What You Need to Know About Neutering Your Male Dog
Castrating (or neutering) male dogs is a common practice. 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!
Benefits of Canine Castration
The best-known benefit of neutering a male dog is to prevent his contribution to pregnancies and unwanted litters of puppies. But there are also very important behavioral and health benefits to consider.
Male dogs that are neutered at a relatively young age often have fewer problems with testosterone-related behaviors. These include aggression towards other dogs and people as well as urine marking. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all behaviors are linked to hormone levels. Many behaviors must also be managed with training and socialization.
Neutering your male dog decreases his stress when an in-heat female is nearby. A castrated male is less likely to escape his enclosure or roam the neighborhood looking for a mate.
Prostate problems are much more common in older male dogs than in a neutered dog. Also, dogs whose testicles have been removed are no longer at risk of developing testicular tumors.
Disadvantages of Castration
After castration, the metabolism of a male dog can decrease by up to 30%. Obesity can become a risk factor for other problems and diseases. However, there are three things you can do to prevent weight-gain: reduce the daily food allowance, change the diet to one specifically formulated for neutered dogs, and ensure that the dog gets enough exercise.
People are often concerned that neutering their dog will change his personality, but this is not the case! You may notice behavioral changes like those mentioned above. However, your dog’s personality traits are a product of genetics and his environment and will not change with castration.
Surgical vs. Chemical Castration in Dogs
Surgical castration is performed under general anesthesia. 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 surgery. He will need an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking of the surgical incision. Anti-inflammatory/pain medication will be prescribed to give your dog for a few days after the procedure.
If there are visible skin sutures or staples, these are usually removed after 10-14 days. If the incision is glued, the dog should still wear a collar until it has healed completely. Your dog should be kept quiet and walked on a leash. He should avoid jumping and playing with other dogs for 2 weeks.
There are a few medications that have been used for chemical castration in dogs. However, currently, there are no FDA approved products available in the United States.
Chemical castration is performed when the dog is fully awake. This method of castration lasts for 6 to 12 months, depending on the product. The effectiveness of this procedure can vary from dog to dog but seems to have the same results as surgical castration. Dogs can experience side effects from chemical castration, such as testicular swelling, scrotal ulceration, vomiting, and an increase in hormone-related behaviors 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. He should, therefore, be kept separate from female dogs during this time.
For more information on when to neuter your dog, check out the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Need to speak with a veterinarian with questions about neutering your dog or another condition?
Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.