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Should I get my male dog desexed (castrated) or should I leave him entire?

Now if I asked a room full of men whether they should have their female dogs spayed (desexed) they would all answer “Yes”.

If I asked the same room of men whether they should have their male dogs castrated (desexed) then at least half of the men would cross their legs and most of them would answer “No” (usually using a deeper voice than normal).

Just in case anyone is actually reading these blogs (at this moment in time I would like to say “Hello” to my mother) let me first say that I am a male and therefore understand that some men have certain beliefs about desexed male animals that are quite simply WRONG.

I am here to tell all the men of the world…

  • dogs who are castrated do NOT become wimps,
  • do NOT speak with a squeaky voice and
  • do NOT carry handbags.
  • They also do NOT lie around and get fat, unless you do not exercise or play with them and it’s best to decrease the amount of food that you feed them by around 10% or at least monitor their weight.’

It IS a fact that desexed dogs (male and female) have a lower metabolism and require less energy food compared to entire male and female dogs. This is well recognised and there is food made especially for the neuted (desexed) animal. In fact, we recommend and sell a food called Royal Canin (in my opinion one of the best foods for dogs and is my preferred brand that I use for my own dogs) that makes food for desexed animals.

But I digress… the question of “WHY should you desex a male dog?”. What are the pro’s and con’s?

PRO’S

  1. Will minimise prostate cancer and prostate problems (dogs get the same problems in their prostate as humans do)
  2. Will eliminate testicular cancer
  3. Will minimise aggression for sexual reasons – this is an important comment as we are often approached by owners of aggressive dogs (male) when the animal is 4 to 5 years of age and the animal is aggressive to other animals or other people. The owner wants to castrate the dog to stop the aggression – I am sorry to say that castration at this age will NOT stop the aggression. Most aggressions are not for sexual reasons and therefore desexing will not help. Also by this age the aggression is a “learned response” and the animal will continue to be aggressive.

If desexed at a  young age (around 6 to 18 months of age) most male dogs do not develop severe aggression but that result can be influenced by the owner. If the owner encourages aggression or does not discipline aggressive behaviour than a desexed male dog can still become aggressive.

  1. Will eliminate fathering puppies (there is a short time after the surgery while sperm is still in the cord that it is possible for the male dog to get a female pregnant but the chance of that happening is very small).
  2. Cost less money to register them with the council

CON’S

  1. Cannot father puppies. This surgery is not reversible and once done the dog will NOT ever be able to get a female dog pregnant (expect for a very short time post surgery as explained above).
  2. THERE ARE NO OTHER CONS/BAD POINTS

The question then arises – what is the best age to desex a male dog?

This question has many different answers depending on who you talk to and what their beliefs are. I know there is a push by some people to desex a male dog at a very young age – around 10 – 12 weeks of age. I do NOT agree.

My personal experience (based on 43 years as a vet and also as a dog breeder) is that the best age (depending on the breed) is between 6 months to 18 months of age. This allows for normal growth of bones, muscles, tendons etc and development of personality without the bad development of aggression etc.

BUT having said that – I feel it is best to discuss the “best age” with your veterinarian and base your decision on their recommendation.

If you not sure on any aspect of castration for male dogs or what age to do it or what to feed the dog after the operation then please feel free to give me a call or send me an email.

My recommendation for owners with male dogs – ALL male dogs who are not going to be used for breeding should be desexed by the time they are 18 months of age.

If the dog is showing signs of aggression then please desex you dog EARLY (around 6 months of age).

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