Neutering Your Dog - An Easy Decision?

Neutering Your Dog - An Easy Decision?

Neutering Your Dog - An Easy Decision?

castration in dogs

Is neutering the quick help for pushy and aggressive males? This is what many dog ​​owners hope for if they have trouble keeping their testosterone-charged dog under control during puberty. Also, avoiding heat bleeding in females tempts dog owners to have their dog spayed. Consequently, castration has unfortunately become a routine procedure. But does neutering really do something good for the dog?

Castration of the dog - a decision for the welfare of the animal?

It has become common practice that dogs are neutered, but a rethinking is slowly taking place, both among pet owners and veterinarians. The number of doctors neutering dogs for no good reason is dwindling, and dog owners are also questioning the measures.

A hoped-for change in behaviour is by itself not a valid reason to have a dog neutered. You may not know that behavioral problems often increase after the castration.

Disadvantages of neutering dogs

Possible downsides of castration are not always immediately apparent during the first few weeks after the operation; they can only become noticeable a few years later. The side effects can include changes in behavior and aggressiveness as well as a higher risk of tumors and other diseases.

A US study including 3.062 purebred dogs showed that neutered dogs had a two-fold higher risk of developing a bone tumor than non-neutered dogs. (1)

Another study, also from the USA, on health effects in neutered Labrador dogs found that early neutered males (up to 1 year of age) were twice as likely to develop hip dysplasia and up to three times as likely to develop lymphosarcoma (2). This may be because the castration disrupts their natural development and the dogs stop producing the important gonadal hormones (sex hormones) too early, which have an enormous influence on the animal's growth. Also, neutered dogs have a higher risk of hypothyroidism compared to their non-neutered peers. (3)

Other common side effects of castration in dogs are obesity despite an adapted food ration, incontinence (increasingly in females as well), and changes in coat with a tendency to increased undercoat, hair loss or dull coat. Also, don't forget that this is still an operation under general anesthesia. Operations are never free of risk, even if they are routine interventions. Because every intervention and every anesthetic puts a strain on the dog's organism, from which they need to recover.

Before deciding to have your dog neutered, the advantages and disadvantages should be weighed carefully. If you are unsure, talk to a trusted veterinarian. It also doesn't hurt to get a second opinion from an animal health practitioner.

Reasons for neutering the dog

It cannot be denied that in some cases a castration is necessary and offers the furry friend a better quality of life. Some males tend to have a very strong sex drive (hypersexuality), so that they suffer a lot from their situation. This can be accompanied by excessive aggressiveness and marked behavioral changes in the presence of females in heat. At a certain point this can be a valid reason for intervention. Other medical reasons for neutering are:

Medical reasons for males:

  • Undescended testicles
  • Prostate disease
  • Testicular tumors / perianal tumors
  • Dam breach

The removal of the sex organs in males has a very high probability of preventing tumor formation on the testicles and anus. Both prostate enlargement and perineal fractures, which can occur in non-neutered dogs due to slackening of the connective tissue in the perineum, are less common in neutered males. In addition, according to comparative studies, neutered males have a higher life expectancy.

There are also medical reasons for neutering females. Apart from the unwanted increase and regular blood flow, this prevents pseudopregnancy and tumors in the genital organs. The risk of developing breast cancer is significantly lower in neutered bitches.

Medical reasons for spaying in females:

  • Pyometra (uterine suppuration)
  • Sham pregnancies with behavioral problems
  • Tumors of the ovary or uterus
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Diseases that are influenced by sex hormones such as diabetes mellitus, vaginal tumors, hormone-related skin diseases
  • As a prevention of mammary tumors

How does neutering work?

Castration is an operation under anesthesia. As a rule, the owner brings his dog to the veterinary practice or clinic early in the morning on an empty stomach. Finally, the patient is taken to the operating area.

First the anesthesia is initiated. Most vets use inhalation anesthesia as it is the safest form of anesthesia. The dog is monitored during the induction of anesthesia and also during the entire operation by the medical team and connected machines.

Castration procedure for males:

In males, the testicles are removed through a small incision. The scrotum recedes after a while, so it is not necessary to remove the scrotum. It would only result in a larger incision with a longer healing period.

Castration procedure for females:

In females, the operation can be a bit more complex, as both ovaries and fallopian tubes have to be cut. In some cases, the removal of the uterus can also be useful. This is decided depending on the case and the patient's condition.

If only the fallopian tubes are severed, the procedure is no longer a castration, but a sterilisation. Castrated females will no longer be in heat, pregnant or pseudo-pregnant. On the other hand, sterilized females remain in heat even if they can no longer reproduce.

After the procedure, the dog will be monitored for a while to make sure that the anesthesia has no consequences. In the afternoon, the furry friend can usually be picked up. The vet supplies painkillers so that the dog hardly feels the wound healing.

It cannot be ruled out that the dog may still be slightly numb for the rest of the day and be a bit wobbly on his feet. That should subside the next day. If you want to have your dog neutered, you should be aware that this is also a surgical procedure. This includes syringes, anesthesia and also a short inpatient stay with subsequent medication.

A castration or sterilisation should definitely be discussed with a trusted veterinarian and the advantages and disadvantages should be considered carefully.

Alternatives to neutering the dog

There is now a well-tested and frequently used castration chip for males. This chip is a good alternative to surgery, so you can test in advance how the dog would behave if they were neutered.

The chip contains an active ingredient that is released and renders the male unable to reproduce. There are hardly any side effects and the duration of use can be limited to 6 or 12 months. This is particularly recommended as a test for all dog owners who want to neuter their dog because of behavioral problems.

A similar chip is available for bitches, but the effect has not yet been well proven and not much can be said about the side effects. Therefore, the chip is rarely used for bitches.

Neutering chip


An alternative could be the “birth control pill,” a preparation that suppresses the dog's heat. However, effects and side effects have not been researched well enough here either. An accumulation of malignant tumors on the mammary glands has also been associated with this treatment. We therefore do not recommend this application.

Natural means of calming the dog

If fear, aggression, rivalry or hyperactive behavior are the reasons why you want to neuter your dog, you can first try to calm your furry friend using natural means.

Natural herbal mixtures have a relaxing and balancing effect and are made from tried and tested medicinal plants. AniForte® Calm & Relax is such a traditional blend of herbs and contains only purely natural raw materials such as valerian, hops, lemon balm and passion flower.

Bach flowers are also a good way to soothe your dog's behavior. Bach flowers for dogs are available for different behavioral problems. They have no side effects and are a good support for restlessness, aggression, fear or in unfamiliar situations.

Hemp products: Hemp has been making a comeback as a natural sedative for some time, in both humans and animals. In addition, hemp contains many minerals, important fatty acids and useful protein building blocks that have a positive effect on the health of your dog. Hemp biscuits for dogs are a practical alternative to oil and powder and can be given as treats.


Spaying and neutering the dog often sounds simple and, if possible, killing several birds with one stone. However, it is only a good idea in a few cases. The thought pattern “You would be doing something good for the dog” is no longer applicable due to increasing scientific knowledge and should be reconsidered. We recommend to do a thorough research on the subject of castration in dogs before the final decision can be made. That can only be viewed individually. Veterinarians should focus less on the financial gain on this topic and more on the wellbeing of the dog.


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