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Do Male Dogs Change After Being Neutered?

Many dog owners ask the question, “Do male dogs change after being neutered?” The reality is that neutering does change a male dog, but for the better.

Neutering a male dog (or castration) eliminates your dog’s chance of getting testicular cancer and lowers the risk of prostate disease. Having your dog castrated also lowers the risk of other types of canine cancer as well. Neutered dogs tend to be less aggressive, calmer, and happier dogs.

To learn more about how male dogs change after being neutered, the benefits of castration, and the costs, please keep reading.

If you’re eager to have your puppy spayed or neutered, congratulations! Going through with the procedure is beneficial to your dog in all kinds of ways, including better health and longevity.

How Does Neutering Change a Male Dog?

The most obvious change in your male dog will be in appearance. Castration involves the complete removal of the testes, while under general anesthesia. Neutering is a common surgical procedure and safe for healthy dogs. Otherwise, dog owners don’t typically notice major changes.

Less Aggression

There’s a possibility that a non-neutered male dog would never become aggressive or display aggressive behaviours. The breed of dog could be the determining factor in whether they will show any signs of aggression or not. Having a male dog neutered, however, significantly reduces the risk.

Will My Dog Still Protect Me?

The level of protection you get from a dog is also breed dependent. Guard dogs will still bark and dogs that tend to be protective of their owners will remain that way. However, instead of having a dog distracted by the whims of Mother Nature and on edge, you will have a dog better able to focus on being a healthy part of the family.

 The question to, “Do male dogs change after being neutered?” isn’t easy to answer because there are few physical changes you can actually see, and many you can’t. So, while the procedure will change a male dog for the better, you may not be able to actually measure the difference.

Deciding to neuter a male dog should be based on the medical evidence (ask your veterinarian), the reduction of the pet population being euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters, and the general risks involved for a male dog chasing a female in heat.

What Happens When a Dog is Neutered?

Neutering involves the surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy). The procedure involves general anesthesia, but is considered safe in dogs who are otherwise healthy.

An incision is made just in front of the scrotal sac and both testicles are removed, leaving the sac intact. Vasectomies are not performed since this procedure only sterilizes the dog, but does not stop the production of male hormones. It’s the removal of those male hormones that provide the behavioural and medical benefits.

The best age to neuter your dog, according to some veterinarians, is at eight weeks of age or soon after. In the past, some clinics recommended waiting until the dog was 6 months old. That, however, comes with its own set of risks, including an unwanted litter.

According to the Humane Society, some states euthanize as many as 300,000 homeless animals every year. Some of these are the offspring of unwanted litters. Many are healthy dogs who simply can’t be placed in loving homes. There’s just not enough resources available to manage the overflow.

Up next:

25 Best Dog Neutering After Care Tips

7 Surprising Reasons for Dog Fur Loss

The best time to talk to your veterinarian about spaying or castration is at about 16 weeks of age.

Neutering a male dog can reduce his need to roam
Husky jumping over an outdoor dog park fence

Can You Train an Unneutered Dog?

It could be argued that if a neutered dog has less chance of showing dominant or aggressive behaviour, he’s easier to train. The reality is a little more complicated. Breed plays a huge factor in how easy it is to train a dog. Dogs that are breed to be dominant and stubborn will likely remain that way after being neutered.

Behavioural training has to start early and must be consistent. Experienced dog owners may choose to take on behavioural training themselves where others may decide to go to the pros for help. Yes, you can train an unneutered dog just as easily as a neutered one.

How Much Does it Cost to Neuter a Male Dog?

The price to have a male dog neutered will vary depending on the dog breed, weight, age, and clinic/animal hospital. If your dog has other health problems that could make surgery more risky, the price may go up.

Generally speaking, male castration is less complicated than female sterilization and costs a little less. If you’re concerned about cost, the best practice is to phone around for quotes. Make sure to ask them to include the cost of blood tests, any post surgical medication that might be necessary, cost of supplies used, etc.

The cost to neuter a male dog could be anywhere from $50 from a lost-cost clinic to hundreds of dollars depending on any complications.

I Can’t Afford to Have My Dog Neutered!

If you cannot afford to have your dog neutered, be honest about it with the veterinarian. It’s possible that he/she will work with you to come up with a reasonable solution. Other things you can do to get the lowest price possible include the following:

CareCredit

Many veterinarian clinics accept CareCredit. You need to apply for CareCredit. If you qualify, you get short term financing options of 6, 12, 18, or 24 months with no interest on purchases of $200 or more. The best part is that you can pay the cost to have your dog neutered before the end of the promotional period and not incur any interest charges.

Humane Society

Contact the Humane Society for information on low-cost neutering and spaying of dogs.

Let PetSmart Help!

PetSmart works with the ASPCA to find low-cost spay and neuter clinics across the United States. No matter where you’re from, you can contact PetSmart for more information.

MORE RESOURCES INCLUDING CONTACT NUMBERS ARE AVAILABLE BELOW.

What Age Should I Have My Dog Neutered?

The exact age when they should be neutered is a bit controversial, but some veterinarians recommend that male dogs be neutered after they are fully grown and their bones have fully developed, at about 12 months.

It’s generally recommended that female dogs be spayed before their first “estrus” or heat. That typically occurs at 6 months.

Neutering protects male dogs by stopping them from roaming. When an intact male smells a female dog in heat, he will do anything to get to her. Risks of an unwanted litter, getting lost, becoming aggressive, or being hit by a moving vehicle are especially high during this time.

It can be a complicated subject, so make sure to talk to your trusted veterinarian for the best advice on the best age to neuter your dog.

What Are the Risks of Having my Dog Neutered?

Most veterinarians would say that the benefits of having your dog neutered far outweigh the risks.   Studies show that waiting until your male dog reaches full maturity is best for the dog; however, it puts increased responsibility on the owner.

Any type of surgery poses a risk because of the anesthetic. There is less risk in a young, healthy dog. The older a dog gets, the more of an issue it can become.  Veterinarians usually like to do some pre-surgery blood work just to make sure there are no underlying conditions that could complicate the surgery.

Can I Wait Until I Can Afford To Have my Dog Neutered?

Once you’ve decide on the best age to neuter your dog, it’s time to look at your bank account. Unlike things like tooth extractions which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, neutering is relatively inexpensive.  Expect to pay about $200 unless you have dog insurance.  If you cannot afford it, however, there are ways to get around the cost.

Humane societies and other non-profit organizations help low-income families cover the costs of spaying or neutering.  You can always ask the veterinarian if they offer CareCredit. 

CareCredit is, essentially, a credit card designed to help you when money is tight. They give you six months to pay it off in full before you begin to accrue high interest rates.  Most people love this option because it enables them to make monthly payments they can afford.  Also, most people are able to pay the balance off before the six month period is over.

If you live in Canada:

Contact the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS). This organization represents humane societies across Canada.  

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies provides a list of clinics/shelters across the country that provide assistance in the spaying and neutering of pets.  For a comprehensive report on strays who’ve been sheltered in Canada, you can also read their latest statistics.

Young hound dog with folded ears.

If you live in the United States:

Contact the Humane Society of the United States. This organization works to protect animals nation-wide and operates through donations. They, too, can help you find low-cost clinics to spay or neuter your dog.

If you live in the United Kingdom:

Contact the Humane Society International organization. This non-profit organization will help you find affordable surgery.  Interested in statistics? Check out the website for tons of information.

Your veterinarian is the best source of information and he/she will be able to advise you most appropriately. You obviously care about your dog, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Help the global effort to reduce the overpopulation of pets and make an appointment now to have your dog neutered.

Click here for the scoop on female spaying!

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about neutering your dog!  Why not take a second to share this with friends and family with pets of their own?

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