Pros and Cons of Neutering a Dog

There are very few downsides to this practice if it's done at the appropriate age
Pros and Cons of Neutering a Dog

Last update: 28 February, 2018

While many owners don’t agree with this decision, the truth is that neutering a dog can be beneficial, for both the physical and emotional health of the animal. Find out more in the following article.

Neutering prevents unwanted dogs

Overpopulation of pets is a problem in many cities. This means that millions of dogs and cats don’t have a home. Some live in a shelter, others on the street. There aren’t enough homes or families for all of them. This would be reduced with neutering.

Therefore neutering dogs isn’t something that should only to be done on stray or abandoned animals. Those that we have at home should also be neutered, as this way they won’t bring more pets into the world, thus allowing the chance  for those that already exist to be adopted.

Neutering a dog has health benefits

The recommended age for neutering a dog is between 6 and 9 months. Nevertheless, a vet can neuter a puppy as early as 8 weeks, as long as he is healthy. Adults, in turn, may undergo operation. But, as the dog ages, so do the associated risks and complications. Of course, it’s still a very simple intervention.

Regarding the benefits of neutering a dog for its health, we point out that neutered males don’t suffer from from testicular cancer. This disease is one of the causes of death in dogs.

In addition, a neutered dog won’t develop prostate problems. In the case of not neutering the dog, the organ will become gradually enlarged (as the dog grows). This may bring problems urinating. While neutering your dog doesn’t completely protect against prostate cancer, it does reduce the risk of developing it, as well as infections.

Advantages for the dog’s behavior

On the other hand, we must discuss the benefits that neutering a dog brings in relation to its behavior. As with human beings, canines also act according to their sexual hormones (testosterone). It’s worth mentioning that neutering your dog won’t change things such as happiness, kindness or the personality of the animal.

Nevertheless, there will be certain changes as far as his habits. These relate to mating. And, these changes are good for the animal (and also for the owners). For example, he will no longer urinate on something to mark his territory. This is how our furry friend releases testosterone. When the dog is neutered, he will only urinate for physiological matters, not all over the place.

In addition, those animals that are used to escaping or trying to wriggle free to find females in heat, neutering makes them much calmer. As they don’t have the impulse to roam around to reproduce, they will stay at home.

If you want to neuter your dog because it’s very aggressive, don’t think twice. Neutering decreases the potential for fighting with other animals and, in some cases, fosters socialization in environments outside the home (for example, in the park). Some believe that “social” problems between dogs are hormonal.

It’s best to neuter a dog before it reaches sexual maturity, so that it doesn’t develop unwanted habits. If your pet is already a few years old and you neuter him, it’s likely that he’ll continue with his behavior, although less pronounced.

So it’s important to know that this intervention is not a solution for behavior problems. Although it does noticeably reduce the testosterone level, that does not mean that he will never produce this hormone again. The effects of neutering will depend on the personality, physiology, and even training.

What are the downsides of neutering a dog?

Although neutering if a very beneficial process, it brings certain side effects:

  • A neutered male dog may attract those that aren’t sterilized.
  • It may grow a little taller if you operate before the growth process has ended.
  • And, it could develop two types of cancer (osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma).
  • It has a higher risk of suffering from hip dysplasia or rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament.
  • A neutered dog usually develops hyperthyroidism.
  • It could change appetite habits and be prone to obesity.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.