Neutering is a surgical procedure that is also known as ‘castration’ in males or ‘spaying’ in females. While dogs can be neutered at any stage in their adult life we generally recommend having your pup neutered between the ages of six and twelve months, depending on their breed. Larger dogs are slower to grow and develop than smaller dogs. Therefore it is recommended to neuter large breeds a little later than small breeds of dog.
Why neutering your dog is recommended
There are several reasons why vets recommend this procedure and, for the majority, it is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
Neutering your male dog means removing both of the testicles. Benefits include:
- A reduced risk of prostate problems (such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) when older
- An eliminated risk of testicular cancer
- No chance of creating unexpected puppies
- Less chance of them wandering and following females in season when off the lead. Many males go missing or get injured when chasing the scent of a female.
- A potential reduction in testosterone driven behaviours such as scent marking and displays of aggression towards other males. The earlier a male is castrated, the more likely an effect will be seen.
Neutering your female dog means removing the ovaries. Often, the uterus is also removed. Benefits include:
- A reduced risk of mammary cancer (especially if neutered before the first or second season).
- An eliminated risk of a life-threatening uterus infection called pyometra.
- No seasons. Unneutered females go into heat every six months or so, this can attract local males, as well as causing a mess within the home.
- No risk of becoming pregnant. While surprise puppies may seem like fun, they are a huge (and rather expensive) commitment and may prove difficult to find homes for. If your pet has difficulty giving birth, this can be a stressful time and may require surgery (caesarean section).
What to expect on the day
The neutering procedure itself is a relatively quick one and only takes about 15 minutes in a male and an hour or so in a female. Your pet will spend the day in the clinic as they are monitored closely by our staff while they recover from their general anaesthetic. They will go home the same day and will usually be quite sleepy. For the next couple of days, they should be fed a bland diet to prevent stomach upset. We can provide this for you if you like. Pain relief is provided for several days after the procedure and they will need to be strictly rested. Most will need either a buster collar or a surgical t-shirt to prevent them getting to their wound as it heals.
For about a week afterwards, it will be advised that your pet only be brought out on the lead for short walks to go to the toilet. Once recovered from surgery (which normally takes seven to ten days), they can return to normal exercise. Over-exercising before this can result in swelling, bruising and discomfort at the operation site.
Further neutering advice for your dog
While there is an expense involved with the surgery, this is a far lower figure than paying for the treatment of testicular cancer, pyometra or a caesarean section for example. If you are a member of our Healthy Pet Club Member, you will receive 20% off neutering.
There is a misconception that neutering an animal makes them overweight. The procedure itself does not cause obesity, but animals may exercise less and consume more calories than they need. To help prevent obesity in the years after the surgery, it is usually advised that pets are changed on to a ‘neutered’ pet diet.
Some fear that neutering their pet will change their personality, but this is simply not the case. While certain hormonally driven behaviours may be affected, the animals themselves remain the same (for good or for bad!).