To castrate or not: sooner or later every dog owner asks himself this question. It is clear that there is no universal answer. Here you will find out the major advantages and disadvantages and the right time for castration.
Many dog owners expect that castration will make the male or female dog calmer. This is indeed often observed, but there are many other effects. Here you can find out what neutering means for your dog, how much such an operation costs and when your dog should be neutered.
Difference between castration and sterilization
Before you have your dog neutered, you should know what happens during this procedure. In castration, the gonads are completely surgically removed under general anesthesia – the testicles in males and the ovaries in females. Castrated dogs no longer produce sex hormones, sexual behavior is prevented.
During sterilization, the spermatic ducts in males or the fallopian tubes in females are severed. Once an animal has been spayed, it is just as sexually active as it was before the procedure, but it can no longer father or have offspring. Neutering is more common than spaying in dogs.
How much does a castration cost?
If your dog is to be neutered, you pay the veterinary fees, the anesthetic, any additional medication and bandages required. Keep in mind that there may also be preliminary and follow-up examinations, which also cost money.
The procedure is less complicated in males than in females. With all examinations, you have to reckon with about $200 to $400 for castration for males and about $600 for bitches.
Benefits of neutering the dog
There is much to be said for having your dog neutered. The bitch can no longer become pregnant, the male can no longer produce puppies. Unplanned offspring is thus excluded. Neutering also has the following advantages.
Protection against diseases
Castration can protect against diseases. Neutered bitches are less likely to suffer from the following diseases:
- Mammary tumors (if neutered before the first or second heat)
- uterine suppuration
- Tumors of the milk crest
In addition, scientists suspect that neutered bitches are better protected against diabetes mellitus than their intact (unneutered) conspecifics. Neutering can protect male dogs from these diseases:
- testicular cancer
- diseases of the prostate
Positive changes in behavior
Dog owners often report that both males and females become calmer after neutering. And many see that as a positive. In addition, a castrated bitch does not come into heat with its side effects, such as severe mood swings. You won’t get pregnant either.
After spaying, male dogs are no longer interested in bitches in heat. They also less often jump on people or objects. Many dog owners welcome this change in behavior. Important: The castration does not change the nature of your dog, only hormone-controlled behavior.
Castration cannot be seen as a miracle cure for problematic behavior or educational errors. If you have problems with your dog’s behavior, you should always seek help from a professional dog trainer first.
Disadvantages of castration
Unfortunately, such an operation also involves certain risks. Therefore, you should definitely consider whether neutering your dog really makes sense. You should be aware of these risks.
Risk of the intervention
Neutering is a routine veterinary procedure. Nevertheless, anesthetic incidents or complications can occur during the operation. Problems with wound healing are also rare, but possible in principle.
Remember: neutering is an even more profound procedure for bitches than for males. It is therefore associated with greater pain, after all it is an abdominal operation.
Early castration disrupts biological development
Early neutering is usually discouraged. The procedure should only be carried out when the bitch or male dog is already sexually mature. Puberty is also an important biological process in dogs that should not be stopped. Bitches in particular experience a strong mental development boost after the first heat.
Note that small dog breeds mature more quickly than large breeds.
Obesity due to castration
Another disadvantage of castration: castrated dogs usually gain weight and tend to be overweight. This is because their metabolism changes and neutered dogs have different nutritional needs.
In addition, many neutered male and female dogs have a larger appetite. Castrated retrievers, cockers and beagles are particularly at risk. All dogs should be given special food after castration and get enough exercise.
Risk of incontinence
Spayed bitches of large breeds (Newfoundland, Leonberger) have a higher risk of developing urinary incontinence than spayed bitches under 20 kg. This is a major disadvantage of castration. Bitches of the following breeds also become incontinent more often than others when they are neutered:
- Giant Schnauzer
- Irish setter
Aggression towards bitches
Another disadvantage of neutering is that bitches of certain types of dogs can react with increased aggression towards other bitches. Above all, breeds with an innate protective instinct or bitches with a tendency towards social incompatibility are at risk.
Medically not a problem, but a “blemish” is that castrated dogs with a long coat can develop a puppy coat. The undercoat overgrows the shiny top coat, the dog’s coat looks shaggy and dull. Puppy fur is more common in spayed females than spayed males.
The right time for castration
It is usually recommended that dogs, regardless of whether they are male or female, are only spayed after they have reached sexual maturity. Otherwise the animals could be slowed down in their mental development. Depending on the breed, dogs become sexually mature between five and twelve months. For the right time you should pay attention to the following for bitches and dogs:
- The right time to castrate a bitch depends on her age and the time of her cycle. The castration may take place no earlier than two months after heat. Neutering the bitch before or after the first heat can prevent tumors of the mammary gland.
- Male dogs are usually spayed after they reach sexual maturity. Exceptions would be conceivable, however, in the case of certain diseases or aggressions caused by hormones. For example, testicles lying in the abdomen can be a reason for early castration.
Should I have my dog neutered?
Whether you have your bitch or your male castrated ultimately depends on your assessment. You need to know if the benefits of neutering outweigh the risks. It is important that you obtain comprehensive information about neutering, for example from your veterinarian.
Animal shelters are often overcrowded with puppies that come from unplanned offspring. Breeding should be left to responsible professionals. Even before mating, they ensure that each puppy will have a loving home.