Most people think of spaying or neutering as an act which prevents unwanted puppies from being born.
It also keeps the pet population down by decreasing the number of animals in shelters.
Myth #1 – Spaying and neutering will make my pet lazy.
This myth has been around since the days when owners would keep their pets locked up indoors during the winter months because they thought it was too cold outside for the animal to go out.
Nowadays, most people realize that this isn’t true.
If you take your pet outside for play time, she’ll be just as active as she ever was before.
The only thing that could possibly change is her behavior around other animals.
Myth #2 – Spaying and neutering will make my pet aggressive.
Just like with Myth #1, this one doesn’t hold up very well.
There have been several studies done on the subject of aggression, and none of them came up with any real evidence to back this claim up.
In fact, some studies even suggest that spaying and neutering may actually decrease aggression levels in certain breeds of dogs.
Myth #3 – Spaying and neutering will make my pet lose its sex drive.
This is another one of those myths that is based primarily on superstition.
Some people believe that if you remove the testicles, your pet won’t want to mate anymore.
That isn’t true at all.
Testosterone is what makes a male dog horny.
Once he’s had all of his testicles removed, he’s going to be just as interested in sex as he was before.
The Myths about Neutered Dogs
However, there are many myths and misunderstandings about neutering pets.
Here are some common misconceptions about this procedure.
- Neutered dogs cannot do anything for you.
- Neutered dogs cannot play with other dogs.
- Neutered dogs cannot hunt.
- Neutered dogs cannot have babies.
- Neutered dogs cannot fight.
- Neutered dogs cannot be housebroken.
These assumptions are not true though.
A neutered dog can perform all these tasks just like their unneutered counterparts.
Let us look at how neutering affects a dog’s ability to perform certain functions.
The Truth: What Happens to a Dog’s Body After Neutering
When a female dog is spayed, her ovaries are removed and she will never be able to get pregnant again.
A spayed female dog may develop cysts on the uterus wall called uterine polyps, but these usually disappear within one year.
A male dog who has had his testicles removed (neutered) will not be able to produce sperm anymore.
He will still have the urge to mate with females, however, because his body continues to make testosterone.
His prostate gland will continue to produce fluid, so he may dribble when he pees.
While it’s true that neutering a dog decreases their chances of getting certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease, it doesn’t affect their lifespan.
The average life span for a neutered dog is around 12 years old.
In the wild, most dogs live up to ten years, while domesticated dogs often serve a much shorter time.
There are many factors that determine how long a dog lives, including whether they’re allowed outside, if they receive regular exercise, and whether they’re fed well.
If you take good care of your dog, it will probably live a lot longer than twelve years.
How Neutering Affects a Dog’s Behavior
Before we look at how neutering affects a dog’s behavior, we need to know what happens to a dog’s body after it has been neutered.
“Neuter” means to remove both testes (or ovaries) from a sexually mature male dog.
The testes are the organs responsible for producing sperm and testosterone.
If you have ever seen your dog urinate when he wants to go out, he probably had his testicles removed.
Testosterone levels drop dramatically after this procedure, but the level of estrogen increases dramatically because there are no longer any testosterone-producing glands.
In fact, some males never get their testicles back!
When a female dog is spayed, her ovaries are removed.
Ovaries are responsible for producing hormones which make the female grow hair, develop breasts, and give her the ability to become pregnant.
There are a couple of reasons why veterinarians recommend neutering dogs.
First, it reduces the risk of certain diseases such as cancer.
Second, it reduces the chance of unwanted puppies being born.
Third, it decreases the number of pets who end up in shelters.
Finally, it reduces the number of litters of puppies the owners find themselves having to raise.
For these reasons, most people agree with the notion that neutering should be done on all dogs before they reach sexual maturity.
There are some exceptions, however.
For example, some breeds may not be able to survive if they are neutered early.
Other dogs may do just fine without it.
Also, some dogs are neutered as adults, while others are neutered at one year old or younger.
Now let’s take a look at how neutering affects a dog’s behavior.
The Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog
Neutering your dog will have many benefits for both you and your pet.
Here are some of the pros and cons of neutering your dog.
Pros of Neutering Your Dog
- Reduces Unwanted Pregnancies – By neutering your dog, you can prevent her from getting pregnant. If she does get pregnant, it’ll be difficult for her to give birth normally since she won’t be able to nurse the baby.
- Decreases the Number of Animals in Shelters – Since neutering your dog will decrease the number of pets needing homes, it will make it easier for animal shelters to take in more animals.
