Desexing- Do your Dog a Favour

“You’re not serious? I just couldn’t. It’s not natural. A  man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and without ’em he can’t do it!  No way. Not my dog. He’ll turn limp pawed, fat and lazy and will lose his personality.”

Mr Johnson was not convinced that neutering of  Rambo was such a good idea. Rambo was a tough dog. He was a big, boofy cross bred dog with a chiselled brow and wide forehead, dinner plate paws and powerful jaws. Rambo had a very strong personality; bold and confident, curious and investigative and not all that pleased to be near other male dogs. He had an endless supply of liquid fertiliser which he applied with diligence to every tree and lamppost he strutted past. His head was just at crutch height, too, and he seemed to know it.

Rambo was 12 months of age and was a problem pooch. He was impossible to control around other dogs, impossible to keep in his owner’s backyard and Rambo’s developing aggression was causing his owner problems. Rambo was a good candidate for neutering.

Had Mrs Johnson been asked to describe her thoughts on desexing Rambo, her reaction would more than likely have been different.

A few years ago, I conducted a survey with the Brisbane City Council. It researched the attitudes of people to the desexing of their pets. One interesting fact that became evident was that male dog owners have different attitudes to female dog owners.

Male dog owners that own male dogs are much more likely to keep dogs entire than females who have male dogs. However, male dog owners who own female dogs are just as likely to have their dogs neutered as female owners of female dogs.  In addition, males who own male dogs are more likely to think that desexing reduces a dog’s ‘maleness’ and makes dogs frustrated. Female owners tend no to agree with that.

What are the Advantages of Neutering Pets?

The most obvious effect of neutering is that the pet will no longer be able to breed. Thousands of unwanted puppies and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters, especially in spring and summer. Many of these cute little furballs are the result of their owners being slow off the mark in having their pets desexed.

Some who own pure bred dogs will breed a litter on the assumption that they will make  additional income when they sell the pups. There could be nothing further from the truth!  Rearing puppies is an expensive and time-consuming pastime and, while it’s fun, your bank balance will be adversely affected.

There are health reasons for having dogs desexed, too.

Your desexed female will not have the strain of continual litters depleting her body of essential nutrients. She is also much less likely to develop mammary carcinomas (breast cancer) as she ages. Desexing also eliminates the occurrence of ‘false pregnancies’ – a common problem in female dogs – and she will not develop potential life-threatening infections of the reproductive tract.

When you castrate your male dog, he will lead a healthier and much more content life. Health wise, he will be less likely to develop problems with his prostate gland and the chance of the  development of tumours in the testes will be eliminated.

The biggest behavioural effect of castration is the reduction in roaming. Roaming behaviour is reduced in 90 percent of male dogs after castration. It also greatly reduces aggression of one male dog towards another male and reduces ‘leg lifting’ (urine marking)  behaviour. It will also reduce undesirable sexual behaviours such as mounting and masturbation.

What about aggression?

The effects of neutering on aggression are a little variable as there are many different types of aggression. It reduces inter-male aggression but has little effect if the aggression is fear based. If your dog is aggressive in any manner, neutering it is always a good idea. Even if it doesn’t help with the aggression, at least he will not pass his or her aggressive genes to any pups he or she may produce.

You can have your dog desexed anytime from eight weeks of age onwards.

However, most veterinarians advised delaying  neutering until the dog is a young adult, especially for big, quick-growing breeds

There is no benefit in allowing your bitch to have a litter of puppies before she is desexed. It will not make her more content. Neither is there any advantage in allowing her to have a season nor to come in heat before being desexed.

For your male dog, there is absolutely no advantage in allowing him to service a bitch before he is neutered.


What will I Need to do on the Day of Surgery?

The surgical procedure involved in having a dog desexed is quite routine. Your dog will be admitted to the surgery either the evening before surgery or onthe same morning. It is important that your dog’s stomach is empty of food.

Therefore, its last meal should be in the early afternoon of the day before. Don’t give it any bones for 36 hours before surgery either.

The surgery involves a full general anaesthetic and your vet will use a sterile surgical technique in way a doctor performs major surgery on a human. Unlike humans though, your dog will be up and about and totally normal the next day.

You will need to ask your vet to remove the sutures about 10 days after the operation, although some vets use dissolving sutures or ones under the skin which don’t need to be removed.

After your dog comes home, watch for any swelling or seeping from the surgery site and for any licking or chewing. Should any of the latter occur, contact your veterinarian for advice. Keep your dog as quiet as you can for a few days.

Have no hesitation in having your dog desexed. A neutered dog is a cut above the rest.