Dog Neutering - What are the Risks and Benefits

Dog neutering (male) or spaying (female) is generally recommended for controlling the canine population if you are not planning to breed your dog. Canine over population and the euthanasia of millions of unwanted dogs each year is a big issue.

Dog Neutering, also referred to as castration, rarely has complications and it is considered a low risk surgery. It is performed by a veterinarian and involves removal of both testicles. This will prevent your dog from producing offspring.

Spaying is a bit more intrusive because an incision is made in the abdomen (there is always some level of risk when surgery is involved) and a complete removal of the ovaries and uterus performed. This will prevent reproduction, hormone imbalances and the heat cycles.

Benefits of Spaying

  • Spaying is recommended prior to the first heat cycle. This greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer (under 1%). The later spaying is done the more risk to your female dog. It goes from 1% - 25% if you wait until anytime after the second heat.

  • Infection of the uterus (pyometra), (another major health risk), is reduced.

  • There are the non-medical reasons which include not having male dogs hanging around, no bleeding and no unwanted pregnancies.

The downside to spaying is an increased risk of dog incontinence which is usually treatable and 10% of spayed females may gain weight. Make sure you feed and exercise your dog appropriately to combat this.

In summary, female dogs seem to live longer healthier lives because of this procedure.

Benefits of Neutering

  • It does significantly reduce prostate hypertropy and infections.

  • The non-medical benefits of neutering include - keeping your dog from roaming which eliminates being hit by a vehicle and fighting other dogs over females in heat.

  • It may also stop your dog from marking territory in the house and may make crate training easier. Your buddy may be less aggressive, and easier to handle.
There is the same weight gain issue as with their female counterparts. It is generally believed that male dogs will enjoy a better life because of this procedure.

Information that you should be aware of that was taken from an article in Nov. 2002, "Cancer Epidenology Biomarkers and Prevention" in which some side effects of neutering/spaying too early in Rottweilers was revealed. It has to do with Osteosarcoma, which is an aggressive bone cancer and is fairly common in large breeds.

  • Neutering male Rotties before a year old almost quadruples his risk of Osterosarcoma and triples with females Rottweilers.
  • Neutering or spaying a purebred canine before a year old doubles the risk of osteosarcoma.
If you own a Rottie it might be reasonable to wait until after a year old to have your pet neutered.

This procedure does save lives, for sure, and there is no right or wrong answer to dog neutering or spaying. Discuss the risks and benefits with your veterinarian.