All you need to know about the risks and benefits of neutering dogs.
To neuter, or not to neuter, that is the question. When it comes to make a call on whether or not to spay or neuter your dog, the final decision rests with you.
But before you decide on whether neutering dogs is a good idea – an estimated 5 to 8 million animals are euthanized in shelters across the US every year.
And if that’s not enough of an eye opener think about the health benefits to your dog. Neutering dogs has been shown to greatly decrease the risk of a number of serious illnesses, including various cancers.
Still not convinced? Worried about the risks, or the cost involved?
Read on to find answers to the most common questions about spaying and neutering dogs.
What are the benefits of neutering dogs?
For starters, there are the health benefits. Spayed and neutered dogs are less prone to a number of major diseases. You’ll also have a calmer more balanced pet – particularly around heat cycles! Then there’s finding homes for the puppies, and depriving a shelter dog of a home – euthanasia is currently the number one killer of dogs and cats in America.
Is it okay to spay a dog while she’s still a puppy?
The American Veterinary Medical Association supports the idea of early spaying or neutering dogs as young as 8 weeks. For some small breeds it may have to be done a bit later, but early neutering has a number of benefits, including a faster recovery time.
Should I let my dog have a heat before I spay her?
Actually, the reverse it true. Medically, it is better to spay your dog before her first heat. For one thing, it greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors.
Isn’t it better to let my dog have a litter before I spay her?
This is a fallacy. Medical evidence suggests that it is in fact beneficial to spay a dog before her first heat. It’s an easier surgery, and recovery is quicker.
Also, there’s the issue of finding homes for the puppies. And every puppy you place in a home means a pup currently in a shelter will not be adopted and may end up being euthanized.
If that’s not enough, how well do you know the people you give puppies to? Will they have the pups neutered or allow them to breed and have more unwanted litters?
I want to have my dog neutered but I can’t afford it. What can I do?
There are plenty of low-cost options. The ASPCA keeps a database on its web site. You enter your zip code, and it will give you all the options close to where you stay.
I’ve heard that neutering dogs makes them become obese. Is this true?
It is as easy for an unneutered dog to become obese, as it is for one that is neutered. Feed your dog a balanced, portion-controlled diet, and exercise your dog regularly, and you won’t have a problem.
Will my dog stop running away from home if I neuter him?
Firstly, whether your dog has been neutered or not, it is important that your dog has no opportunity to escape from your property. It’s dangerous, both for your dog and people or other dogs he encounters.
Having said that, neutered dogs are less inclined to wander as they are not looking for females in heat. But neutering per se won’t stop your dog from escaping given the opportunity.
If I spay or neuter my dog, will it stop him from guarding my house?
There is no connection between spaying or neutering a dog, and its ability or desire to protect you.
When you consider that many police canine units spay or neuter their dogs, I think it should answer your question.
Will neutering stop my dog scent marking all over my house?
If the marking is due to territorial behavior, then yes, neutering will almost definitely put an end to the problem. However, there may be other health or behavioral issues involved.
Does spaying or neutering a dog have any health benefits?
Absolutely. Neutering dogs has been shown to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the risk of a number of serious canine diseases, including mammarian and testicular cancers.
In general, spayed and neutered dogs live longer, happier, healthier lives, so neutering dogs deserves serious consideration.