The right time to get your dog desexed
Ask any dog owner and they will tell you one of the biggest decisions they faced was when to have their pet desexed.
New dog owners are in a similar position to new parents; they will receive an abundance of advice from family, friends and complete strangers at the park, and will have to navigate through the myths and half-truths to find the correct information.
Some will say that neutering a male dog removes his maleness, another will advocate for at least one litter from a female dog before spaying, as it’s more natural for them. Another post could suggest that dogs become lazy and put on weight following desexing, and that it’s best to wait until they reach adulthood.
In fact it is recommended that desexing of dogs is performed at an early age, generally around six months. This can avoid development of reproduction-related problems such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer/disorders in males and ovarian tumours, pyometra (acute uterine infection), and mammary tumours in females.
Obviously desexing also prevents unwanted litters. It’s estimated that, if never spayed or neutered, a female dog, her mate, and their puppies could produce over 66,000 dogs in six years – so the reproductive effect is massive. What’s more, there is no evidence to suggest that animals feel deprived or even notice that they have had their reproductive organs removed.
Because desexing removes the reproductive organs, hormone levels will change and this can reduce a dog’s activity levels. With this in mind, owners should adjust the amount and type of food – such as switching from puppy to adult feed – to ensure the dog doesn’t gain weight. Obesity and laziness in dogs is generally down to poor diet and exercise and not a side-effect of desexing. Remember you are in control of the food intake.
A body of scientific research shows that neutering can reduce a range of behavioural problems including mounting, aggression and roaming. Wandering dogs can get into a lot of trouble and run a high risk of being hit by cars. Last year 76 per cent of the impounded dogs at Auckland Council’s Manukau animal shelter hadn’t been desexed.
Just like food and shelter, responsible pet ownership includes arranging for your dog to be desexed and in recognition of this most councils have lower registration fees for desexed dogs.
When it comes to making the desexing decision owners are best to follow the advice of professionals who can discuss the advantages and any potential disadvantages with regards to your dog.
Vicki Whitaker is the team leader of Auckland Council’s Western Animal Shelter.
Your dog should be desexed at an early age, generally when they are about six months old.