Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Should I get my dog castrated?

There can be many reasons to consider castrating your male dog, as it can benefit both health and behaviour. The operation is a simple one, which dogs tend to recover very quickly from. Even so, many owners are unsure and often feel cruel for considering it, but honestly, removing 'his manhood' could be better for him in the long run, and here's why:

Behaviour:

  • It can make behaviour calmer and more predictable.

  • It will reduce or eliminate 'sexual behaviour' such as mounting other dogs, household objects, or your Mother in law's leg! Often this sort of behaviour around other dogs can elicit an aggressive response, so even if your dog is not aggressive in nature, his sexual pestering may still lead to fights.

  • It reduces the likeliness that your dog will go missing (on the hunt for fertile girlfriends)
    .
  • It reduces scent marking behaviour. We often have uncastrated males in the kennel, and notice that they tend to scent mark very often when in a kennel environment. I believe it's because they're surrounded by other dogs and so feel the urge more strongly. We often have to clean their kennels more often, and sometimes even have to wash their paws daily.

  • We have noticed at the kennels, that some male dogs tend to not join in with the fun at playtimes. Rather than making friends or playing with toys, they prefer to spend their time sniffing around at the scent of the other dog's urine (even lapping at it!) and get caught up in a endless cycle of over-marking another dog's scent . It seems some dogs have a 'one track mind', to the point in which not even a room full of potential playmates can distract them.


  • It can reduce frustration, and so help to eliminate destructive and restless behaviour.

Health Benefits:

  • The behavioural benefits can have a knock on effect on the dog's health. Castrated males are less likely to be attacked or become involved in fights. They are also less likely to escape and become lost, or injured in a road traffic accident.

  • Castration eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer (obviously!) and also can lessen the probability of other cancers such as prostate cancer.

  • It may affect insurance costs (ie lowering them).

I have to add, lastly, that of course not ALL male dogs MUST be castrated. We do indeed get some uncastrated males that come to the kennels that show hardly any 'typical' behaviour at all, being generally placid and playful.

Sometimes, male dogs who are very nervous may not benefit from being castrated, as it may make them even more nervous. If you have a very nervous male dog, talk to your vet about castration and whether it is suitable.

The decision whether to castrate is personal to the owner and if your dog is perfectly balanced and happy how he is, then why do it at all? However, don't let guilt or sentimental feelings get in the way of making a decision that could be better for your dog's health and state of mind in the long run. 

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