Neutering a dog can be a difficult decision for pet owners. Not only are there costs to consider, but it is also important to understand what neutering a dog does to its temperament, as well as what age they are suitable for the treatment.
What are the Benefits of Neutering a Dog?
Neutering a male dog can make it more relaxed and less hyperactive in its home environment, as well more affectionate to others around it.
Neutering, where both testicles and their associated structures are removed, can remove sexual urges, making your dog less likely to charge around in search of females to mate with, according to pet emergency service Vets Now.
It can also get rid of “dominance behaviors” and bad habits such as jumping over fences, chasing cars and urinating in the house, the pet service has said.
Minimizing sexual aggression also eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and therefore unwanted litters, which in turn helps reduce the number of abandoned pets in animal shelters.
It also can help the dog live a healthier, longer life, and reduces the likelihood of the animal developing testicular cancer and other prostatic disease in later life, according to the emergency service.
Dr. Stephanie Austin, DVM (medical director, Bond Vet) explains that the risks of developing testicular cancer are removed by neutering. “Dogs who are neutered have a dramatic decrease in the incidence of benign prostatic hyperplasia.”
But neutering any animal should be done with care and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns that castration is not a quick fix for all behavioral problems, such as those that have been learned and become habitual.
These are the factors to consider when planning to get your pet neutered:
The ASPCA says the traditional age for neutering is six to nine months, but healthy puppies as young as eight weeks can also go through with the procedure. Adult dogs can also be neutered, but there’s a slightly increased risk of post-operative complications. This is the same for older dogs that are overweight or have other long-term health problems.
Austin says: “Generally, for most small/medium dogs we want to neuter close to 6 months of age. For dogs over 50 pounds, some doctors recommend waiting until after skeletal maturity, so closer to 12 months of age.”
For male dogs, adult size is a critical factor. Small and medium males are generally neutered earlier—around 6 months of age—but larger dogs may not be treated until they are between nine and 15 months of age, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Life Stage Guidelines.
Neutering a Dog Costs
Neutering can vary in price depending on where you live, the age of your pet and if it has any health issues.
According to the ASPCA, it should cost around $300 to neuter your dog. Initial medical costs, including vaccines, should cost around $300 too. However, some vaccines are optional so the organization advises that you talk to your vet about personalizing your dog’s inoculations. Collars, leash and harnesses should cost $60, the ASPCA said, while microchipping should cost $20.
A dog carrier should cost $50 and a crate should cost $60, while training assets should cost $200 and grooming tools should cost another $40. Overall, the ASPCA expects the additional costs of getting a dog—not including buying the pet itself—to be around $1,030.
There are additional “special” costs such as professional grooming (around $300) and dental costs (around $500), the animal organization said. It also advises dog owners not to miss their animal’s yearly exam, as costs can quickly rack up and its riskier to treat illnesses than protect against them.
For a further understanding of the costs, Austin suggests asking your veterinarian to break down the prices.
What Is the Recovery Time for Neutering a Dog?
After your dog is neutered you must ensure their activity is restricted for at least the first week. While this is for general healing purposes, it is also to “reduce the risks of seroma formation, which is an accumulation of fluid at the incision site,” Austin explains.
“Lastly, it’s important to keep a cone on your dog when they are recovering so that they don’t delay healing or cause infection by licking or chewing at their incision site.”