Neutering your dog

Neutering your dog

Neutering your dog involves a routine operation to remove the sex organs of the animal. In male dogs, this is known as castration, and in females, it is called spaying. We’re going to break down some of the benefits and considerations of neutering your pet.

Benefits of spaying your female dog:

  • Stops the possibility of pregnancy
  • Stops them from developing a pyometra later in life (an infection of the uterus which can become life-threatening)
  • a reduced chance (by a factor of 4) of developing mammary cancer
  • and the obvious benefit of not having seasons, no bleeding in the home, and the benefit of not having to keep your dog indoors away from other dogs while it is in season
  • It won’t be able to go to day care or go out easily for walks when in season as male dogs will need to be avoided and can be very demanding to get to your female!

There may be a disadvantage to spaying female dogs. It is possible to increase the chance of becoming urinary incontinent at a later stage of life due to the reduction in Luteinising hormone (LH), although this can happen when not neutered too and there are very good medications to help this if it should occur.

Male dog castration:

In male dogs, weight gain is quite common after they have been neutered, and this can put pressure on their joints. However, this can be managed with proper dietary advice from your Vet or Registered Veterinary Nurse. The direct advantages of neutering male dogs are not so clear as it involves removing the testosterone hormone, which could make them more anxious. If you want to see what effect neutering may have on your dog’s behaviour, then you can try chemical neutering. It is not permanent and involves a hormone injection from the Vet. If they are aggressive to other dogs due to fear, then as their testosterone levels will be lower once neutered this might make them more anxious as it may reduce their confidence. If you are unsure whether to neuter on behaviour grounds, then it is best to speak to your vet or a qualified animal behaviourist to assess this further. A link to find a qualified animal behaviourist is

There are a few advantages to neutering male dogs. These include:

  • Reduced chance of prostate enlargement later in life and no testicular cancer can occur if the testicles are removed.
  • Neutering may reduce a male dogs wish to roam
  • Potential to reduce inter-dog aggression and urine marking (however it is also possible for neutered dogs to become more anxious. It is best to have this discussion with your vet)

When should your dog be neutered?

The age at which a dog should be neutered depends on their breed, size, weight, seasons in females and other health factors. Normally, it is best for full skeletal development to have occurred prior to neutering, as this helps reduce joint disease which is important for future quality of life. The below table was published as part of an academic paper in 2020 to suggest suitable times for dogs to be neutered. This can be used as a guide, but it is best to speak with your Vet about your particular pet.

Remember to speak with your Veterinary Professional and take into consideration all the evidence about neutering when deciding what is best for you and your pet!