Why neuter your dog (or not)?

Dr. Bonnie Buntain, DVM, MS

The SaddleBrooke Dog Park is a valuable amenity for the many dog lovers here. The members and governing Board work hard to make it an enjoyable and safe place for pets and their human family. One of the guidelines most people follow is to neuter their dog to help prevent certain diseases, unwanted sex hormone related problems, such as aggressiveness, mounting other dogs, etc. and to prevent accidental mating of fully intact males and females while in the dog park. You may own a male and female dog and be asking yourself how long does a dog stay in heat, click to find out more information as well as some tips for when they are in heat.

Removing a female dog’s ovaries and uterus eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner and other members’ frustration while at the park with their pet.

Removing the male testes can eliminate the breeding instinct, making them less likely to roam and be more content staying home. Early neutering has also been related to fewer health problems later in life, such as uterine infection, breast cancer, enlarged prostate gland and testicular cancer.

On a greater societal scale, neutered dogs and cats benefit us by reducing animal overpopulation and disease spread through non-lethal means. It mitigates behaviors that may damage the human-animal bond contributing to abandonment and relinquishment to shelters and other humane organizations.

Non-neutered dogs are generally kept only for breeding purposes. For example, a Frenchie Bulldog Stud Service is a great idea if you’re looking to breed with your dog. Both the American College of Theriogenologists and the Society for Theriogenology (reproduction) assert that companion animals not intended for breeding should be neutered, unless contraindicated by the pet’s age, breed, sex, intended use, household environment or temperament.”

In a recent veterinary medical record review of America’s most popular dog breed, the Golden Retriever, early castration was associated with three times the rate of lymphosacroma than the intact dogs in this U California-Davis retrospective analysis. The Golden Retriever breed is already predisposed to hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor so an increased cancer risk in neutered dogs is a concern. A lot more research needs to be conducted to follow up on this one study.

As an informed pet owner, it is prudent to have an in-depth conversation with your veterinarian about neutering your specific pet and the goals you have for you and your pet’s relationship and, if being a responsible member of the SBDog Park is one of your goals, then having an intact male or female dog of breeding age is not advisable.

Ultimately, for a lot of people, it is undeniable that a dog is an excellent companion. If you have got a furry friend and want to make sure your pooch lives a long and healthy life, you might want to take a look at some of the different pet care products and supplements available on the Healthy Solutions for Pets website.