If you have just got a new rescue dog, then the decision will usually have been taken out of your hands, as they will likely be de-sexed. If you have just bought a new puppy, a time will come to decide whether to have them spayed (female) or castrated (male). The decision isn't just about if you want the dog to grow up and have puppies. There are health implications too.
Female spaying and male castration are surgical procedures that prevent your dog from reproducing. The ovaries and uterus, as well as the testicles, are usually removed. Other options (such as vasectomies for male dogs) are available, although they are uncommon. These treatments are always performed under general anesthesia and require a brief recovery time, during which your dog will need extra attention.
Many people, including many veterinarians, believe that castration is the answer to most behavioral issues. This isn't the case at all. Castration involves the removal of the testicles and, as a result, testosterone. The only behaviors that are affected by castration are those that are driven by testosterone.
Excessive Urine marking is one of the most extreme variants. When dogs have to mark every time they smell another dog, they are obligated to do so. This includes your residence. When out for a walk, castrated dogs will still mark as it is natural. Castration is unlikely to impact this behavior because it is normal, but it could curb excessive marking.
Constant humping and mounting — it could be other dogs, people's legs, or toys. A dog's desire to chase down bitches and attempt to mate with them is fueled by testosterone. Castration, in theory, will help to improve this behavior.
In the presence of bitches in heat, dogs fight with each other. This does not cover general dog hostility or aggression in different settings, and it could get your dog into trouble or injured.
Castration, as previously said, removes testosterone. We risk lowering their level of confidence because testosterone is a confidence-building hormone. This adjustment is frequently undetectable in dogs who are already confident. However, if your dog already exhibits low-confidence behaviors (for example, fear, anxiety, or irritation), there's a chance you'll exacerbate them.
A lack of confidence drives some negative behaviors. Aggression toward people and other dogs, separation issues, guarding issues, noise sensitivity, or general anxiety or fear responses are all possible causes.
Dogs can still get aroused even if they can't get a bitch pregnant. Castration has little effect on what dogs do when they are overstimulated. Castration will neither help nor worsen mouthing, humping (humans, toys, cushions, and dogs that are not in heat).
If a lack of confidence causes urine staining or excessive marking, castration can exacerbate the problem and not help it.
Your pet will no longer go into heat once she has been spayed. This offers numerous advantages for you as her owner. When she's in heat, her vulva produces a bloody fluid that can stain her coat (as well as your carpets, clothing, and furnishings!) She will try to find mates with whom she can mate. When she isn't adequately secured inside the house, she will require attention and be kept on a leash when on walks if you wish to avoid a pregnancy.
By having your pet spayed, you are also removing the chance of her developing the disease pyometra. This is when bacteria become stuck in the womb, causing it to swell with pus and, in severe cases, explode. Pyometra can be difficult to detect, and it is typically fatal. It is difficult to get this often-fatal disease without a uterus.
A spay can prevent both conception and fake, or 'phantom' pregnancies, in which your pet's body mimics the symptoms of pregnancy. This might cause a hormonal imbalance in your pet, making them feel out of sorts. Worse, it may lead your pet to get mastitis, a condition in which the mammary glands become infected. This, too, has the potential to be fatal.
Any surgery comes with its own set of risks, and the procedure itself is fraught with difficulties. Issues may occur due to various factors, including an unfavorable reaction to the anesthetic or surgical complications during the process. Before beginning, your veterinarian may request a blood test to rule out any anomalies that could compromise the anesthetic's efficiency and safety, as well as a comprehensive physical examination. While this does not guarantee that nothing unexpected will happen to your pet during the procedure, it should protect him from any problems with his kidneys or liver.
Even if the operation goes smoothly, there may be complications during recuperation. Following a general anesthetic, some pets have nausea and vomiting, and because the surgery needs incisions, your bitch may suffer from a bit of pain. If your pet is in discomfort, your veterinarian should provide you with the necessary medications. Don't give your pet human medications because they won't react the same way we would.
Many pet owners see their pet gaining weight after spaying and assume it's just a side effect of the procedure. In reality, after a spay, a pet's Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories they need to carry out their basic processes) drops, and they don't need to eat as much. If a pet's portions aren't decreased, she will put on weight. Unfortunately, many owners are unaware of this, and their pets become overweight or obese. This can lead to many other problems, including joint and muscle strain, diabetes, and an increased risk of some malignancies.
The most significant benefit of both spaying and castration is population control. We will need certified dog breeders to keep a supply of both working dogs and pets. However, if we prevented many unwanted pregnancies, there would be better control and quality of dogs on the planet. Plus, if there were fewer unwanted pregnancies, there would be more demand for rescue dogs and fewer strays on the streets. I always find it strange how people are obsessed about getting puppies and certain breeds when you could go into a rescue center and choose to change a dog's life around totally.
Whether you are neutering your puppy or not is your decision unless local and national laws demand it, but your Vet will be able to help you out with that knowledge. As with many things in life, there are pros and cons to the decision, but I think it should be something you should do in most cases.