So all being fair last month we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of spaying and so this month it seemed only fair we turned our attention to the male variety and castration.
Like spaying there are a number of advantages to neutering. The first one is obviously that once castrated your dog won’t be able to get a female dog ‘in the family way’. With many thousands of dogs in rescue unless you intend to breed from your dog, castrating and preventing unwanted puppies can literally save dogs lives. Also, your dog should quite literally stray less as he won’t be drawn to that local female in heat, which by the way he can smell from a very long distance away.
Some dogs once they reach sexual maturity will become a little obsessed with items such as cushions, legs and even other animals including the cat. Castration should reduce or stop this behaviour. They will also scent mark less around your home and other homes when he goes to visit.
Another behavioural advantages include reducing dominance and aggressive behaviour to others and indeed others to them. It can also calm some dogs down and make them more focused on humans and the relationship with their owners than on other male or female dogs.
From a health prospective there are also a number of key advantages to castration. Instances of both prostate and testicular cancer can be reduced or alleviated by castrating.
Nothing is always one sided and castration can also have some negatives.
Dogs who are castrated can if feeding is not adapted put on weight significantly more easily than uncastrated dogs. Not all dogs’ metabolisms change in the same way but this is something to keep a close eye on post castration so as to avoid health risks that come with weight issues in your dog.
Like in spaying castration can affect the overall endocrine system and as such there appears to be good evidence that while not common, there is an increased risk in castrated dogs of hypothyroidism. There are also thoughts on neutered dogs being more prone in later life to dementia as hormones appear to protect the brain in some regards.
The other health risk again like that in spaying is that castration does require an anaesthetic and there are always health risks with general anaesthetics in humans and animals.
If castration is done too early before full growth is complete in dogs there does appear to be good evidence that it can impact bone growth and issues such as hip dysplasia.
Finally – Microchipping laws
As a final aside please note the new laws on having your pet microchipped come into force on the 6th of April 2016. If your pet is not microchipped after that date, you can incur significant fines. If Calagran Four Paws Hotel can assist you, we are licenced implanters and can chip your pet from £15.