The Benefits of Neutering

A dog that has not been neutered is obsessed with the urge to mate. He’ll either be constantly frustrated or constantly looking for satisfaction – that can get him into risky situations. If also means that he isn’t focused on you.

If your unneutered dog is a female, the chances are that despite your vigilance, she’ll suddenly, somehow, be pregnant. And, of course, the puppies are adorable, and having a litter in the house keeps everyone entertained. But they need vaccines and special food, and that can start to add up financially.

Most important, each pup needs a good, permanent home. And they’re not always to easy to find. Especially when there are already so many dogs out there with nowhere to go.

The cost of neutering may not be cheap. But neither are her baskets full of pups, or the really big fence you have to build to foil his show jumping routines. Unneutered dogs are also susceptible to a number of diseases that are not a problem in neutered dogs, and the medical bills can really begin to pile up.

Dogs that are neutered live longer, healthier lives, and make better, more enjoyable companions, says Leslie Sinclair, D.V.M., director of companion animal care for the Humane Society of the United States.

“Unless you have purebred show dog that you plan to breed as part of a well-though-out, ongoing breeding program, you really should have your dog neutered,” Dr. Sinclair explains.

Good Health Reasons:
If your dog hasn’t had the operation, all he’ll want to do is mate and breed. You might think you’ve got all exits covered, but a dog with love on his mind will do whatever it takes to find a date. He’ll make escape attempts and roam far from home in the quest for Ms. Right. There might be the chance of romance; there’ll also be lots of dangers out there on the road.

Dogs that roam are more likely to meet up with other dogs, which increases their chances of catching diseases. They also get into garbage cans, eat antifreeze and gobble down any of the other assorted goodies that their taste buds love but their stomachs can’t take. They might be struck by a car or attacked by other animals.

If your dog is running free and bites a person or harasses other pets and livestock, he could be in serious trouble, and you will be legally liable. And in rural areas, dogs that chase or kill livestock are often shot by farmers protecting their animals. A lot of cruising canines just don’t make it to retirement age.

Raging hormones also cause a few health problems that neutered dogs will avoid. Males that have been neutered won’t get testicular cancer, says Lorie Tehgtmeyer, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in Oak Park, Illinois, and a veterinary staff member of American Online Pet Care Forum. They will also have fewer problems with prostate disease.

Female dogs have even more to gain, explains Dr. Tehgtmeyer, since neutering reduces the likelihood of mammary cancer and caner of the ovaries and uterus. “Nor do they get uterine infections.” And it shouldn’t be forgotten that when they give birth, female dogs can sometimes get into difficulty.

Neutering your dog will help avoid the hormonal health worries. And it will keep him close to home, where you can keep your eye on him and make sure all’s right with his world.

Better Behavior:
If your dog hasn’t been neutered, there will be some days you’ll be tempted to give him an X and attitude and a Z for behavior. After the operation, he’ll have a personality change. Nor will he suddenly go all wimpy, boring and lazy. It’s just that he’ll tend to be less aggressive with other dogs, and other dogs won’t be as likely to get aggressive with him. No urge to battle over territory. No reason to argue about girls. That means fewer fights around your neighborhood. He’ll stop turning up on the doorstep licking his wounds and feeling sorry for himself.

He won’t be obsessed with the great escape, either. No more digging holes under the fence, or trying to run out the front door at every opportunity. You might even notice a decrease in that very unattractive quality of his, urine marking. Unneutered males feel compelled to life their legs as much as possible to send a message to other males about their territory, Dr. Paul says. Your neutered dog has other, more important things on his mind. Like you.

It’s the same for girls as for boys. There’ll be no more living with a victim of her hormones. And that entourage of eager males that she used to attract won’t be hanging around your front yard every six months with an eye to main chance. You can stop worrying about keeping her in and keeping them out. With none of that going on, you’ll both be more relaxed. And she will be more bonded with you. Neutered dogs are generally easier to be around, says Dr. Sinclair. “When a dog is not neutered, nature is telling him to put most of his energy into reproducing. When you take away that need to mate, you get a better companion.”

You also get a dog that’s easier to care for, adds Dr. Sinclair. “One study has shown that most people relinquish their dogs to animal shelters because the animals are too much work,” she says. “Further research reveals that, in most cases, these dogs were not neutered.” The reason is simple. “Neutered dogs are a lot less trouble, and so are more likely to be kept by their owners.”

The Sad Problem of Dog Overpopulation:
You’ve probably seen stray or homeless dogs wandering the streets, or children standing out in front of your local supermarket giving away puppies. In most cases, you’re witnessing the problem of dog overpopulation.

What you don’t see, fortunately, are the huge numbers of dogs that are humanely killed each year in animal shelters because they have no home to go to.

“Across the country, two to four million unwanted pets are euthanized every year,” says Dr. Sinclair. That’s a lot of unwanted dogs, with no homes. Neutering is one of the best ways of reducing the number of homeless dogs.

For the dog population as a whole, for you, and, most important, for your dog and his well-being, Dr. Sinclair believes that neutering your dog is one of the most important and responsible things you can do as a dog owner.