Why you should neuter your dog

Neutering your dog is an important part of responsible dog ownership.  There are many good reasons to do so as well as many myths about the process.  This article will explain the importance of neutering and dispel some of the myths about it.

The most important reason to neuter your dog is to prevent unwanted litters of puppies.  One male dog can cause dozens of litters in his lifetime if allowed to roam while intact.  Even dogs that are in fences or in the house have been known to break out to reach a female dog in heat.  With thousands of puppies yearly being euthanized because there are no homes for them, it is important not to let your dog add to the problem.

The second important reason to neuter your dog is to protect him from testicular disease such as testicular cancer, epididymal cancer, orchitis (testicular inflammation), epididymitis, testicular torsion, testicular abscessation and testicular trauma.  Since the testicles are removed during neutering, there is no chance of your dog suffering from any of these diseases.

Neutering a dog reduces behavior problems.  Dogs are less likely to fight other dogs, hump females, human legs or toys, urinate and defecate in the house to mark it as their territory, and to guard resources such as food.  They roam less and stay near home more, reducing the risk of getting run over by a car or otherwise injured.

Some of the myths about neutering include that neutered dogs get fat.  Neutering does not make dogs fat, too much food makes them fat.  Neutered dogs have slower metabolizims than intact dogs so need up to 25% less food.  This can represent considerable savings over the lifetime of the dog in food costs.

Neutering reduces the dog’s ability to hunt, herd, guard and hunt.  There is no scientific evidence that neutering reduces the dog’s ability to work.  It might even increase that ability since the dog is not distracted by chasing females or fighting with other male dogs.

Male dogs need to have sex before being neutered and/or father a litter.  Male dogs do not need to have sex to be “fulfilled” in their life.  This is an old wives tail that has more to do with our assumption that dogs feel like humans than anything else.  Similarly, fathering a litter does nothing for the male dog and leaves a litter of puppies needing homes.

Neutering is expensive.  Neutering costs money.  However, there are many low cost or no cost spay/neuter clinics and it is possible to find one in almost every county of the country.  Having a dog get testicular cancer or one of the other testicular diseases is not only painful to the dog, but costs much more than neutering the dog will.

Neutering is risky.  While neutering is surgery and the dog is anesthetized during that surgery, it involves no cutting into the abdomen.  A small slit is made in the dogs scrotum and the testicles are removed.  This surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries by veterinarians and is very safe.

Neutering your dog helps prevent unwanted puppy litters, avoid testicular problems, and reduce behavior problems.