**please note I am not arguing for / against neutering dogs in this post, I understand that is a personal decision and one for the dog’s owner to make. This is just my personal opinion, plan for what we will do with Raiden, and info I have found**
I am coming clean about something: Raiden is 8 months old and has not been neutered.
I have always been a believer of the whole “neuter your pets as young as possible” phenomen.
We had Zoey spayed at 7 months, and had planned to get her spayed at six months but then Kasper cut his artery and we had to wait an extra month.
Having Zoey spayed was a very traumatic experience for us all and, because I would want a future female dog spayed due to pyometra, I would not want to get a female puppy and go through it again – this means either all male dogs for me, or adopting an older female in the future.
With Raiden the plan was always to get him neutered at six months old…
but after doing a ton of research, we have opted to leave it longer – I’m sure some of you are already thinking how irresponsible this is, but remember this is my personal opinion, my personal choice, and Raiden will not be impregnating any female dogs!!
So why don’t I want him neutered?
Well, because I have been told by many other very good, responsible dog owners, that neutering a dog before they are fully grown and emotionally mature can be damaging to them, and removes a lot of important hormones.
Testosterone for example is important for a dog’s confidence…most people get their male dogs neutered at around 6 months old, right when they’re coming into adolescence. It doesn’t seem wise, to me, to neuter a dog and remove such an important hormone around the age where they can become more fearful of the world anyway.
I have also read from many, many sites written by behaviourists AND veterinarians that neutering (especially early neutering) is not only not needed, but can be dangerous to the dog’s health.
Every vet I have spoken to in person has pushed neutering; I have been told it is something that ALL responsible dog owners MUST do, and that the sooner the better – our current vet wanted to neuter Raiden at five months for example.
Raiden at five months was very much still a baby & had a lot of growing left to do!
Why are they advising this if it might not be good for the dog? Is it because all they have been taught is that early neutering is best?
Every vet I have spoken with also advocates yearly vaccinations, and there is now a fair amount of evidence to show that this could be bad for our dogs too.
Anyway, the articles I read OUTSIDE OF information provided by most rescue centres & veterinary surgeries almost all said that it is best to wait for neutering, and even that not neutering a dog at all can be a good choice, depending on the owner.
It seems to me that rescues and vets like to constantly bombard dog owners with reasons why you MUST neuter you dog (it *will* live a healthier life, it *will* get cancer if you don’t neuter etc), whereas sites suggesting holding off neutering tend to list more facts, studies and most admit it is a tough decision to make.
In my opinion I am a responsible enough owner to do monitor and manage Raiden, to make sure he doesn’t impregnate a dog. And to me the benefits of waiting to neuter a dog (or leaving them intact) outweigh the risks of neutering them early. Again, this is all my personal opinion.
So what is our plan with Raiden?
Well, we have two options we are considering:
- Ask around vets to see if they can perform a vasectomy.
Raiden keeps his balls and still gets all the benefits, but he can’t impregnate a female – although I think this wouldn’t ever be a problem, it would be nice to have it be an impossibility, and when we get the inevitable person calling us “disgusting” for not neutering him, it would be nice to say “oh he’s had a vasectomy”. It’s also a much easier procedure than neutering, and recovery time is shorter.
The negative is that it seems virtually no vets are taught how to do this procedure, because the push is obviously for removing the testicles.
- Put off neutering until Raiden is fully mature, both physically and emotionally. The very earliest I would feel comfortable neutering him would be 12-18 months old. At that point we could ask ourselves ‘do we want to neuter him, or do we think we are happy living with him intact?’
This is a good article that describes quite how much of a confusing situation this is to be in!
If you are going through this situation yourself, some things to look up include:
- the rate of cancers in neutered / intact dogs
- the affect on growth plates & joint problems, eg. hip dysplasia
- fear / anxiety problems in neutered dogs
- future issues caused by neutering (especially early neutering) eg. females not being able to hold their bladder, ‘doggy alzheimers’ etc
Sites with info FOR neutering:
Sites with info AGAINST neutering / early neutering:
So…as you can see, the whole neuter argument is very confusing.
I was once all for neutering at six months old, but after putting in so much time researching it, I have changed positions. Now I will be waiting until my male dog is at the very least 12 months old, and I will be taking on the responsibility to make sure he doesn’t add to the huge issue of overpopulation.
I really don’t think there is a ‘right’ answer, certainly not 100%, but I feel it’s really important to research this yourself as a dog owner and form your own opinion.
I can absolutely understand those who are all for neutering (what a fantastic cause, to make sure ‘oops’ litters don’t happen and more dogs aren’t added to the world and thus the rescues!)…but for me, I think I am responsible enough to manage an intact dog, and I think it is healthier for Raiden.
Other people might disagree, and that is fine. It is about what you feel is best.
I have put a lot of effort into researching both neutering and vaccinations. Everything I do is what *I believe* is right for my dogs, and I know all you other pup parents are the same 🙂