Castration in Dogs: Sense or Nonsense?

There are many hopes, worries, and fears associated with the procedure. It is essential to consider the nature of the animal.

While owners of aggressive male dogs may expect (too) much from the effects of castration, owners of bright characters fear that their dog could become fat and lethargic.

Why are dogs neutered?

One goal of castration is to prevent the animal from reproducing. The testicles are removed from males and the ovaries and possibly the uterus from females. From a medical point of view, the procedure is intended to prevent diseases of the genital organs such as tumors and infections or to treat existing diseases or abnormalities. There are males whose testicles do not descend into the scrotum (so-called cryptorchids), which can lead to degeneration of the testicular tissue. Old, unneutered male dogs can develop problems with the prostate and thus also with urinating and defecation. Likewise, many pet owners hope that castration will make living with their dogs easier. The bleeding of the bitch in heat is often perceived as unhygienic. Male dogs with a strong sex drive can be difficult to trade.

Is castration the same as sterilization?

Many pet owners think that females are spayed and males are neutered. However, that is not correct. Sterilization or castration is possible for both males and females. The difference is as follows: During castration, the hormone-producing gonads – i.e. the testicles or ovaries – are removed from the animal, while during sterilization only the spermatic or fallopian tubes are severed so that no more germ cells can be transported. Both methods render the animal sterile. The advantage of castration is that it stops the production of sex hormones. This lowers the risk of genital diseases and controls unwanted sexual behavior.

How is the operation going?

The castration takes place under general anesthesia. Before the start of the procedure, the surgical field is shaved and thoroughly disinfected, and the animals are placed on their backs. In females, the vet opens the abdominal wall with a small incision behind the navel and stores the so-called horns of the uterus together with the ovaries. Now he either ties off and removes only the ovaries or he removes the entire uterus. The latter method has the advantage that this organ can no longer become ill in the future. The surgeon then closes the abdominal wall in several layers. The wound is usually healed after ten days: the veterinarian can remove the stitches and the procedure is over.

In males, the skin over the testicles is opened for castration, and there are different cutting techniques. As soon as the testicle and spermatic cord are exposed, the latter can be tied off and the testicle removed. The same is repeated for the second testicle. The skin incision is also closed with sutures. The animals are given painkillers. Make sure that the animals do not lick their wounds so that there is no inflammation and everything can heal in peace.

Can neutering solve behavioral problems?

Some veterinarians deal exclusively with animals with behavioral problems. This shows how complex the causes and characteristics of problem behavior are. There are very fearful animals, dominant and aggressive dogs, and cats. Some behaviors are controlled by hormones, while others are learned or are a sign of missing or wrong education. Neutering will only improve hormonal behaviors. These include excessive sexual behavior, marking the home with urine, or constant restlessness. Neutered males bark less and eat better, even when mate-ready females are around. Increased irritability, exaggerated showing off and aggressive competitive behavior towards other male dogs can also improve. But watch out: Fear-aggressive males generally benefit from the effects of testosterone and can become even more fearful through castration! In bitches, testosterone increases in relation to estrogen, which can make them more confident but also more biting. Surgery is not a panacea for problem behavior and must never replace consistent education. To try out the effect of castration, modern chemical preparations can be used that work for six to twelve months and are completely reversible (so-called GnRH analogs as implants). Surgery is not a panacea for problem behavior and must never replace consistent education. To try out the effect of castration, modern chemical preparations can be used that work for six to twelve months and are completely reversible (so-called GnRH analogs as implants). Surgery is not a panacea for problem behavior and must never replace consistent education. To try out the effect of castration, modern chemical preparations can be used that work for six to twelve months and are completely reversible (so-called GnRH analogs as implants).

Does neutering change the nature of my animal?

Castration leads to hormonal changes. This affects the metabolism and eating behavior of the animals. After the procedure, dogs often calm down a bit and have a good appetite. As their energy expenditure decreases, they require fewer calories. However, the widespread belief that neutered dogs always become lethargic is not valid. Many animals only get fat because they are fed the same amount of food as before the castration. The reduction in testosterone and estrogen levels in and of themselves has little or no effect on temperament or the urge to move. Regarding the bitch, there is research that has shown that neutered females may be more aggressive in competitive situations such as clarification of ranking.

Whether neutered males are easier to keep depends on the character of the male. Since interest in females wanes as testosterone levels drop, males in particular who had high sex drives prior to surgery are more relaxed.

Frequently Asked Question

Does it make sense to neuter a dog?

There are two situations in which male dogs can be neutered: Your dog suffers from an illness that can only be cured by neutering. These include, for example, malignant tumors on the testicles and in the anal area of your dog or undescended testicles.

Why should you have your dog neutered?

In the case of male dogs, castration can prevent not only testicular cancer but also some diseases of the prostate. A neutered male is usually calmer and has virtually no sex drive. Meeting a bitch in heat is much more relaxed.

Should I neuter my male dog or not?

We would only advise spaying a male dog if it is important to permanently prevent his fertility or if there are medical reasons for spaying. This is not linked to a specific age or a seasonal time, such as when the bitch is neutered.

Does neutering make a dog calmer?

Neutering doesn’t change your dog’s personality, but it does change his sex hormone-driven behaviors. Many owners report that their dogs become calmer after neutering. In addition to the hormonal changes mentioned above, changes in metabolism also occur.

How does a castrated male dog behave?

A neutered male usually behaves friendly towards other dogs. The behavior towards humans is only slightly influenced by the castration. A neutered male shows less territorial behavior, which means he no longer marks. The interest in bitches in heat is not very pronounced.

How does an unneutered male dog behave?

Unneutered male dogs often behave very restlessly in the pack, they are stressed and pant a lot. They often squeak all day (sometimes at night too). They are often impulsive and will harass other dogs (both male and female) causing additional stress for them as well.

When will the dog calm down after neutering?

The testosterone level drops to barely measurable levels within eight hours after castration. Nevertheless, the effect does not occur immediately in some of the animals, but only over the course of weeks or months. Genetic and learning-related effects obviously play a role here.

How much does it cost to neuter a dog?

According to the scale of fees for veterinarians, the cost of castrating females is 160.34 euros for a 1-fold rate, 320.68 euros for a 2-fold rate, and 481.02 euros for a 3-fold rate. In total, you can expect around 300 to 600 euros in normal cases and without complications.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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