procedure and follow their specific guidance.
However general points to remember include:
- Check surgical sites and sutures (stitches) daily and call your vet if you’re concerned. They might advise you to send some pictures over so they can assess if the surgical site is healing well, or alternatively, they may want to see your dog if they are concerned.
- Double check whether your dog needs a follow up vet appointment - this is often free and included with the neutering package, but check with your practice.
- Come prepared with any questions about post-operative care when you go to pick up your dog from their procedure.
- A buster collar/cone might be provided for your dog as a precautionary measure to stop them licking or biting at the surgical site. Your dog can eat, sleep, and go to the toilet with it on. If they’re struggling with the cone given, you can ask your vet practice for any alternatives (which can be purchased either from vet practices or pet stores), such as a material collar, donut (soft cushion cone) or recovery suit for female dogs.
- Your dog will likely need to rest for the first few days after the procedure, and any rough and tumble play with other dogs should be avoided.
- Try to ensure your dog doesn’t jump onto, off, or over high objects such as furniture and fences. They should also avoid stairs when possible.
- Make sure to give any medication prescribed as instructed by the vet or vet nurse.
- Try to monitor your dog as much as possible for the first few days’ post procedure, follow all advice from your vet after surgery and call if you have any concerns.