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Neutering in Dogs and Bitches

Unless you plan to breed from your dog or bitch, vets, behaviourists, and animal welfare organisations are all uniformly strongly in favour of neutering.

The Advantages

There are very sound health reasons for neutering. Neutering the male dog removes the sexual urge, making them less likely to roam, get into fights, be hit by a car, and develop undesirable behavioural problems. It also helps greatly in preventing prostate problems later in life.

For a bitch there are similar, and some extra, concerns. First, there is the problem of unplanned puppies. Then giving birth is not without complications. Some can be serious, and there will be the worry and expense of an emergency midnight rush to the vet. Some owners find themselves with a bitch that cannot feed its puppies, and then they have to find the time to hand-rear them, which is very hard work indeed. Spaying a bitch also removes the risk of uterine infections (which can make them very seriously ill) and will significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer if done early enough.

All of these problems can be reduced or removed by timely neutering.

Some Fallacies

Many people have been led to believe that allowing a bitch to have a litter or a season gives some health benefit or improvement in temperament. Despite very extensive research in this area, there is currently absolutely no scientific evidence to support these theories.

Another commonly held and mistaken belief is that neutering makes dogs and bitches fat, lazy, or changes their character. Feeding a scientifically designed high quality diet without excessive treats will control any tendency to weight gain, just as it does in an un-neutered animal. While neutering is often done in dogs and bitches to control some unwanted behavioural problems and they often become calmer after neutering, they do not lose their spirit. Remember that all service animals, Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Dogs for the Disabled are routinely neutered.

The Risks

Any anaesthetic or surgical operation does involve a small element of risk, but complications from castration (neutering males) are very rare and usually minor. Spaying (neutering females) is a bigger operation, and technically more difficult. Complications here are also very rare, but can be more serious. Most vets are very experienced in performing these procedures.

It is our view that the benefits of neutering far outweigh the risks, but we recommend that you discuss all these issues in detail with us to set your mind at rest. We will help you make the right choice for you and your pet, but the choice is yours and we will not pressure you into any course of action you do not wish to take.