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Castrating a male dog - advantages and disadvantages

It is very common to castrate male dogs. The procedure can be done in different ways, either surgically or chemically. Here we answer some of your most common questions and concerns about neutering male dogs!

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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Benefits of castration

In addition to the fact that a neutered male dog can not contribute to pregnancy and puppies, there are a number of other reasons why neutering is beneficial. Male dogs that are neutered at a relatively young age often have minor problems with behaviour related to testosterone, such as aggression towards other male dogs. However, it is important to bear in mind that not all behaviours are directly linked to hormone levels, and can instead be a learned behaviour.

Urine marking tends to decrease in neutered males, and they can avoid the stress of bitches in heat; some unneutered male dogs will become anorexic or escape when there are bitches on heat in the surrounding area.

Prostate problems are more common in older male dogs than in a neutered male dog. In addition, dogs whose testicles have been removed are no longer at risk of getting testicular tumours.

Disadvantages of castration

After castration, the metabolism of a male neutered dog decreases by about 30%. There are three things that should be done to prevent them becoming overweight: reduce the daily food allowance, change the diet to one specifically formulated for neutered dogs, and ensure that the dog gets enough exercise. Obesity can in turn increase the risk of other problems and diseases.

How to castrate a male dog?

For surgical castration, the dog is given a general anaesthetic. A small incision is made in front of the scrotum. The blood vessels and vas deferens are tied off with secure ligatures and the testicles are removed. The incision is closed with sutures, and then the skin is typically closed with surgical glue or skin sutures.

Usually the dog can go home a few hours after the operation. The dog often gets a collar to prevent them licking the surgical incision. Painkillers will be prescribed, which are fed by mouth for a few days after the operation.

If there are visible skin sutures or staples, these are usually removed after 12-14 days. If the incision is glued, the dog should still wear a collar until it has healed completely. The dog should be kept quiet and exercised on the lead; they should avoid jumping and playing with other dogs for 2 weeks.

During chemical castration, a small chip is injected under the skin on the neck. The procedure is usually performed when the dog is conscious. This method of castration lasts for 6 or 12 months, depending on the strength of the chip, but this can vary from individual to individual. It is useful to know that after the chip is implanted it is relatively common to see an increase in hormone-related behaviour in the first few weeks.

Regardless of whether a male dog has been castrated surgically or chemically, it can take three weeks for the dog to become completely sterile, and he should therefore be kept separate from bitches during this time.

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