Not yet neutered

**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:

  1. 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. 

  2. 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:

ASPCA

Blue Cross

RSPCA

Vet surgery

Sites with info AGAINST neutering / early neutering:

Whole Dog Journal

Dogs Naturally

Vasectomy over neuter

Angry Vet
Angry Vet again

Spay & Neuter Controversy

Dogs Naturally – vasectomy info

Don’t neuter you dog – YET!

Extra reads:

Long term effects of neutering

Dog forum discussion

Forum discussion with differing opinions

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 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Not yet neutered

  1. You are in the best position to judge what is best for Raiden. For me I find intact dogs visually unappealing so I would definitely go for neutering, but after about 8 months when he had gotten a good healthy dose of testosterone. don’t let other people intimidate you about what is best for Raiden. People are obnoxious and always think they know best. They don’t. You do!!

    • Thank you very much, I have to admit I was nervous about posting this blog…this tends to be a subject people feel very strongly about (which is fair enough!) but I never feel it’s fair when others tell people what they should do…provide information, sure, but at the end of the day the owner has to make the final decision.

      Hahaha I totally get what you saying, intact dogs give me the heebie-jeebies too…luckily because Raiden’s such a scruffball the only time you can see his ‘plums’ (hahahaha) is when he is on his back, and they don’t look so bad / wobbly then…I can’t believe I am typing this haha!

      Some intact dogs (usually short haired ones) I’d struggle not to neuter though as all you can see is their bits wobbling as they walk!!!

      Again, thank you so much 🙂

  2. I’m glad to have read this so thanks for sharing. I had Laufey done at 6 months because that’s what my mum wanted (and living at home it was hard to disagree). I’d already done all the research and really wanted to wait, if I could change it I probably would have had a vasectomy on him. By the time MiMi came along mum was more trusting in what I knew and had researched and, along with her severe fear, she has remained intact so far!

    • I feel like I’ve only seen the argument to leave your dog intact start popping up over the last year or so, and at first I didn’t pay it any attention…even when Raiden was four months old we were planning to neuter him at six months, then as it got closer I really put the effort into researching neutering and completely changed my point of view haha!

      After having had the ‘neuter asap’ message drilled into me for so long it took a lot of effort to change my thinking…it’s so hard to figure out what to do for your dog for the best 😛

      Are you planning to have MiMi spayed in the future, or are you going to leave her intact? I’m honestly doubtful we would want an intact female dog again, because getting Zoey spayed sucked…I’ve never experienced getting a dog castrated as Kasper was already neutered, but from what I’ve heard it’s a lot less invasive.

      • I think you only really see the other side if you get involved with animals not in rescue, so either the more general dog community or breeders or what have you. I work with rescue too and can totally see where they’re coming from in that they don’t want any more unwanted dogs and desexing is a lot easier than trying to convince people to be more responsible but I think vets should have more of a duty to give both sides.
        I’ve not decided if we’re going to get her done, mum’s considering it but I’m worried that it will a) make her fear even worse than it is and b) ruin her coat as happens a lot with double coated breeds and it’s not like she’s going to be getting accidentally pregnant any time soon because even if we weren’t to carefully manage her she’d be more likely to take a chunk out of a strange dog that let it mate with her. Males are much less invasive and recovery is generally very straightforward. They say rest for something like two weeks but Laufey was back to normal the day after and rest isn’t really something he understands

      • Yeah, I totally get why rescues advocate and carry out neutering on all the dogs…having to try be sure every potential new owner could manage an intact dog & understood the responsibility would be a nightmare; then keeping the dogs separate at the rescue with all the hormones flying about everywhere, sheesh!

        Completely agree about vets being more open and honest with both sides of the argument though…but then again I have very little trust in vets, even our good one. If they tell me something I have to research it for hours to make sure it’s something I agree with because I really don’t trust them. There’s not only this huge push to neuter every pet but also the force they use to push yearly vaccinations – bleh! And they just don’t take no for an answer, even if you lay out all your reasons…I know they think they definitely know best, but they should still respect the owner’s wishes.

        Hahahaha, omb I loved this so much: ‘even if we weren’t to carefully manage her she’d be more likely to take a chunk out of a strange dog than let it mate with her’, bless her XD

        I do worry about Raiden running off after the girly dogs as he gets older (I’ve never had experience with intact dogs remember) but tbh he’s never off lead around other dogs unless we’ve spoken with the owners beforehand anyway…as soon as we see dogs on the horizon he goes on the longline, and it’s rare for us to bump into other dogs where we let him off lead.

