What Benefits Can Be Achieved By “Fixing” My Dog?

29 12 2008

spikes-pack-smokey-hardenFor those of you following the nominations and voting for Spike’s Pack, you will recognize Smokey Harden.  He is also the dog in the picture to the right.  He has recently experienced the addition of a baby brother, which you can see here and here.  I would like to congratulate Smokey on his new addition.  I am really impressed that your parents taught you to ring the bell when it is time to potty.  Don’t worry,  your little brother will ring it also, but you may need to help teach him!

Your mom is considering neutering you, and she has asked me for my opinion.  My brother, Tax, says that some people need to give this operation some serious consideration, because it is not necessarily a “fix all” for aggressive or territorial behavior.  Of course, he says that because he is still intact.  He does not know it, but Mom has considered it for him to help calm him down, because he can certainly be a handful.  We are not sure if that is the reason, or if it is because he is a Golden Lab.

What are the benefits of neutering a male dog?

Male dogs benefit more behaviorally from being neutered than females do from being spayed.  In the animal world, the whole purpose of life is to bring about more life.  However in an already over-crowded domesticated animal world, choosing to allow your pet to reproduce at will is simply irresponsible.

An intact male can detect an intact female over many miles, regardless of topography.  When he does sense that there is a female ready to breed (also known as being “in heat”), oftentimes his behavior changes and usually not for the best. Biologically, he is driven to do everything he can to find that female.  Males have been known to fight so hard to escape confinement that they injure themselves in an effort to impregnate a female in heat.  Escape from confinement creates various problems from fights with other dogs to losing a fight with an automobile.  Dog vs. auto is a fight dogs rarely win.

People do not like to see changes in their pet’s behavior.  Once we are trained and humans pretty well have our routines down, the last thing they want is to experience a nervous almost neurotic dog,  or a lazy, depressed, ill, not eating, fight provoking and uncooperative pet.  These are some of the things that have been noted among intact males. The need to reproduce is strong and I have heard of some instances where pets have turned on their owners who tried to prevent their reaching their goal.  Intact males have only one thing on their mind. Finding that female.

In addition to the benefits noted above, here are a few health facts:

  • In intact male dogs 5 years and up, prostate enlargement occurs at least 60% of the time.
  • Infections and tumors in the prostate are more likely.
  • Tumors of the penis, anal area and testicles are also more likely.
  • Likelihood of rupturing of the posterior abdominal wall also known as a perineal hernia increases.

I don’t know about you, Smokey, but I would learn how to dial the vet to set up your appointment.

What are the benefits in spaying a female dog?

My team of researchers (read as Mom and the lazy Web guy) tell me that they found evidence that intact females cause a lot of intact males to hang around their homes.  Of course, we all know what happens next as these males posture and dominate for position…  Fights! This is a very good reason to get your female spayed.  When a female is “in heat,” her personality can change just as it can in a male dog.  They can experience similar behavior as intact males while they are in the peak breeding period, as they feel the need to reproduce.  This includes the misbehavior toward their parents.

Here are some facts about the health of intact females:

  • Tumors of the ovaries and uterus are more likely.
  • Female dogs eat a lot more during pregnancy and nursing.
  • Stress increases with each breeding cycle.
  • Likelihood of infections of the uterus increase.
  • Mammary tumors become more likely.
  • During a “heat,” spotting can happen.

Stay away from those females, Smokey!

Since it is a good idea to do so, when should a dog be spayed or neutered?

There has been a lot of controversy among vets and researchers about the earliest a dog can be “fixed,” but I have the latest scoop.  Many people believe that you must wait until a dog is five to seven months old before they can be “fixed.”  However, modern medicine has made it safe for pets to be “fixed” as young as 6-14 weeks.  This is a practice that has been occurring in the United States for over 25 years.  So, it is possible to have a young puppy “fixed” safely.  In my opinion, I suggest that you speak with your own personal vet, as they may have a different opinion, and they are the ones that will be treating your dog.  I always make it a habit never to argue with a vet, because they have needles.

Speaking of early “fixing,” with regards to mammary tumors, there is a less than 1% occurrence in females spayed before their first heat, a higher than 50% incidence in intact females over 5 years of age.


People cannot care for all the animals that are being born every year.  In the United States, over 6 million animals are destroyed annually because there are not enough homes to house them all.  Rather than contribute to the problem, be a part of the solution.  Dogs, tell your parents that you want to be part of the “fixed” generation!



One response

18 01 2009
How Do I Stop My Dogs From Fighting? « Ask Spike Online

[…] it is imperative that you have both of them neutered as soon as possible.  At the end of 2008, I discussed the advantages, both physically and behaviorally, of neutering or spaying your pet.  In this case, neutering will […]

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