Benefits and Risks of Neutering Dogs
Pros and Cons of Neutering
Dog owners, especially those that have a dog for the first time, may be reluctant to consider neutering their dog once he becomes sexually mature. The reason behind this reluctance may be tied to the still popular concept that dogs become "fat and lazy" once they are altered. Some owners may simply fear that complications might arise if their dog goes "under."
When it comes to neutering male dogs, safety statistics are overall very encouraging. It is estimated that chances of death due to complications when going under anesthesia are very low. Overall, neutering is a very safe routine procedure with veterinarians often neutering and spaying an average of 6-7 dogs per day.
Becoming "fat and lazy" is pretty much a myth. However, this can become true for dog owners that tend to over feed their dogs and/or refrain from properly exercising their best friend. If a neutered dog is exercised and fed wisely, he will remain slim and be a perfect picture of health.
Health Benefits of Neutering Dogs
When it comes to evaluating the future health of a dog, neutering dogs comes with a good list of health benefits. Since testicles are removed, neutered dogs will have significantly brought to an almost perfect zero their chances of suffering from testicular cancer. They also may have less prostate issues, may be less likely to develop perianal tumors and their behavior issues related to hormones may improve significantly.
Psychologically and behavior -wise neutered dogs will have a decreased tendency of roaming in search of a soul mate or being aggressive towards other competitive males. A female in estrus may be detected even miles away and an intact male will do what he can to reach her. He will charge and fight over her if there are competitors in the area. He may stray away for days and even turn down food. It is important to point out that neutering is not a miracle cure: if your dog has significant behavior issues chances are high they will still be there once the testosterone is gone especially if they are based on fear and have a history of rehearsal.
Health Risks of Neutering Dogs
With many benefits, however, truth is, not many veterinarians will reveal the chances of health risks associated with having a dog neutered. While some of these health risks may not occur in all dogs or that often, they still require attention, because they in effect do exist.
Owners of large breed dogs may not be aware of a deadly form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma presents in mostly large breed dogs, typically once middle aged to seniority. The incidence of Osteosarcoma increases if male dogs are neutered before 1 year of age. With this in mind, owners of large breed dogs should wait before neutering at the standard age of 6 months. Other possible risks are a higher incidence of hypothyroidism, senior cognitive disfunction and hemangiosarcoma.
While many vets still recommend neutering to decrease aggression, interestingly, there are newer studies showing an increase in aggression in neutered dogs.
Other Benefits to Consider
When neutering a dog, owners do an enormous favor to the over whelming pet population in shelters. Not only, by neutering, major flaws such as genetically inherited disorders such as hip displasia or eye problems are abruptly halted. While some owners may not want to neuter their male because they want to experience the "miracle of birth' or because they believe their dog is handsome, they must be humble enough to realize that they are a far cry away from becoming a reputable breeder.
Breeding takes major effort and breeding studs need to be evaluated and certified to be genetically disease free. Breeding a dog is over all an easy task but breeding responsibly is another story. Professional breeders spend enormous amounts of money and time and are popular in the show ring. They are highly responsible, willing to take back their puppies back should problems arise.
As seen neutering comes with many benefits and some risks to keep in mind. Large breed dogs prone to bone cancer should wait until 1 year old if possible. It is best to consult with a veterinarian with questions, concerns and advice on when to neuter a dog and possible complications.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli