When most owners think of neutering their male dogs, they usually consider it in the context of controlling their mutts’ natural carousing and mating habits. While that is a compelling reason, there are also behavioral and medical advantages to doing so. The presence of testosterone creates a number of psychological and health-related issues. This is why experts discourage owners from having vasectomies performed on their canines; it removes their ability to reproduce, but does not eliminate the production of testosterone.
Below, we’ll describe the behavioral and medical benefits of neutering your pooch. You’ll learn how the procedure can lead to changes in his aggression and roaming tendencies. We’ll also explain how it reduces the likelihood of your dog developing tumors, hernias, and other problems.
Castration of male canines stops the production of testosterone and other hormones. These hormones are largely responsible for a dog’s natural aggression toward other animals as well as toward people. Aggression in this context is not limited to physically threatening others; it can also manifest as mounting as early as at seven or eight weeks of age. Neutering reduces this behavior, though age plays a role in the level of reduction.
Roaming is another natural tendency that castration curbs. Your pooch is instinctively driven to roam in search of female canines that in heat. When they are in this condition, females release pheromones into the air. These pheromones can attract male “suitors,” often from miles away. When you neuter your pooch, this instinct vanishes.
The health-related advantages for a neutered canine are even greater than the behavioral benefits. First, tumors can manifest in a dog’s testicles by the time he reaches age five or six. Castration removes this vulnerability to cancer at an early age. Second, perianal hernias are common in adult canines that have not been neutered. Experts believe this is due to hormones relaxing the muscles that are located near the anus. Third, the growth of perianal tumors can be fueled by testosterone. Neutering removes the hormones that lead to – or exacerbate – perianal hernias and tumors.
The most significant health-related issue resolved by neutering is the development of prostate disease. It is estimated that over 75% of dogs that have not been neutered cope with problems within their prostate (i.e. cysts, infections, etc.). All are due to the presence of testosterone.
The best time to have your pooch neutered is right after he turns six weeks old. The more time that passes, the greater likelihood that he’ll develop behavioral and health-related issues. Despite what many owners think, early neutering will not have an adverse effect on your canine’s growth. On the contrary, having him neutered may very well prolong his life.