8 Signs Your Dog Needs to Be Neutered

|9 min read

Are you witnessing some awkward humping behavior by your dog? Has your dog been in heat and is exhibiting severe behavioral issues? Well, many pet owners face this issue. And as always, we are here for the rescue.

Today, we will discuss what neutering is, why you should get it done for your dogs, its benefits, and signs your dog needs to be neutered.

So put your feet up, grab a coffee, and learn about the neutering process.

What Is Neutering?

Neutering, sometimes called castration, involves a surgical procedure to remove a male dog's testicles. The main aim is to make the dog unable to reproduce.

By removing the testicles, the dog's sexual urges are reduced, and they won't be as interested in humping or reproducing. In fact, after being neutered, the dog might stop humping altogether.

So, neutering helps control their reproductive instincts and can also curb humping and sexual behavior itself.

According to Nichols, a pet needs to be neutered as soon as it starts showing naughty behaviors like being dominant or aggressive, trying to escape to search for a mate or mark territory.

Benefits of Neutering

Neutering your dog comes with a variety of benefits. Firstly, it helps control the pet population. By neutering your dog, you're doing your part to prevent unplanned litters and reduce the number of dogs in shelters or on the streets. It's a responsible decision that contributes to the overall welfare of animals.

Another advantage of neutering is improved health for your furry friend. The chances of testicular cancer are eliminated, and it significantly lowers the chances of prostate problems and infections.

Neutering can also lead to positive changes in your dog's behavior. It often reduces or eliminates undesirable behaviors such as aggression, urine marking, roaming tendencies, and excessive mounting. Neutered dogs tend to be calmer and more focused, making them easier to train and manage.

Social interactions with other dogs can also benefit from neutering. Neutered dogs generally exhibit better social skills and are less likely to display dominant or aggressive behaviors, thus allowing them to get along with other pets in your home or at the parks. It can lead to more positive and enjoyable experiences for your dog and other dogs they interact with.

It's essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the best time to neuter your dog. This can vary based on characteristics such as breed, age, and overall health. They can provide personalized advice, address concerns, and even ensure that the procedure is carried out safely and responsibly.

Is Neutering Painful?

Regarding whether neutering is painful for dogs, here's the deal. During the surgery, they're put under anesthesia, so they won't feel a thing.

Let's talk about the recovery phase. After the surgery, your male puppy might experience some discomfort. It's like when we have a sore spot or a little ache after a procedure. Your dog might feel pain, swelling, or tenderness around the surgical area.

To help your furry buddy feel better, your vet might prescribe pain medication. This medication will go a long way in managing discomfort during the healing process.

It's essential to take it easy with your dog during recovery. Keep them calm so they don't go bouncing around and accidentally hurt themselves. Also, watch out for any licking or biting around the surgical site.

If you come across anything concerning or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact your vet. They're the experts and can give you the best advice specific to your dog's situation.

Remember, while there might be temporary setbacks, the long-term benefits of neutering outweigh them all. It's all about promoting your dog's health and well-being.

Reasons You Should Get Your Dog Neutered

There are multiple signs your dog needs to be neutered. These include behavioral signs and health conditions you should look out for.

Let's discuss them all in detail: 

1) Escape and roaming

The intact male dog has an impeccable sense of smell, and they can detect the scent of a female dog in heat up to three miles away! When a mature male dog catches a whiff of a female dog in heat nearby, it may try to escape and mate with her before other male dogs in the area do.

However, this can lead to severe problems and put your own dog's body in danger.

Once your dog is not in your sight, various things can happen. Two of the most likely scenarios are particularly concerning: your dog's eagerness to mate can lead to fights with other male dogs who are also yearning for the same female. These dogs may be larger, stronger, and more aggressive than your pet and can potentially harm your dog.

Important Note: Another case is that if you live in an area with busy streets, the risk of your roaming dog being hit by a vehicle increases a lot. Unfortunately, most dogs do not survive the traumatic experience of being hit by a car, especially if the impact is severe.

To prevent these unfortunate outcomes, neutering your male dog is advisable for dog owners. It helps curb the urge to roam and mate, reducing the likelihood of your dog getting into dangerous situations.

2) Aggressive behavior

Suppose you have a dog that displays aggressive behavior, which disrupts the peaceful coexistence of your household and other pets. Then, it might be worth considering neutering.

Aggression in dogs is often associated with the hormone testosterone, primarily produced by the testicles. However, it's important to note that testosterone is not solely produced by the testicles.

Important Note: While most testosterone comes from the testicles, some also come from other sources, for instance, the adrenal glands. These small glands on top of the kidneys produce various hormones regulating functions like the immune system, blood pressure, and metabolism.

Simply put, even after neutering, a dog will still have some testosterone, but not enough to cause excessive aggression. Neutering helps reduce overall testosterone levels, contributing to a calmer temperament. Learn about how long after neutering dog testosterone is gone here.

Here, it's worth mentioning that aggression in dogs cannot be solely attributed to male dogs' testosterone levels. There are instances where aggressive parents inherit aggressive behavior, and other cases stem from bad training, upbringing, or socialization.

Neutering is not a guaranteed solution to aggression, but it can help mitigate the hormonal factors contributing to it.

3) The house smells like pee

One common behavior in male dogs is territorial and urine marking. A male dog, unlike a female dog, often mark its territory by rubbing itself against objects or spraying a small amount of urine in specific areas.

