*Dr Kumar Vikas

Spaying and Neutering are the ways to prevents dogs having puppies and avoiding behavioural issues related with mating instincts. Spaying means surgical removal of ovaries and uterus of a female whereas castration/ neutering means removing testicles of a male.  Spaying prevents mating cycles of female dogs whereas neutering reduces breeding instinct of male dogs thus makes them less inclined to roam around due to mating instinct. After neutering dog feels more contended to stay at one place.

What are the effects of sterilization on dogs?

Neutering of dogs have no effect on their routine life and their abilities like playing, hunting, intelligence etc. Many of pets become more socializable after undergoing these surgical procedures.

Benefits of Neutering Male Dogs:-

  • Prevents accidents and issue related with mating behaviour
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer
  • Marked reduction in incidence of perianal gland tumors
  • Reduces the changes of:
    • Accidentals & behavioural problems relating with mating instinct.
    • Non-cancerous prostate disorders
    • Perianal fistulas and perineal hernia.
  • May possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)

Benefits of spaying female dogs

  • Nearly eliminates the risk of
    • pyometra or uterine infection (which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs
    • uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumours
    • ovarian cyst
  • Reduces the risk development of
    • Perianal fistulas
    • Mammary tumours if done before 2.5 years of age

Risk Associated with Neutering Male & Female Dogs

 Like ever coin has two faces, similarly, along with beneficial effects neutering of dog can be associated few side effects related with surgical removal of reproductive organs. For simple understanding we can divided these risks into two categories:-

  1. Surgical Risk: – since these procedures are carried out under general anaesthesia and involves surgical removal of reproductive organs, the usual surgical risk common for all surgeries like anaesthetic reactions, surgical infections and wound related problem can occur. In today’s scenario spay and neuter are routine surgeries and can be done in planned manner. It is important to get these procedures done from experienced veterinarian having surgical and anaesthetic monitoring facilities. It is equally important to undergo pre surgical examination and get basic blood tests and cardiac function evaluated through auscultation and ECG.
  2. Long term health associated risk: as reproductive organs are removed in these procedures, there could be some effect on body related with absence of hormone produce by these organs. Sterilization can be associated with :-
    1. Moderately increase in risk of obesity & reduce in urine control in females
    2. Mild increase in risk of certain cancers and joint problems in large and giant breed if sterilization is done before 1 year of age.

The way to reduce this risk is to carry out procedure at appropriate age according to breed.

What is right age for spay and neuter: –

 Determining right age for sterilization in dog is always and matter of debate. Globally lot of research have been carried out to understand most suitable age for such procedure. The most important thing to influence age of neutering is the Breed. Apart from age other parameter to considered are environment, lifestyle (weather indoor or outdoor), activity level etc

 The scientific recommendation related with age of neutering/ spaying are:

  • For large breed dogs (breeds weighing above 25 kg on maturity) spaying between the first and second heat cycles in female dogs and castration after musculoskeletal maturity in male dogs.
  • Small breed dogs or mongrels can be neutered earlier than first heat.

A details study was carried out in University of California, Davis in year 2020, where they have come out with age recommendation for 35 breeds of dogs. For a pet parent its better to consult your veterinarian to decide timing of spay and neuter for your dog.

Breed Recommended age for Neuter/ Spay (https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388 Recommended age for Neuter/ Spay (https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388
Male Female
Beagle Beyond 11 months Choice
3 2.4 0%
Boxer Beyond 23 months Beyond 23 months
5 2.3 0%
Bulldog Choice Choice
Chihuahua Choice Choice
Cocker Spaniel Beyond 6 months Beyond 23 months
Dachshund Choice Choice
Doberman Pinscher Leave intact or before 11 months Beyond 23 months
German Shepherd Beyond 23 months Beyond 23 months
Golden Retriever Beyond 11 months is leaving the female intact or spaying at one year
Great Dane Beyond 11 months Beyond 11 months
Labrador Retriever Beyond 6 months Beyond 11 months
Pomeranian Choice Choice
Pug Choice Choice
Rottweiler Beyond 11 months Beyond 6 months
Saint Bernard Choice Beyond 11 months
Shih Tzu Choice Beyond 23 months
Yorkshire Terrier Choice Choice

What is the care needed after surgery? – 

Spay and neuter are most commonly performed surgeries by veterinarian. Only care needed to prevent pets lick their wounds to avoid self-damage. Use E- collars and protective clothing are helpful to protect the surgical wound. You pet will require dressing of wound on regular interval as advised by vet. Avoid jumping for first few days. Morning and evening walk can be offered as it was before surgery after 2-3 days of surgery.

Are there any non-surgical methods of sterilization of dogs?

 In few countries there are few approved products are available to neuter male cats and dogs that is injected into the testes to stop sperm production and render the dog or cat infertile. Since such product do not affect all hormone-producing cells of the testes, the testis will continue to produce some hormones and dog will keep on exhibiting mating behaviour. How ever there is no such product approved by Indian government. 

For female dogs few hormonal products are available which suppress heat cycles. Such products need to be injected on regular basis and in long run can increase chances of infection of uterus.

Conclusion: – 

Spaying and Neutering are routine procedure performed on dogs to control population and mating related behaviour. The decision should be made depending on breed, age, gender, lifestyle and environment. Spay and neuter if carried out at appropriate age and manner can help increase lifespan of dog.

  *Dr Kumar Vikas, is chief vet and founder of Go4pets Pet Care, located at Bhiwadi near Gurgaon. Dr Kumar Vikas is having experience of more than 20 years and his area of interest include small animal dermatology, imaging & cardiology.

Website www.go4pets.in,

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Go4petsBhiwadi/,

You tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChQ_tCohLZBmqoziCslLY5g

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