The quick answer is that if you are not breeding your dog, he or she should be neutered.
However, to do justice to the question we must consider a number of factors before saying a definitive “yea” or “nay”.
Positive Reasons for Neutering
The foremost reason for neutering with both male and female dogs is to avoid unwanted pregnancies. According to the Humane Society, 3-4 million dogs are put down each year in the United States alone. This represents all the dogs without a home who have not been adopted. Two actions that clearly help this situation are, first, to neuter your dog, and second, to consider adopting from an animal shelter or rescue, when next looking for a dog.
Another reason for neutering, especially with male dogs, is to eliminate the problems of hypersexuality; something present in many unneutered males, requiring them to be continuously monitored around other animals and people. The neutering of male dogs eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer.
Female dogs that are neutered, or spayed, are less prone to certain forms of cancers, ones affecting ovaries, mammary glands and other reproductive organs. Unneutered female dogs are in heat, or Estrus, twice a year, becoming targets of every male dog in the neighborhood. Eliminating such unwanted attention is another benefit of spaying.
Possible Negative Consequences of Neutering
Spayed females are more prone to urinary incontinence as they get older. While not a critical problem, this does present an additional maintenance issue for owners. In many homes it means keeping a carpet cleaner at hand, and having to clean, not always at convenient times.
Neutered males are at higher risk of prostate cancer. Both sexes, if neutered, are more prone to osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma, forms of cancer. In addition, there’s an increased likelihood of diabetes mellitus, obesity and cruciate ligament rupture.
Don’t be scared out of making the right decision for your pooch by focusing over-much on the possible negatives. I venture to say that if you keep your dog healthy, giving him the good quality food he needs, and plenty of exercise, he’s likely to stay in good health because he’ll be more resistant to disease. As with their humans, the greatest contributor to canine health is good lifestyle habits.
The Best Age to Neuter
Early spaying reduces the likelihood of a female dog contracting breast or uterine cancer. Spaying is recommended at 6 months, prior to the first heat which happens between the ages of 7 and 9 months. Hold off neutering your male dog until he is at least 18 months, with 2 years being the preferred age.
I’ve attempted to give you the important facts, the pros and cons on the question of whether to neuter dogs. I hope the foregoing will prove helpful when the time comes for you to make the right decision for your dog, and household.
I hope you’ve found some things of value in this blog post. I’d enjoy hearing from you and can be reached by writing me, Mark Mulock, at contact@GermanShepherdPlace.com.