When and Why should I Neuter my Dog?

Dog Neutering and Spaying

Surgical neutering is considered part of responsible dog ownership, not only to prevent unwanted litters of puppies but to prevent various health issues from occurring in your dog.Dogs, by their very nature, are pack animals with strong instincts to form a hierarchy or “pecking-order”. Within each group, one dog will aspire to become top dog. Usually this is an adult male; he is followed in the hierarchy by other males, these by adult females, with puppies at the bottom.
Conflict within a hierarchy develops when there is competition for places, when a new dog arrives in the area, when puppies reach adulthood or where there are bitches “in season”.Generally it is at these times of conflict that certain undesirable aspects of canine behaviour become apparent.For behavioural and medical reasons, surgical neutering can be the answer.Neutering Pets

Male Dogs

Surgical neutering of male dogs involves removal of both testicles (castration). It is recommended to neuter a male dog between six and 9 months of age.

  • Neutering reduces the tendency for male dogs to roam after bitches in season. The bitch’s scent is powerful and can attract many male dogs in a city.
  • Neutering reduces the tendency for male dogs to show aggression towards other dogs and humans. It is for this reason that neutering is one of the requirements for breeds covered by the “Dangerous Dogs Act”.
  • Neutering reduces the tendency for male dogs to display overtly sexual behaviour :- mounting of other dogs/ cushions/ humans or excessive urine marking of territory (outdoors or indoors).
  • Middle-aged and old male dogs are prone to such medical conditions as :- Prostate enlargement or cancer, Testicular cancers,  Anal adenomas (anal cancer)


Bitches (Female Dogs)

It is recommended to neuter a female dog between at approx. 6 months of age.
  • Neutering not only stops bitches from having puppies but stops them coming into season. Bitches have, on average, two seasons each year until old age. Each season lasts between two and three weeks.
  • A bitch in season can cause considerable inconvenience :-
  • Attractiveness to male dogs means that she must be exercised away from public areas.
  • Many bitches spot blood for 10 – 14 days during each season.
  • Boarding kennels are less welcoming!
  • Neutering prevents the condition known as false pregnancy. This develops about eight to twelve weeks after a season even though no mating has taken place. A bitch may build a nest, mother soft toys, and even produce milk from enlarged mammary glands. It is a hormonal upset that may take several weeks to resolve and is likely to recur after subsequent seasons.
  • Neutering prevents a life-threatening condition of the womb called pyometra. This can occur from middle-age and is most common in bitches that have not had puppies. The cure is an emergency hysterectomy (with considerable anaesthetic risks).
  • Neutering considerably reduces the tendency to develop mammary tumours (Breast Cancer). Neutering prior to the bitch’s first season reduces this likelihood by 250 times.

The beagle Dog

Dog overpopulation is a problem

Every year, thousands of unwanted dogs are put to sleep at shelters across the country. Many of these are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming, un-neutered dogs. The more dogs spayed or neutered, the fewer will have to be destroyed.  If you are looking to get a dog or cat, first consider adoption via your local pound, Dogs Trust or Madra .

Thanks to Ennis Vet Clinic for the above information.