If you're fed up with your home smelling like your furry friend's personal restroom, having your dog neutered might be a good idea. When the testicles are surgically removed, the neutered dog's bloodstream testosterone levels decrease significantly.

As a result of dog neutering, your male dog will become less territorial and, more importantly, won't feel the need to mark every nook and cranny of your home with its urine. Neutering can lead to improved behavior, making your home smell much more pleasant.

4) Enlarged prostate gland

Just like male humans, all male dogs have a prostate gland, which plays a vital role in reproduction. It provides the sperm cells with the necessary fluid for nourishment and transportation.

However, the issue with the prostate gland is that it can enlarge as the years pass. In dogs, an enlarged prostate can occur in males aged five and older. According to veterinarians, it's quite a common problem, affecting about four out of five unneutered dogs aged five or older.

Important Note: There are three main reasons for prostate gland enlargement in dogs. One is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which refers to a non-cancerous prostate gland enlargement. Another reason could be Prostatitis or bacterial infection of the prostate. And in the worst-case scenario, Prostate cancer. This is, however, less common, but it can also lead to gland enlargement.

If your male dog is five or older, sure signs may indicate an enlarged prostate, such as pain during urination or defecation, discomfort while walking, ribbon-like stools, constipation, blood in the urine, or a bloody discharge.

The thing about neutering is that it can help reduce the risk of prostate enlargement in male dogs and even shrink the prostate if it's already enlarged. Neutering is a proactive step that can prevent the occurrence of prostate-related issues and contribute to the overall physical health benefits and well-being of your furry companion.

5) Risk of testicular cancer

One of the most important health risks and concerns for male dogs is testicular cancer, which ranks as the second most common cancer in canines. Luckily, by removing the testicles through neutering, you eliminate the risk of testicular cancer for your furry friend.

Testicular cancer typically affects dogs between seven to eight years of age, and the risk increases notably after age 10. It's essential to be aware of the early warning signs of canine testicular cancer, including varying testicle size, an enlarged scrotum, thinning of the scrotal skin, excessive pigmentation in the scrotal area, and brittle hair in the genital area.

Since male dogs have a higher chance of developing testicular cancer as they grow older, it's wise to have them neutered as soon as your veterinarian gives the go-ahead for the procedure.

By taking this step, you can prevent the possibility of your beloved pooch being diagnosed with this type of cancer in the future.

6) Genetic defects

Regarding male dogs, there are some essential health considerations to remember. Genetic defects can also be passed down to their offspring, and some of these issues can be pretty serious. That's why having your male dog neutered is good, especially if it has a genetic defect.

Getting your dog neutered before it reaches sexual maturity or after discovering a genetic problem in adulthood is crucial. This helps prevent the spread of inherited issues among dogs. By opting to neuter your dog, you can prevent the transmission of these problems.

There are several common examples of genetic defects in dogs, such as

  • Various forms of cancer
  • Hip and elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Patella luxation
  • Intervertebral disk disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Congenital heart anomalies
  • Atopic disease
  • Early-onset cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

If your dog has a genetic defect and you're considering neutering, it's essential to consult a veterinarian. They can assist you with the necessary steps to ensure the procedure is safe and manageable for your furry friend.

So, by taking proactive measures, you can help safeguard your dog's health and prevent the potential spread of inherited health problems to future generations of dogs.

7) Overpopulation of dogs

Female dogs typically experience heat approximately twice a year, each cycle lasting around two to four weeks. In contrast, male dogs do not go into heat. Once they reach puberty, usually around six months, they can mate any time throughout the year.

If you own both male and female dogs, it's essential to consider the potential consequences. A female dog can have around three litters per year, each with up to seven puppies.

With dogs left unneutered, you could be responsible for caring for a whopping 21 puppies annually, in addition to your existing dogs. Taking care of this pet overpopulation can be challenging and, in some cases, nearly impossible.

That's why getting your male dog neutered is a wise choice to avoid getting female dogs pregnant. Neutering eliminates the risk of unplanned mating and unexpected litter.

8) States that require sterilization

If you're in Los Angeles, most likely you'll have to get your male dog neutered. In 2008, Los Angeles County put in place one of the country's toughest neuter and spay laws. It says that most dogs and cats must be fixed by the time they're four months old.

But there are some exceptions. Dogs and cats that participate in shows or sporting competitions, belong to professional breeders, work as guide dogs, or are used by the police are exempted from the requirement.

Animal shelters and similar places have to spay or neuter dogs before they are adopted, in almost 32 states. If someone wants to adopt an unneutered male dog, they must usually sign an agreement. That states they promise to get the dog castrated by a licensed vet within 30 days of adoption.

Here are some states that require sterilization:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Georgia

Final Word!

To wrap things up, if you notice signs your dog needs to be neutered, such as getting overly aggressive, marking everything in sight, going on adventures, or trying to hump everything that moves and breathes - it might be a sign that they require to be neutered.

Neutering your dog comes with a bunch of benefits. It helps control the population of furballs, keeps your pup healthier, improves their behavior, and makes socializing with other dogs a breeze.

If you see these signs or have any concerns about your dog's behavior, you should talk with your vet about your neutered dog. Don't forget deciding to neuter your dog is all about looking out for its well-being.


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