- Prevents Aggression – Since neutering your dog decreases her sex drive, she will not become aggressive toward other animals.
- Increases the Life Expectancy of Your Pet – Although there isn’t enough research to prove this, most experts believe that neutering your dog will increase its life expectancy. Since it reduces the amount of hormones your dog has to deal with, it may help your dog live longer.
- Prevents Injuries to Your Dog’s Testicles – By removing their ability to produce sperm, neutered dogs are less likely to injure themselves during sexual activity. Because they can’t produce sperm, they cannot accidentally get an erection while having sex.
- Prevents Masturbation – Since neutering your dog will reduce her sex drive, she won’t have to masturbate as much. Masturbation is usually associated with dogs who don’t have access to females, so neutering them will eliminate this behavior.
Cons of Neutering Your Dog
- Possible Changes in Behavior – Since neutering a dog decreases its sex drive, it could cause changes in its personality. Some dogs might become more aggressive or hyperactive, while others might become more docile.
- Changes in Breeding Patterns – If you plan on breeding your dog, it may be best to wait until after she’s been neutered. The risk of pregnancy increases when a female dog has already had pups, so if she hasn’t given birth yet, she will probably need to be spayed before she can breed again. Additionally, if she has already bred, her chances of giving birth to healthy puppies decreases.
- Breeders Will Need to Take Extra Precautions – Since neutering your dog will decrease her sex drive, breeders will have to take extra precautions to ensure that she doesn’t become pregnant. They will need to use contraceptives such as condoms or diaphragms to prevent pregnancy.
- There May Be Medical Problems – Not all dogs will develop medical problems due to neutering. However, there are risks involved, especially when it comes to dogs who are older than 10 years old. Older dogs are at greater risk for developing cancerous tumors, kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?
Neutering your dog is not just about preventing unwanted pregnancies.
There are other reasons why you might want to consider neutering your dog.
It’s good for their health.
Unneutered dogs have a higher risk of developing certain diseases such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and some types of skin cancers.
They may be exposed to more aggression if they haven’t been neutered yet.
This could lead to them getting into fights with other pets or humans.
You don’t want to take on extra responsibility when you bring home a new puppy.
A lot of dogs are left alone all day while their owners work or go shopping.
You need to make sure that your dog doesn’t become bored or lonely.
A female dog who has never had puppies usually starts having regular periods around 12 months old.
If she hasn’t had puppies before then it’s possible that her ovaries will stop producing eggs.
If this happens, she won’t be able to get pregnant again.
If you live in a cold climate, you should neuter your dog because females can start to freeze during the winter.
Some breeds of dogs are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
These infections can be caused by bacteria that come from your dog’s urine.
Neutering your dog reduces the amount of urine produced and therefore decreases the chances that UTIs will occur.
You should neuter your dog if you plan on taking him/her to a boarding kennel.
The owner of the kennel will want to make sure that he/she isn’t responsible for any unwanted puppies.
Neutering your dog can help prevent behavior problems like anxiety, fearfulness, aggression, and hyperactivity.
However, spaying and neutering should be considered as much more than just preventing puppies.
Male dogs who have been neutered may still exhibit signs of their former sexual behavior.
In fact, they may even show more interest in females after having been neutered and castrated.
For example, male dogs may still want to play with balls.
They may continue to chase balls and tug at them.
If you’re worried about this happening, there are some things you can do to prevent it.
You can put your ball away where your dog can’t get to it.
You can buy a ball retriever for your canine friend so that he won’t try to pull it out of the yard and possibly hurt himself.
Another thing you can do is train your dog not to pull on a leash.
You can use a harness instead of a traditional collar.
This will help you to keep him from pulling too hard when he sees one of those plastic balls in the distance.
If your dog has had previous training issues, you might find that he has trouble learning new commands.
He may need a lot of repetition before he gets it right, especially if he hasn’t had any bad experiences with obedience classes.
It’s important that you don’t rush into neutering your dog.
Just because he has been neutered doesn’t mean that he should stop acting like a puppy.
You shouldn’t expect him to suddenly start playing fetch or sitting politely at your feet while you eat dinner.
But you should also remember that neutering is a major step in your dog’s life.
It changes everything – including how he interacts with other dogs and cats.
As long as you’ve done your research and taken your time to decide whether or not to neuter your dog, then you should know that neutering is a good choice.
It can make your dog happy, healthy, and safe.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to tie a dog again!