A large part of responsible dog ownership involves providing positive socialisation, training and appropriate nutrition in order to meet the physical and emotional needs of our pets.
Castration is also often considered a key component of responsible dog ownership to prevent unwanted and/or unplanned litters and to avoid adding to already overburdened rescue centres.
Castration may also be considered for other reasons. The reduction of testosterone can be beneficial in certain testosterone related diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, which affects 80% of entire male dogs over 5 years old1 and can help with unwanted behavioural traits related to testosterone levels.
Whilst there are many good reasons to consider castration, surgical castration may not always be the right choice for every pet owner. Current research has shown that 25% of pet owners are concerned or very concerned that neutering could be harmful for their dog2. Common concerns include the potential risks involved with a surgical procedure under anaesthetic and possible post-operative complications along with the uncertainty over how a dogs’ behaviour may change due to the change in testosterone levels.
The permanency of surgery has been cited as the reason why 67% of owners with entire male dogs have not yet opted for the procedure3. The good news is that there is an alternative to surgical castration which offers all the same benefits of surgery without the permanency. This option is a good way of examining how a dog will behave once testosterone levels are lowered in order to determine the suitability of surgical castration.
If you are currently considering castration, speak to your veterinary surgeon about the options available and they will be able to advise you further on the right choice for your dog.
1. O’Shea J.D. Studies on the canine prostate gland : Factors influencing its size and weight. J. Comp. Pathol., 1962, 72, 321-331
2. Mo Gannon & Associates (2017). Do you think neutering is harmful for dogs?. MG&A.
3. Harris interactive. Understanding the usages & attitudes around cats & dogs sterilization and evaluating the potential of Suprelorin. (2017).
There's more than one way to crack a nut