As the owner of a female dog, you’ve probably noticed that she sometimes seems to be “in heat.” She may be restless and agitated, and may spend a lot of time rolling on the floor and panting. Her vulva may seem swollen and red, and there may be a discharge from it.
These are all signs that your dog is in the midst of a heat cycle, a three-week period when she can get pregnant.
Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
When you first bring home your new pet, one of the best ways to give them a healthy start is to spay or neuter them.
Spaying or neutering will benefit your pet medically and behaviorally. Whether you are doing it for the greater good or for the good of your pet, spaying your female pet or neutering your male pet has many advantages.
While you can have your pet spayed or neutered at almost any time, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that you sterilize your cat by 5 months of age. This gives your cat the benefits of being spayed or neutered while still allowing your kitten time to grow.
For dogs, the AAHA recommends that small-breed dogs which will weigh less than 45 pounds as an adult are spayed before they go into heat at 5 or 6 months, or neutered by 6 months.
Large-breed dogs that will weigh over 45 pounds as adults should be neutered when they finish growing by around 9 to 15 months of age, and spayed between 5 to 15 months.
Your vet can help you select the best time, which may depend on various factors.
Neutering Female Pet Will Help Her Live Longer
Spaying your kitten when she is 3 to 6 months old will virtually eliminate the risk that she will develop mammary cancer when she's older.
Additionally, spaying your kitten prevents many different infections and cancers that occur in the uterus and ovaries.
A study of 460,000 cats and 2.2 million dogs found that spayed cats live 39% longer and spayed dogs live 23% longer than their unspayed counterparts.
Like cats, spayed dogs are less likely to develop certain cancers, as well as pyometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.
The Neutered Male Pet Will Be Healthier
Neutered dogs don’t develop testicular cancer, which is common in older dogs who haven't been neutered. They also have a lower risk of pancreatic cancer, and their life expectancy is increased up to 18%.
Neutering your cat will also eliminate the possibility of testicular cancer and decrease the possibility of pancreatic cancer.
Meaning Of Catastration
Castration or neutering of male dogs is surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy). The procedure involves general anesthesia. An incision is made just in front of the scrotal sac and both testicles are removed, leaving the sac intact.
Vasectomies are not performed since this procedure only sterilizes the dog, but does not stop the production of male hormones. It is both sterilization and removal of the male hormones that provide the behavioral and medical benefits of castration.
A chemical castration agent has been recently introduced for puppies but, although these products do sterilize dogs to prevent reproduction, they may not prevent or reduce the behavioral signs that can be achieved by castration since hormone levels are still present.
"The only behaviors that will be affected by castration are those that are under the influence of male hormones."
Does Neutering Affect Behavior Of Dogs?
The only behaviors that will be affected by castration are those that are under the influence of male hormones (see below).
A dog’s temperament, training, personality, and ability to do “work” are a result of genetics and upbringing, not its male hormones. Castration does not “calm” an excitable dog, and unless a castrated male dog is overfed or underexercised, there is no reason for it to become fat and lazy.
What To Expect With The Behavior Problems Of Dogs During The Next Catastration
As mentioned, only those behaviors that are “driven” by male hormones can be reduced or eliminated by castration. Although the hormones are gone from the system almost immediately following castration, male behaviors may diminish quickly over a few days or gradually over a few months.
Undesirable sexual behavior: Attraction to female dogs, roaming, mounting, and masturbation can often be reduced or eliminated by castration.
- Case studies show that for roaming, there was moderate improvement in 70% of dogs, with marked improvement in 40%. For mounting there was moderate improvement in 70% of dogs with marked improvement in 25%.
- In one study, castration led to reduced aggression toward other dogs in the house in 1/3 of cases, towards people in the family in 30% of cases, towards unfamiliar dogs in 20% of cases and toward unfamiliar people in 10% of cases.
Urine marking: Most adult male dogs lift their legs while urinating. Instead of emptying their bladders completely, most male dogs retain some urine to deposit on other vertical objects that they pass. Some males have such a strong desire to mark that they also mark indoors.
Although neutered dogs will still lift their leg to urinate, castration reduces marking in 80% of dogs with a marked improvement in 40%.
Every aggressive dog should be castrated."
