Having a dog is an amazing part of life. They become your guardian, your companion and your best friend. You consider them to be a part of the family, and you want to do what is best for you. Many people and veterinarians will tell you that you should get your dog neutered. You may find that you have concerns about this though. Is it absolutely necessary to have your dog neutered? What are the pros and cons to this procedure? While the decision lies in your hands, you should know what the statistics and facts really are before making that decision.
The Pros of Neutering a Dog
1. Some states (or towns or cities) have laws on registering and licensing your dog. When it comes to their state of being fixed or not, many may charge higher prices. Neutered dogs usually cost less to register, because to many officials, a neutered dog poses less concern than an unneutered dog.
2. Ever wondered how to stop Rex from lifting his leg on everything? Neutering may help stop some of the leg lifting that most male dogs do. Male dogs have in instinct of dominance and territoriality. They will want to mark their space and as much as possible. Also, have you noticed that they lift their leg as high as they can? This is because if their scent is higher on an object (such as a hydrant or phone pole) other dogs will have a harder time reaching the same height, and your dog will have dominance. Neutering reduces tendencies to do this.
3. Along with the reduction of testosterone from neutering, your dog will also lose some of his dominance and aggression with you and others. Have you ever seen your dog overly protective or not listen to you until you have given a command several times? Usually they are trying to show their dominance, but with neutering, the lower testosterone levels will allow them to calm themselves and realize that you are the dominant one.
4. Just as cats will stray and wander and get frisky with the neighbor’s cats, your dog can do the same with other dogs. Neutering removes the strong urges for dogs to hump other animals, people and objects, and reduces their likelihood of straying far to mate. Again, the lower testosterone level attributes to them staying close to home too.
5. Fellas, just as you can get prostate cancer, so can your dog. Neutering your dog reduces their chances of getting prostate cancer by nearly 80 percent when you neuter them. Most dogs who are not neutered by the time they are five have that same 80 percent chance of prostate problems. Prostate problems for dogs can also include incontinence, bowel obstruction and pain, and other health concerns.
6. Ever wonder where there are so many dogs in shelters and so many strays on the streets? It is because people don’t neuter their pets. Just as with cats, a make dog can impregnate up to five females a night if they are a stray, and this can lead to the abundance of puppies and other strays. Also, breeders are at fault for continual litters of puppies being born, most of which end up in shelters, or worse. Neutering prevents over population.
The Cons of Neutering a Dog
1. Neutered dogs are at risk for obesity. Just like people, an inactive dog can get fat and lazy. Being overweight can lead to heart disease, diabetes other complications, such as joint and bone disease and breathing troubles. The loss of hormones and testosterone can make them feel lethargic or lose interest. To prevent this, interact with your dog and keep him moving. An active dog is a healthy dog.
2. Removing the reproductive portions of a male dog can upset the balance in the endocrine system. This can result in thyroid levels that become low. As with overall lethargy, lower thyroid function can increase obesity, tiredness even promote fur loss. Keeping your dog active can protect against this, but in some cases, it can be hard to overcome. Thyroid medication is available for dogs from your veterinarian.
3. Just like people, dogs can suffer from a form of dementia. They can start to forget who you are, they can forget basic commands, and they can forget their own sense of self, which can include not knowing where they are, where their food is placed, or even that they cannot go to the bathroom in the house. While this is rather rare, it is something to watch out for.
4. Neutering is considered a major surgery, and as such your dog will have to have his surgery under anesthesia. Complications from anesthesia affect dogs in the same way that it affects people. Internal bleeding, waking mid surgery infections are all possible. Death rate is less than of all procedures done nationwide, but it is a statistic that you should know.
5. Too young or too old has consequences. Consider all of the complications that we have talked about so far, and know that age also plays a huge factor in when you should or shouldn’t neuter. If you neuter at too young of an age, bone development, joint development and testosterone production they need as puppies will be severely diminished, and they can suffer from it. Waiting until they are older can also cause the above complications, but can also cause them to happen faster and more severe in an older dog.
So should you neuter or not? First, check your state laws. Some states require your dog to be neutered, not only for your dog’s safety, but for anyone else’s dog around yours too. If you choose to neuter, make sure that you give your dog ample time for them to grow into the age appropriate timeframe for neutering. If you chose not to, make sure that you take care of your dog and protect your dog from other dogs and vice versa.