Why should I neuter my dog?
We want to highlight the importance of neutering your dog and why it is so beneficial for you, your dog and canine welfare in general. We truly believe that it’s ‘Nicer to Neuter’ and we would encourage every dog owner to neuter their pooch and speak to their local vet if they have any concerns about doing so.
Neutering can often have a positive influence on certain aspects of your dog’s health and can help to prevent some life-threatening illnesses.
- Female dogs can suffer an infection of the uterus known as pyometra, which can prove fatal if not treated. Their likelihood of contracting this infection increases as the dog gets older and experiences more heats. Neutering a female is the only way of preventing pyometra.
- Spaying also decreases a female dog’s likelihood of developing mammary tumours which can be cancerous and sadly fatal in some dogs.
- There are also a number of risks associated with pregnancy and whelping. Obstructed labour can occur in any breed but is more common in certain small breeds and breeds with larger heads and can prove fatal if emergency veterinary attention is not received.
- Neutering your female dog also eradicates the inconvenience and mess of your dog going through her heat cycle, roughly twice a year, for about three weeks at a time.
- Testicular tumours are common in unneutered male dogs and can be cancerous. Castrating a male dog will completely remove the risk of him developing any testicular tumours.
- Benign prostate hyperplasia is a common disease in unneutered male dogs (which causes enlargement of the prostate) and can lead to difficulty urinating or defecating.
Neutering might also have a positive influence on certain aspects of a dog’s behaviour.
- Neutering a female dog involves the removal of the main source of oestrogen and progesterone, the hormones most likely to influence behaviours related to the reproductive cycle. Neutering might therefore be beneficial in some females who appear to display boisterous behaviour and sensitivity, specifically around the time they are in season.
- In the male dog, neutering involves removal of the main source of testosterone which can influence certain behavioural traits. Neutering could possibly reduce the severity of some behaviours such as roaming, urine marking inside the home, and boisterous or mounting behaviour.
- Neutering might also be helpful in relation to training, as neutered dogs are potentially less distracted by other unneutered dogs, helping them to be more focused and well behaved, especially when out in public. For this reason neutering is also likely to be beneficial for working dogs, limiting distractibility when set to task.
The consideration given to the expense of neutering, as well as general healthcare, before welcoming a dog into your family cannot be underestimated.
- While the expense of a neutering operation may seem overly burdensome, in the long run, it’s much more cost effective than rearing an unexpected litter of pups! Considering all the costs involved with the vet alone, for example having them microchipped, vaccinated and treated for worms and fleas, medical costs can run well into the hundreds for a litter of puppies. That’s before giving consideration to any extra bedding and feeding costs or the time it takes to find the best forever homes for all the puppies.
- Any complications with a dog’s pregnancy or when she is giving birth will lead to an even greater financial burden being placed on her owner, in addition to the increased stress and upset for both. More often than not, the complications that occur during pregnancy and birth can be life threatening for the mum and extremely costly for the owner.
- There will also be a large financial cost associated with the treatment of any infections or diseases your dog might contract if they are not neutered. Many of the health risks mentioned previously can cost any where from a few hundred euro to well over the thousand mark, depending on the severity of the case.
- In 2018, Dogs Trust took in 16 litters from members of the public whose dogs had unplanned pregnancies and a further 31 litters from Local Authority pounds. Dogs Trust also cared for 27 pregnant dogs during 2018, who gave birth to a total of 165 puppies. This puts increased pressure on our rehoming centre which constantly runs at maximum capacity.
- The Dog Control Statistics for 2017 indicated that a total of 11,365 stray and surrendered dogs entered Local Authority dog pounds across the country. This highlights the worrying issue Ireland is still facing with people taking on the responsibility of owning a dog without thinking about all aspects of responsible dog ownership, of which neutering plays a big part. Society can contribute towards reducing the number of dogs entering the system by ensuring that every dog they own is neutered.
- Dogs Trust always recommends that you discuss with your veterinary practitioner the best age for neutering your dog. Neutering is typically performed around 6 months but this may vary depending on your dog’s breed, behaviour and health.
- Neutering dogs when they’re older does still provide them with many benefits, however, Dogs Trust would recommend that you neuter them sooner rather than later. Every surgery presents risks, however for older dogs and overweight dogs, the risks increase and in most cases surgery time, meaning increased cost for the dog owner.
- Dogs Trust encourages every potential dog owner to take into consideration all the health, behavioural and financial factors associated with neutering before embarking on a lifelong commitment with a dog. Don’t act now and think later.