        When we had Zoey spayed we were told she would need such a long time with no walks, no jumping, no excitement at all etc – then on top of that another dog owner told me it was far safer to crate her 24/7 for the first week because if she did too much and hurt the incision it would be disastrous…I was so freaked out!! As it was keeping her quiet was fairly easy and there was no reason to worry – it was the way the vet handled the surgery and the lack of aftercare advice that caused issue.

      • Exactly that with vets. I love the branch manager at our practise, she does listen and try to understand but doesn’t always seem to get my concerns and at the end of the day she has a business to run no matter how much she loves animals. Don’t even get me started on vaccinations, I spent two weeks trying to find somewhere that would do an in-house vaccine check and the only one that would even consider it then backed out because they ‘didn’t know enough enough about it to trust it’ despite my being willing to sign a waiver saying it’s not their fault if I do the test and then they still got something anyway.

        Ahahahaha it does sound very amusing and I have to laugh but it’s very true and rather worrying!

        I think with Raiden if you do leave him intact it’s just about training as with shy kind of distraction. There are lots of people, whether breeders or sports people, to have intact of both and they all manage to live and work together without any issues. I read somewhere that you can train a male to ignore a female in season like you would train for any distraction, starting with scented ‘knickers’ and moving up to a female in standing heat. Obviously no personal experience so probably easier said than done!
        In terms of spaying, it is more involved and they do need more rest but I think calm lead walks and cuddles are much better than being crated! I’d hate to have a vet with such poor aftercare, I hope you never have to encounter the likes of again 😦

      • Wow, I can’t believe your vets backed out. That’s kind of incredible. At the moment we have decided not to vaccinate Kasper until he is at least seven years old, but possibly not even then. With Raiden he will get his first booster at a year old and then either another when he is seven, or no more.

        It’s hard trying to work out what you think is best for your dogs based on all the information provided, but it’s harder still when every time you see the vet they mention something about vaccinations…

        I can imagine walking MiMi can be tough…I got totally stressed out walking Zoey because other dogs running up to her scared her and when I called to other owners none of them tried to help. I guess you can always pick MiMi up if a dog appears out the blue, if she doesn’t mind and it helps her remain calm…that’s something I’d loved to have been able to do with Zoey for those situations where there’s nothing else possible.

        I think management and a hell of a lot of distraction work are gonna be needed for Raiden no matter what, as I do want to take him places other than quiet off lead walks by the beach…he’s come a long way with distractions even in adolescence so I’m hopeful we will get there one day 😀

        Thank you 🙂

      • It is, we did puppy but no boosters. I was annoyed at the vets, I wouldn’t have minded if they came straight out with it but they seemed very on board and then just no. We have picked her up a couple of times but it makes her even worse but no one helps and people find it funny because she’s so small. You’ll get there with Raiden, he sounds very like Laufey and he’s mostly getting there now 😀

      • With Kasper he had puppy shots but no booster, I’m undecided if we will give Raiden his one year booster…part of me thinks yes, because a lot of articles I’ve read did the 1yr booster then no more, but part of me thinks no because others say only the puppy shots are needed.

        Oh yeah, that’s one of the worst things about having a small dog – whatever they do is funny. An aggressive small dog is hilarious because everyone knows they can’t hurt anyone, so let’s push them further… *rolls eyes*

        We get it all the time with Raiden too; when he would jump up or yap as people walked past they would always fuss him or laugh – “oh I don’t mind, he’s only small!”

        Thank you! I keep having to remind myself Kasper was terrible when we adopted him at 9 months old; at 5 years he is a totally different dog…give it a few years and hopefully Raiden will be even more amazing than he is now 😀

      • Yeah I know what you mean, we sort of went anecdotal in that our previous dogs didn’t have more than puppy in the end so something is clearly working for us. They’re infuriating aren’t they, we have the jumping with Laufey and people think it’s fine because they’re small but when suddenly you’re wearing white pants it’s not okay anymore!??! Honestly, hang in there, you always forget how awful puppies are in the face of cuteness and in a few years you’ll have forgotten Raiden’s difficulties too 😀

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