Aggression: Every aggressive dog should be castrated. At the very least this will prevent reproduction and passing on of any genetic traits for aggression.
Castration may also reduce or eliminate some forms of aggression (i.e., those that are influenced by male hormones).
Benefits Of Castration
Medical benefits: Castration eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and greatly reduces the chance of prostate disease, two extremely common and serious problems of older male dogs.
Many older dogs that are not neutered will develop prostate disease or testicular tumors if they survive to an old enough age. Castration can also reduce the risk of perianal tumors and perineal hernias.
Population control: Perhaps the most important issue is that millions of unwanted dogs are destroyed annually at animal shelters across the United States and Canada.
Neutering males is as important as spaying females when it comes to population control.
Benefits Of Neutering
Of course, the primary benefit of neutering your male dog is that he won’t sire any puppies and contribute to pet overpopulation. Hundreds of thousands of dogs are euthanized in shelters every year because of overpopulation, so neutering is extremely important.
But that’s not the only benefit of neutering. Here are a few more reasons to neuter your dog:
He’s less likely to get certain diseases, such as testicular cancer and most prostate diseases.
He will likely be calmer with less testosterone in his system, and thus you’ll be calmer too.
He’ll mark less, inside and outdoors, since he has less incentive to announce his presence.
The lower level of testosterone can improve if not eliminate roaming, aggression, humping, and other dominance-related behaviors.
He still might want to hump, but mounting after neutering has more to do with dominance than reproduction. He may still show interest in females in heat, too.
He’ll likely get in fewer fights with other dogs, especially other males.
In the case of senior dogs, neutering reduces the size of an enlarged prostate.
The health and behavioral benefits occur whether your boy is a wee puppy or distinguished senior citizen.
Dogs That Was Neutered Are More Happier At Home
One of the reasons neutered tomcats live so much longer is that they are less likely to wander away from home and fight with other male cats.
Neutering stops the production of testosterone. This hormone causes aggressive behavior.
The same can be said for neutered dogs. They are less likely to roam in order to find a mate and end up being hit by a car or in a fight with another dog.
Dogs Well Behaved When Neutered
Once your dog or cat has been neutered, they are less likely to behave aggressively. They are also less likely to engage in territory-marking behavior such as spraying urine in your house.
Finally, they will be less likely to try to mount everything they come into contact with after they've been neutered.
Dogs Don't Go Into Heat When They Have Been Spayed/Neutered
If they aren't spayed, cats will go into heat at around 6 months of age. They will stay in heat for an average of 6 days.
The cycle of heat repeats every 3 weeks on average during their season. When they are in heat, cats become very vocal and demanding. They may bleed and even spray urine.
Dogs generally only go into heat twice a year. They also bleed and urinate excessively during their cycle. Spaying prevents your pet from ever going into heat and exhibiting these behaviors.
Being Spayed or Neutered Won't Let Dogs Gain Weight
Pets become overweight for the same reasons people do.
These are usually not exercising enough and overeating. A pet who gets enough exercise and eats a healthy diet in moderation will remain fit and healthy.
Fight Overpopulation Of Your Dogs
Millions of cats and dogs end up in shelters every year. Having your pet spayed or neutered will help decrease the number of animals in need of shelter. This helps stretch shelter resources.
Dogs reproduce 15 times as fast as humans. Cats reproduce 45 times as fast. Euthanasia rates are much higher in areas where there are no options for spaying or neutering.
Difference Between Spay And Neuter?
Spaying. A “spay,” or ovariohysterectomy, is a veterinary surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia.
It involves removal of the female dog’s uterus and both ovaries through an incision made in the abdomen. A spay can also be performed laparascopically (usually with ovariectomies).
Neutering. Neutering, or castration, is the surgical removal of a male dog’s testes. Also performed under general anesthesia, it is a simpler surgery than a spay.
An incision is made near the front of the scrotum, then the testicles are removed through that incision.
There is a ton of advice out there on neutering dogs, most of which is contradictory or flat-out wrong. Some people swear that neutering causes behavioral problems, while others swear that it doesn’t. Some claim neutering altered their dog’s personality, while others say their dog’s personality stayed the same. So, what is the truth about neutering dogs? Is it dangerous? Is it worth the risk? How long does it take for neutering to take effect? How long do the effects last?
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