Changes in sexual behaviour – About twice a year, when females come on heat, males and females are strongly attracted to each other and show great ingenuity in finding ways to get together and mate. This behaviour is highly likely to lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Figures also show increased risks of straying and car traffic accidents at this time. Neutering a female dog stops her having seasons and so rules out the risk of her having a litter. Remember that some can have over 10 puppies! As for castrated males, they will no longer be attracted by surrounding on-heat females and will tend to display less territorial urine marking.
Health benefits – Neutering successfully prevents sexual health conditions such as testicular, prostatic or ovarian tumours and ‘false pregnancies’. Neutering female dogs before puberty also prevents the development of mammary tumours, which are fatal in six percent of cases. Neutering therefore has not only preventative, but also curative effects since it is the treatment of choice of some conditions such as pyometra (a uterine infection common in female dogs), testicular tumours or prostatic hyperplasia (very common in older dogs). Your vet may recommend neutering your dog for other health reasons. Finally, castrating male dogs generally reduces aggression towards other males, reduces urine marking and mounting behaviours, and reduces straying.
How do I get my pet neutered?
Your vet can advise you on neutering age, the procedure best suited to your dog and appropriate nutrition; please ask your clinic for more information.
How are dogs neutered? Neutering/castration is a surgical procedure, carried out under general anaesthesia and aimed at preventing reproduction. It is an irreversible procedure: a neutered dog will no longer be able to have puppies. In males, castration consists of the removal of both testicles. This is carried out through an incision in front of the scrotum. In females, the operation consists of removing the ovaries and uterus (aka ovariohysterectomy).
When should my dog be neutered? It depends on the reason you are getting your dog neutered. If your purpose is to avoid reproductive health problems or stop reproductive behaviour, it is best to get your dog neutered relatively early, around the time of puberty. As the age of puberty is highly variable according to the size or the dog, your vet will be able to recommend the best time for the operation.
What are the necessary precautions?
Before the operation: Unless your vet instructs you otherwise, it is advisable to fast your dog for 12 to 18 hours before the operation. This time may be shorter for puppies. No specific preparation is required.
Back home: Put your dog in a quiet, dimly lit area, with clean bedding.
What if your dog refuses to eat? The anaesthetic and the hospitalisation can explain why your dog may not want to eat the next day. In female dogs, the appetite can be disrupted for 48 hours due to the longer anaesthetic. If you have any concern, do not hesitate to contact your vet.
How is life after neutering?
Lifelong changes – The genital organs secrete certain hormones (estrogens, testosterone) so removing these organs inevitably causes hormonal modifications which can have repercussions on a number of functions:
- Obesity and regulation of food intake: neutering can modify the dog’s feeding behaviour by increasing daily food intake. If not prevented, overeating will predispose your dog to obesity (neutered dogs have nearly double the risk of becoming obese compared to the overall canine population).
- Joint problems can arise as a direct consequence of animals being overweight, such as ruptured cruciate ligaments in the knees or hip dysplasia.
- Brain ageing is also more marked in castrated males than intact males.
Your vet will advise you on the best diet for your dog and the amounts to feed. Do not hesitate to ask your clinic for more information.
(by Royal Canin)