If you own a male dog that you don’t intend to use within a deliberate breeding programme after doing plenty of research into the pros and cons, the responsible choice to make is to have them neutered.
Neutering your male dog will of course ensure that they don’t breed, and so, don’t contribute to the ever-increasing numbers of homeless and unwanted dogs and puppies in shelters. It can also go a long way towards ensuring that they are happy, healthy and easier to manage, because you won’t have to contend with their hormones and sex drive, which can be heavily influenced by bitches in heat, even some way away.
Neutering your male dog also has one other huge advantage too – it can actually increase your dog’s lifespan, helping to ensure that they reach old age in good health. If you’re wondering how neutering your male dog can increase their lifespan and why this is, we’ll cover the main points in this article. Read on to learn more.
First of all, an intact male dog is very hormone-driven, and this impacts on every area of their life. Any time there is a bitch in heat within scenting distance – which can be several miles under the right conditions – your intact male dog’s entire focus will become that bitch, and finding them by any means necessary.
This means that even if your dog is usually well behaved and perfectly trustworthy when you let them out into your yard or garden, the presence of a bitch in heat will override all of their other urges and cause them to do everything in their power to get out of their home, yard or garden and go off in search of them.
This in turn can lead to your dog escaping or running off, or disappearing when running freely out on a walk, and dogs that are in pursuit of a mate don’t pay much heed to their personal safety. They may traverse roads, fences and other dangers to get to the bitch, which of course hugely increases the risk of them getting hurt or injured.
Unneutered males are by no means aggressive by default – but they do tend to be more dominant and can be more challenging to handle and socialise. However, if two unneutered male dogs meet, they are more likely to tussle for dominance than unneutered dogs, which can lead to situational aggression and unpredictability with other dogs.
Added to this, two unneutered male dogs who have both scented a bitch in heat are much more likely to fight quite seriously over the bitch, which can result in serious injuries for both parties.
Testicular cancer is a risk for both dogs and people in later life, but because neutering removes the testes, it also completely removes the risk of testicular cancer too. Assuming that the neutering procedure is properly carried out, this takes your dog’s testicular cancer risk down to zero and can help to ensure that when they get older, they won’t face this risk – a risk that can shorten their lifespan and potentially prove fatal.
Neutering also helps to reduce the likelihood of your dog suffering from prostate issues, including cancer, as your dog gets older too. While neutering doesn’t entirely remove the risk of prostate problems like it does with testicular cancer, it does reduce a lot of the risk factors.
When unneutered dogs age, their prostates become larger over time and are more likely to develop infections and other painful and sometimes serious problems too. These problems are much less common in neutered male dogs, which can help to lengthen their lifespan.
Training, managing and handling an unneutered dog can be more challenging than for a neutered dog, and whilst this is entirely achievable, it does require an experienced dog owner to achieve. Battles for dominance and even aggression are less likely to occur between a neutered dog and their owner or other people, and neutered dogs are generally more tolerant and laid back.
How does this impact on a dog’s lifespan? Well, a dog that can be snappy or unpredictable is a risk for other dogs and people, and they may potentially bite someone or cause an injury through other means. This could ultimately result in the police or dog warden being involved, and a control order made – and for a serious or repeat offence, the courts may even order that the dog in question be put to sleep.
Neutering doesn’t change your dog’s fundamental personality, or remove their natural instincts and behaviours, but it does help to ensure that they are not slaves to their hormones – and so, don’t manifest potentially undesirable behaviours as a result of them. Many – in fact, most – unneutered male dogs are properly trained and managed and behave and act just as appropriately as neutered dogs, but the margin for error is narrower and as mentioned, they require an experienced owner to achieve this and manage the influence that the dog’s hormones have upon them.