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Oct 07, 2015

Desexing Dogs: Fact vs Fiction

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When it comes to our dog’s private parts, everyone seems to have their own opinion. Let’s sort out the facts from fiction.

Fact: Entire dogs are at greater risk of disease

Female dogs that are not desexed are at increased risk of a number of diseases. One major disease is breast cancer. In dog’s they have breast tissue (or mammary tissue) extending from their chest to their abdomen. Have a look for yourself – each nipple has mammary tissue beneath it. The risk of this disease increases the more times she comes into heat, the first time being around 6-7 months of age. Her risk is lowest if she is desexed before she goes through any heats at all. Entire females are also at increased risk of getting life threatening infections of the womb, also known as the uterus, painful infections of the mammary tissue and other types of cancer. Pregnancy itself also comes with risks, including nutritional deficiencies and difficult birthings that may require veterinary intervention or even a caesarean surgery. These diseases are all potentially life threatening.

 

Entire male dogs are at increased risk of disease of the prostate, cancer of the testicles and scrotum, testicular infection, and development of hernias. These diseases can also be life threatening, requiring veterinary intervention later on in life, which can end up much more expensive than getting your animal desexed as a puppy.

Fiction: Desexing before dogs are one year old stunts their growth

This is simply not the case. Desexing animals at the recommended age (5-6 months) means that their reproductive structures such as the testicles, and ovaries are removed, and so will not grow any further. These animals also tend to have smaller scrotums and vulvas. However these changes are not associated with negative side effects. Their adult size and body shape is not altered by desexing. This is true even for larger breeds that still have a lot of growing to do after 6 months of age.

Fact: Desexing dogs can help improve their behaviour

This is true, but only to a point. Females on heat and entire males may be more inclined to run away from home looking for a breeding partner. Entire males may be more aggressive than desexed ones, particularly if a female on heat is nearby, and may hurt themselves or others (such as a human or another dog). They are also more likely to mark inappropriately (such as urinating on your brand new couch!). The risk of these behaviours is reduced in desexed animals, particularly if it’s done at a young age – these behaviours can be a habit in older animals, even after being desexed. It is important to be prepared for these behaviours if you do choose not to desex your pet. However it’s important to remember that desexing is not a replacement for training your pet – you will still need to teach them basic manners such as sit and not biting, and your bouncy puppy will still be bouncy after being desexed.

 We recommend sterilising dogs by 6 months to prevent these health and behavioural issues.

Myth: Females need to have a litter

This is partly due to the health risks we already talked about, but there are other reasons.  There are already more dogs and cats than there are caring homes to put them in, and it isn’t fair to these future puppies and kittens to bring them into a world where they may not have a happy life. Puppies and kittens are hard work - be ready for sleepless nights and taking time off work!  Both mum and bubs require special care and lots of cleaning. You will need to be prepared to hand raise the babies if they are sick or if their mother is unable to care for them.  It’s also important to make time to socialise, handle and train them individually from day one.

 

If you have more questions about getting your pet desexed, or would like to book your pet in for desexing please feel welcome to get in touch with us!

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