Q. Is neutering a good idea? What are the main aspects to consider?
A. Neutering is a procedure that surgically removes a dog’s testicles for the purpose of canine population control, certain medical health benefits, and behavioral modification.
There are several pros and cons to neutering. The positive aspects of neutering include the following:
1. Reduces the risk of prostate disorders, including prostate infections, prostate cysts, or enlarged prostate tissue. It also reduces the risk of testicular cancer, perineal hernias, and perianal fistulas.
2. Reduces the risk of dominance and aggression in many dogs due to a reduction in the amount of circulating testosterone.
3. Reduces the occurrence of sexual behaviors, such as humping, urine marking, or licking of genital regions.
4. Population control – neutering prevents dogs from creating more litters of puppies that need homes.
The following are possible issues to consider:
1. Neutering is a surgery that requires general anesthesia causing slight risks involved in placing an animal under sedation and anesthesia. Performing bloodwork prior to any anesthetic procedure can help decrease the risk of complications prior to surgery.
2. There is an increased risk of neutered dogs becoming prone to obesity because of a change in hormones and activity level.
3. Neutering your dog at too early of an age can have complications.
Overall, neutering is a good idea for your dog in order to prevent population overgrowth and specific medical issues that can result if your dog remains intact. Consult with your veterinarian on the details of surgery and any risk factors based on your dog’s age and breed.
The AVMA supports the concept of pediatric spay/neuter in dogs and cats in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals of these species. Just as for other veterinary medical and surgical procedures, veterinarians should use their best medical judgment in deciding at what age spay/neuter should be performed on individual animals.