So you’ve got a male dog, a male puppy, should you get them neutered or not. Now for many years I’ve been an absolutely avid advocate of getting all male dogs neutered. I’ve been talking about it in the media and stressing the importance of that. The main reason for that is for population control, There are way too many dogs in this world and the way to stop that is to neuter and spay male and female dogs. So, that’s been the over writing reason why for many years I’ve been a very strong advocate of neutering and spaying of pets.
However, things have changed slightly and it’s important to be specific about the change and I would still be a very strong advocate of neutering of most male dogs but I would be saying this now a days, do it on an individual basis. Don’t just say blank, universal, every male dog should be neutered, when they’re six months of age. It’s different now, you have to look to the individual and why do you have to look to the individual? Well let’s look at the pros and cons of neutering of male dogs.
The pros to these, first of all, your male dog will not be able to breed anymore so you will not contribute to the massive number of unwanted puppies, that’s number one. Number two, male dogs they don’t have the same sexual habits, and what that means is they don’t do things like chasing after bitches in season, I know some male dogs who if there is a bitch in season two miles away they’ll be gone, they’ll find a way out of their home, they’ll dig a hole under a gate, they’ll spot a crack in the door when somebody is coming in and they’ll bolt so male dogs who aren’t neutered tend to run away and get themselves into trouble and cause trouble for others, so that’s the second reason, okay.
The third reason is male dogs tend to be more aggressive to other male dogs. So male dogs are more likely to get into fights and that can be troublesome for lots of people. The fourth reason is that male dogs tend to cock their leg everywhere, they mark their territory, their testosterone in their body drives them to mark their territory with urine that means they lift their leg where ever they go and I often see it here at the vet clinic, a little dog will come in and he’ll cock his leg at the door, he’ll walk on the consult table and cock his leg at the consult table. They just keep doing it, if their neutered that behavior stops, so that’s a great deal for many folk.
And the fifth thing is neutering protects male dogs from all sorts of medical conditions. Examples include testicular tumors, obviously the testicles are removed, they can’t get tumors on them anymore, inguinal hernias, and these are the hernias that happen in the groin area and perineal hernias that happen under the tail. Prostate disease, inflamed prostate gland and prostatic abscesses, it’s kind of a long list of diseases, that are prevented or minimized by neutering male dogs, indeed if dogs get these conditions one of the main treatments is to castrate them. So that’s the final group of reasons if you like why it’s important to get male dogs neutered but what about the negatives and that’s what I need to talk about now because these are some new things.
The first thing is, the male dogs who are neutered are more likely to put on weight. It’s not inevitable; my own male dogs have always been neutered and they’ve always been very slim. It’s just is that if the dog is neutered they are more likely to, so if somebody is relaxed they are prone to give their dog many treats where as they can get away with doing that often with an entire male dog, if a male dog is neutered, they are more likely to get fat. So that’s something important to realize, the second thing is that are some diseases that are more common when a male dog is neutered and examples will be an under active thyroid gland, for dogs as they get much older there is a slightly increased risk of senile changes in their brain.
Now I say that but in practice it’s an incidence which increases over tens of thousands of dogs so it’s not something that you see inevitably by any means, it’s just something they are aware of in big studies, okay. The third thing is there are some tumors which are actually more common in male dogs that are neutered in particular osseous sarcoidosis of big dogs or like giant dogs so if those dogs are neutered when they are young the incidents of those type of cancers goes up so for that reason we’re now starting to say for large breed dogs you should, if you’re going to neuter them you should wait until they are a year an a half of age.
Overall though what I’d say is this is something you should talk to your vet about because it should be done on an individual basis. There are some male dogs that people bring to me an example would be a little male terrier dog whose 8 months old and he’s cock his leg on everything, he’s humping people’s leg and they tell me that he is aggressive with dogs when he goes out. For those dogs definitely neutering is good. Somebody else brings to me a big lazy Pyrenean mountain dog whose just a big softy and he likes his food a lot so he’s already prone to putting on a bit of weight.
I’ll be saying to them, you know you haven’t got any issues with these male behaviors so this is a dog you can leave in tier. So it’s something you do need to talk to your vet about. It’s not something you should ignore, you should consider it and often is the best choice for your dog. Whereas with females it’s far more likely to definitely be the right thing to do in nearly all cases, in male dogs it’s a little bit more of a debate to have and that’s a debate to have with your vet.