Neutering dogs prevents unwanted pregnancies, reduces the risk of some diseases and can stop undesirable behaviours.
As vets, we see many issues associated with male and female dogs being left entire. Neutering dogs is also known as spaying a female dog and castrating a male dog. Just ask our friendly team for advice.
Advantages of dog neutering
Neutering can help with:
- No unwanted pregnancies
- Missing/wandering dogs – male and female dogs will go to great lengths to escape from houses and gardens to find a mate.
- Mis-mating – a female dog that has escaped for a period of time may have mated without you knowing, requiring a trip to the vets for the expensive hormone injection to avoid a surprise pregnancy. Multiple puppies to deal with and possible birthing complications/caesarian can be costly.
- Dog aggression – neutered male dogs can be less aggressive towards other males and less sexually aggressive to female dogs. We often get asked, “Will spaying calm a female dog?” – spaying female dogs can make them less aggressive towards other dogs and humans as they don’t need to compete for attention to mate.
- Undesirable behaviours – as well as aggression, un-neutered male dogs can display undesirable behaviours such as humping and cocking their leg indoors.
- Mammary cancers – very common in un-spayed bitches, 50% are malignant. The earlier your female dog is spayed, the lower the chance of these cancers occurring.
- Pyometras – very common in un-spayed older bitches. The uterus lining becomes more cystic with age, causing an environment that’s ripe for bacterial infection. When the season comes, bacteria are introduced and the uterus fills up with a toxic infection fluid, causing a very sick dog which will then need to be spayed.
- Prostate disease, gland tumours, hernias – all more common in older male un-castrated dogs.
Disadvantages of neutering
- Female incontinence – seen in some breeds more than others. Medium/large breed female dogs spayed before their first season are particularly prone. The bladder seal muscles are stronger when oestrogen is around, medication can easily treat this, however, allowing your female dog to have a season before neutering will help prevent this from occurring.
- Male nervousness – it’s thought that very nervous male dogs can be made worse by being castrated too young, as their hormones are thought to give them a degree of confidence.
- Weight gain in both sexes – reproductive hormones reduce a dog’s energy requirements so removing these can cause weight gain. This is easily overcome by reducing food portions.
- Coat changes – this is occasionally seen in breeds like springer spaniels or Irish setters.
When is the best age to neuter a dog?
Bearing in mind all of the above, here are our recommendations for the best age to neuter your dog:
Best age to spay female dogs: Small breed female dogs can be spayed any time from 6 months of age after their first season; medium/large breed bitches should be spayed between their first and second seasons. 2-3 months after the season has finished is the best time.
Best age to neuter a male dog: As early as 6 months of age for those dogs showing undesirable male behaviours (aggression, humping, cocking leg). In these cases the sooner the better or there is a chance of these becoming learned behaviours. For those dogs not showing these behaviours, any time before they become a higher anaesthetic risk (ie before 8 years old) is advised.
What happens when my dog is neutered?
Neutering is a routine procedure performed under general anaesthesia and your dog should only need to stay with us for part of the day. They will be looked after by our experienced veterinary team and state-of-the-art facilities. Your dog will need:
- to be dropped off in the morning, having had no breakfast/water; they can go home between 3-6pm.
- complete rest from exercise for 3 days, then lead-only exercise for the following 7 days.
- to come back so we can check wound healing at around 3 days and 10 days post-operation.