Dog Neutering: Finding the Right Time
As a responsible dog owner, you may be considering neutering your dog.
Since neutering involves a surgical procedure, you may be inclined to know the most conducive time to go through with it.
In this article, I aim to take away all the doubts and confusion you may have about your furry friend’s neutering procedure, and be better informed when visiting your vet!
What is Neutering?
Neutering is essentially a complete castration on the male dog. Unlike what vasectomies are for male humans, neutering involves removing the dog’s testicles. This surgical procedure can only be done under a certified veterinarian in a completely equipped vet operation theatre.
All procedures usually follow in this order:
- The dog is administered with anesthesia so its entire crotch area becomes numb
- Using a scalpel, an incision is made in the front part of its scrotum
- The vet then works to sever the cords to the testicles for a smooth extraction
- They then close the incision with stitches
- Finally, the dog is sent home with the necessary post-operation instructions
Why May You Want To Neuter Your Dog?
Apart from the fact that your dog will not be able to reproduce, there are several avoidable health conditions, behavioral changes, and overall benefits to neutering your dog. This can help any pet owner, giving them fewer reasons to worry about their friend.
Some of the benefits include:
- Preventing unwanted births
- Saving on the possible expense of managing a new litter
- Getting testicular cancer or other prostate diseases
- Making them less aggressive and territorial with other males
- Retain more love and affection toward owners
- Be calmer and content around female dogs
- Roam less, as roaming is considered a manifestation of their desire to breed
When Is The Right Time To Neuter Your Dog?
The ideal time to have your male dog neutered is in between six and nine months. That being said, there are pet owners who neuter their dogs at four months since they reached puberty much sooner. This usually happens in smaller dogs. Similarly, larger dogs may have the procedure later, after becoming completely mature.
There is some research that suggests neutering earlier than six months can bring benefits to the dog’s physical development. This could help them develop a better hormonal balance.
It’s important for the dog to be in good health if it’s having the procedure earlier to ensure it recovers well without any post-surgery complications.
There is another set of research that suggests the dog neutering procedure takes place within three to four months. It claims that the dog at this age allows them to better tolerate anesthesia while also being young enough to recover from surgery.
Ultimately, the dog’s ideal neutering time falls between three to nine months depending on his age, health condition, and puberty status.
The final decision should be made after discussing with your vet along with the necessary medical examinations.
What About Older Dogs?
If your dog is old (that is more than a couple of years) then your first course of action would be to take him to a vet and run pre-surgery blood work to decide if he can go through the neutering procedure.
If this blood work shows that his kidney and liver are functioning well, he can go ahead with the procedure. It also provides the doctor with the necessary information to give the correct anesthesia dose.
As long as the dog is in good health, and is showing all the necessary signs for a good recovery – the vet usually gives the green light for surgery. Age is just a number, so don’t let your capable older friend enjoy the benefits of getting neutered!
What To Do Post-Surgery?
There is not much to worry about during surgery, as your dog wouldn’t feel a thing cause of the anesthesia. He will most likely be discharged right after the surgery. Similar to when humans are under anesthesia, especially for their wisdom teeth taken out, your dog may be a little wonky on his way home.
The main challenge would be to ensure your dog doesn’t meddle with the incision and give it the necessary time to heal. You may have to put him in the infamous ‘cone of shame’ so he doesn’t remove the stitches within the seven to ten day recovery period.
Older dogs may have a longer recovery time, it is important you keep the necessary patience and attention during this period of time. It is a very sensitive time both for the wound and the dog emotionally, so being alert and caring for your friend can go a long way.
The vet health care system has come a long way to say, with confidence, that it is never too late to neuter your dog. As always, please use your vet to get the best guidance, keeping in mind your dog’s size, health, lifestyle, and health condition before sterilization.
I hope this article gives you a good starting point on your dog’s neutering needs. Please feel free to leave your comments below!