2015.08.18

Spay or Neuter. Every dog is different.

Most dog owners are well aware of the benefits of spaying and neutering dogs, not many know that even though there are benefits, there are also disadvantages. We have 5 dogs, and 2 of them are neutered, we stand firmly on the view that not all dogs should be spayed or neutered and timing is crucial when it comes to spaying or neutering your dog.

As mentioned above, most dog owners are aware of the benefits, the benefits of spaying and neutering will therefore not be covered here.

Some of us have the idea that spaying or neutering can help eliminate certain behaviour problems such as marking, humping or aggression.

∆ Marking
We have seen countless of neutered male dogs marking whenever they enter someone else’s home, sometimes even spayed female dogs do it. We have 5 boys and none of them mark in others’ homes. In our opinion, marking has to do with trainings and not neutering.

An intact male dog WILL however mark when he is unleashed and unsupervised in an open field or a public area, marking in relatives’, friends’ or even in strangers’ homes is completely a matter of training.

∆ Humping
Spaying and Neutering again, will not stop a dog from humping another dog unless it is purely of sexual purposes. Female dogs and sterilised dogs hump too.

∆ Aggression
Aggression may be helped by neutering the dog but only if the aggression is caused by sexual competition on a fellow male counterpart. There are many reasons for aggression and owners should take a serious look at the reason before coming to the conclusion that neutering can solve their dogs’ aggression problems.

Spaying and Neutering helps to reduce the risks of several health complications, but do you know, it also increase the risks of many other health complications?

∂ Cancer
While neutering or spaying helps to lower the risk or prevent certain cancers such as mammory tumors or prostate cancer, it also increase the risks of other cancers. Studies have shown that sterilised dogs are significantly more likely to develop bone cancer than intact dogs. A spayed female dog also has a greater than five times risk of having Cardiac Tumor as  compared to the intact females.

∂ Growth and Development
If you are wondering why is your spayed or neutered dog taller, longer or more narrow in the neck to chest area as compared to the others of the same breed, this is the reason.

Research published in 2000 in the Journal of Paediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism: At puberty, oestrogen promotes skeletal maturation and the gradual, progressive closure of the epiphyseal growth plate, possibly as a consequence of both estrogen-induced vascular and osteoblastic invasion and the termination of chondrogenesis.

The removal of oestrogen-producing organs in puppies can cause the growth plates to remain open. Sterilized puppies will continue to grow and wind up in a ‘not so standard’ bone structure, or what we call irregular body proportions. Some difference more commonly seen on body proportions are the necks and heights. Dogs sterilised at a young age can be a lot taller than they should have been and narrower from the neck to chest area.

∂ Increase Risk in ACL/CCL, Hip Dysplasia, and other leg injuries
This is the major reason that we feel should be seriously considered before bringing your dogs to neuter during their puppyhood. While large breed dogs are more prone to ACL/CCL or hip dysplasia, sterilised dogs of ALL breeds and sizes are exposed to a higher risk of such injuries. While you save your dog from future possibility of getting certain cancers, you also increase the chance of needing to bring your dog in for surgery because of leg injuries.

We have an adopted Yorkshire that has been neutered since young even before we adopted him. He has luxated patella, although he is very much living happily, this could have been prevented if he were neutered later or at a more matured age. We have terriers and they abuse their bodies and run around like crazy dogs, they love what they do and we don’t want to put any of them at a disadvantage by neutering them as young as 6months.

∂ Other Health Concerns
Spaying/Neutering at early age can cause urinary incontinence in female dogs and increased incidence of urethral sphincter incontinence in males.

In our own opinion, every dog is different, spaying and neutering may help your dog but it may also harm your dog. While one can argue that neutering helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, chopping off a dog’s leg will also reduce the risk of CCL and the dog can get on by with just 3 legs, but this simply isn’t going to be part of any owners’ consideration. Allowing the dogs to retain the hormones for a little longer will allow the dog to have a normal body development and allow them to put on more muscles.

We agree that a neutered or spayed dog can be easier to train and more focused, but this should not be the main reason for sterilising your dog. We have 3 intact male dogs, while 1 can be a grumpy old man at times, the other 2 intact dogs happens to be the friendliest and ‘safest’ among all our dogs. If it ain’t broken, why fix it?

Vets and trainers often encourage sterilizing for various reasons. Undeniably sterilizing has its own set of strong benefits, it is a procedure that cannot be undone. Therefore we encourage every pet owner to consider carefully before deciding. An intact dog can be healthy, can be trainable and can be friendly.

If the decision to sterilised has been made, an appropriate age and time should taken into serious considerations to reduce any risk of health hazards in the future. We feel that the minimum age for sterilization should be at approximately 12 months old if your dog is aggressive on a male to male reason. Otherwise, it’s best to let them grow slightly more and do it only after maturity at 2.Lastly, if you are unable to control your dog from having unwanted litters/puppies, we feel that it is best for you to sterilise your dog to prevent adding to the number of poor shelter animals.