But Doc, Do We Really Have To Neuter Him??


Dr. Bethany Brewer

I get asked this question all the time when talking to owners of a male puppy. It’s often followed by several excuses and misconceptions from owners on reasons not to have to neuter… all of which I’ve heard many times before. In this blog, I hope to debunk some of those myths that Dr. Google has perpetuated.

It’s not like he’ll come home pregnant.
True. But he will get someone pregnant. Many unplanned pregnancies in female dogs come from litters of an unknown male. An unplanned pregnancy can be life-threatening for females if the male is significantly bigger than she is. Dogs will mate regardless of size difference and puppies can be too large for her to pass naturally.

He’ll get fat.
Dogs become overweight for the same reason humans do; because their caloric intake exceeds their daily caloric use. Too many treats and not enough exercise will cause an animal to put on weight. Neutering will help to calm a rowdy male, but it will not make him fat and lazy.

I want to breed him.
Maybe he comes from a good bloodline. Maybe you paid a lot of money for him. Maybe he’s a rare color for the breed. Before you decide to stud out your buddy, I encourage you to simply take a walk through a local shelter. Have a look at the hundreds of animals overcrowded in kennels because of over breeding and unplanned litters.

I want another one just like him.
All dogs, just like all humans, are individuals and are products of both their genetics and environment. I guarantee you will not get a puppy that looks or behaves just like him.

I don’t want to take away his manlihood.
Sexual identity is a human thing. Just like he doesn’t know he’s never been skydiving or snorkled on the Great Barrier Reef. He won’t know the difference.

I don’t want to put him under anesthesia.
I completely understand! I get nervous when I have to anesthetize my 13-year-old Dachshund for his annual dental, but it’s something that has to be done and his overall health is improved afterward. Every surgery is a risk. Every patient undergoing a surgical procedure is carefully treated as such. You have the option of running “pre-op” blood work and EKG to evaluate heart and kidney function before they go under anesthesia. And yes, I have had patients that I’ve postponed surgery because their liver values were high or they didn’t feel well that day.

Studies show that neutered pets live longer than intact ones. As mentioned before, neutering greatly helps decrease roaming behavior and lost pets. The vast majority of dogs that I see after-hours that have been hit by cars are intact males (several of which have electric fence collars on). When castration is performed before a year of age we see fewer instances of “leg lifting” and house soiling as well as less dominance (humping) behavior. Neutering also prevents issues of the prostate, scrotum, and testicles. We can prevent certain cancers, benign prostatic hyperplasia, scrotal dermatitis, testicular torsions, hernias, and even self-inflicted injuries simply by castrating!

Although he won’t come home pregnant, it will help him live a longer, healthier life. In the very least it will help prevent him from chasing women and fast cars.