So, Bobby, your puppy, is growing up healthy and strong. Great, congratulations! Bobby, however, seems to have developed an ‘itch’ that he scratches by humping your leg, his pillow, the cat, or anything else he can scratch his ‘itch’ on. Besides that, Bobby is lifting his leg all over the place!
Please do not be upset. Bobby is not a bad puppy. In fact, Bobby is perfectly healthy. His hormones, however, are all over the place as he is entering adulthood. He is in a place where his sexual urges are running rampant, while he feels the need to ‘mark’ his territory in order to keep other dogs away.
Now, either you can let Bobby develop naturally, or you can choose to have him neutered. Neutering solves most of the problems, although, as with most things, there are some cons attached to this process as well.
The neutering process
Whether you want to call it castration, de-sexing, or neutering, the end result, after the deed, is a puppy that will never have children. He will no longer be able to become a father. But what happens during this procedure, exactly?
Do not feed your dog the night (after 8 pm) before his surgery as a general anesthesia is needed for the operation. Feed him a small meal earlier in the evening because a large meal after 8 pm causes vomiting or inhalation of the vomit. The result is a restricted airflow or pneumonia due to bacteria entering the lungs.
If bathing is needed, do so before surgery. You will not be able to do so for two weeks after the procedure – you do not want to get the stitches wet.
The veterinarian conducts an examined to determine your pet’s health. If all goes well, the operation commences. Make sure to supply your veterinarian with all your dog’s relevant health issues, if there are any.
Your pet receives a premedication drug, calming him. It makes anesthesia an easier process, helps with post-op pain, and reduces saliva production during the procedure. A tube inserted into the sleeping dog’s throat allows the administration of any anesthetic gas if needed.
The skin around his scrotum is prepared by shaving and cleaning with an antiseptic. The veterinarian makes an incision into the scrotal sac in order to get to the testicles. Both testicles are removed through this incision, blood vessels tied off to stop bleeding, and the skin sutured. This sounds simpler than it actually is.
The post-operation process
Discharge is a few hours after the surgery, as your dog needs to recover. Keep him quiet, preferably in a room by himself or his crate. He will be fine within eighteen to twenty-four hours.
Confinement is not only for his benefit. He may act grumpy and out of sorts as an after-effect of the operation. Keep him still, and help when he needs to go to the ‘bathroom’. He may be a bit dizzy and wobbly on his feet.
If he has dissolvable stitches, you need not visit the veterinarian to have them removed. If not, or if staples were inserted, these need removing between seven to ten days after the operation.
Supply him with plenty of water. Few dogs have an appetite after surgery or may vomit. Do not feed him too much after returning home. Let him sleep things off first.
Do not allow him any strenuous activity for at least ten days. His wound has to heal.
The risks associated with neutering
Neutering is not an invasive operation. The operation itself carries little to no risk. Anesthesia poses a greater risk to the dog’s health than the operation itself. The liver and kidneys soon remove any traces of the anesthesia from his body. He could have some pain, but the veterinarian would most likely supply you with some pain medication for the first few days.
What is the right age to neuter a male puppy?
Any time after eight weeks old is fine. The recommended age used to be six months, but this has changed. Your veterinarian knows the right age for your breed of dog, so consult him on this.
Dogs neutered before the onset of puberty (at about five or six months) are usually slightly larger.
Adult dogs can also be neutered, but there is a higher risk of complications.
The positives of neutering your puppy
- There is a smaller territory-marking tendency.
Male dogs, by nature, lift their leg all over the place, even inside your home, to mark their territory and keep other males away. Neutering reduces this behavior.
- There is less risk of an attack on your boy.
As he does not pose a high risk, other, unneutered males, are less likely to see him as competition for the ladies’ affections.
- There are health benefits.
Your dog stands less of a chance of developing testicular cancer and prostate problems.
- He loses his sex drive.
Male dogs tend to hump anything they come across, such as your leg, a pillow, a toy, your couch… A reduced sex drive means those urges do not come along. Also, he does not try escaping from your yard to visit every female in heat.
- A reduction in dominant and aggressive behavior.
A dog with dominant genes stays dominant. The same goes for one with aggressive genes. It is an inborn trait. However, due to the loss of testosterone, most aggressive or dominant dogs become less so.
- It curbs the dog population.
There are many dogs out there that are homeless or who are ill-treated. They are not bad dogs and did nothing to deserve the lives they lead. Many dogs land up in the pound, unwanted, unloved, and with nowhere to go. You do your part in preventing this when your dog is neutered.
- Neutered dogs tend to live longer.
The negatives of neutering
Neutered males stand a chance of becoming obese. Exercise takes care of this, however, as does the correct feeding.
- He can never breed
This depends on your outlook. Is your dog a champion? A pedigreed stud? If not, where is the argument?
This depends on where you look, of course! He will be missing a little bit. Neutered males are also slightly larger in build than ‘intact’ dogs.
- He may develop certain health issues
Some neutered males develop health problems such as geriatric dementia and hypothyroidism.
The cost of neutering a dog
The cost associated with neutering your puppy depends on a number of factors. These include your location, size of your dog, the risk factors (e.g. state of health), and where it is done. Certain veterinarians and animal clinics charge around $200, while the Humane Society or low-cost clinic charges between $45 and $135. It suits your pocket to ask around.
To neuter, or not to neuter, that is the question! Only you, as the dog’s owner, can answer it. Do you want a well-behaved, well-socialized dog displaying less dominance and aggression? Or do you want a breeder, carrying on his line? At the end of the day, both answers, either yes or no, have their positives and their negatives attached. You are the one to decide!
Before you go, have a look at this relative video: