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Why Testicles Don’t Make Your Dog Macho and Other Facts About Dog Neutering

Realistically, we all can search the internet and find veterinary studies supporting both male dog neutering and leaving them intact. This is why having a dog neutered or not becomes such a fiercely debated topic.

From the point of view of a dog rescuer, the choice of neutering a dog or not is obvious.  Until we no longer require countless rescues and countless volunteer hours to save the hundreds and thousands of unwanted dogs waiting their turn on the euthanasia table, dog neutering is a necessity to reduce pet overpopulation. The only other option is super vigilant, responsible dog ownership which, unfortunately, we can’t always count on.

The bottom line is this: neutering males who are not going to be used for breeding purposes decreases the number of unwanted breedings. Period. There is no debating that statement. So then, how to address the concerns of the population who believe that their neutered male dog will be less, shall we say “manly”?
Having your pet spayed or neutered is a part of responsible pet ownership. – American Veterinary Medical Association
So let’s address some of these concerns on neutering. Just a hint, if you are looking to adopt a new dog – mentioning any of these or anything similar to the adoption coordinator will get you blacklisted as an adopter from the rescue and maybe others as well.

“If I get my dog neutered he won’t be as tough.”

If you consider urine marking, roaming and mounting as “tough, macho” behaviors, perhaps neutering your dog isn’t a good idea for you. Most pet owners, however, would prefer their dogs do not exhibit these unpleasant behaviors.  Studies at UC Davis Veterinary school show that these behaviors are reduced in 75% of neutered male dogs.

Aggression is also shown to be reduced by 33% in non-intact males which may raise the concern that the dog will then be less able to protect the family.  Perhaps he will be less likely to attack a thief, but that also means he is less likely to attack a neighbor or friend’s child or cause physical damage to another animal any of which could result in a lawsuit, hefty fines, or medical care to the injured party.

“I wouldn’t do that to myself, why would I do that to him?”

Not being a male, I don’t even know how to address this other than most of the “intact” human males in their late 30’s and 40’s that I know have had a vasectomy to prevent human offspring. Perhaps checking with your vet for a similar procedure for your canine friend might be an option if you think he really needs his testicles to live a long, happy life with you.

“He’s such an awesome dog. I may want to breed him someday.”

My dog is awesome too, so is my brother’s dog, and my best friend’s dog – that doesn’t mean that they should all be bred producing on average six puppies per litter that will either end up in a local shelter as discards or take a home away from a dog in a shelter. Fact: hundreds of thousands of dogs are being killed yearly in shelters. You don’t need to add to such a prolific problem because you think your dog is “special”. It’s not.

“If I get my dog neutered, he may turn gay.”

This is just silly. Most vets will tell you some dogs may have more interest in procreating than others, but you will be hard pressed to find a vet that says neutering your male dog will turn him gay. If a male dog is humping another male dog that also does not mean he’s gay. If you are so concerned about your dog’s sexuality, take him to a dog behaviorist. They are still going to tell you he’s not gay.

Neutering a male dog does not reduce his energy level or ability to work. Please consider the dog overpopulation problem and not your dog’s virility when choosing whether or not to have your male dogs neutered. Keeping an intact male away from a female in heat requires severe vigilance on your part.

If you choose not to take the word of a journalist on this subject verbatim, I respect that, but please have a conversation with your veterinarian prior to making a final decision.  Be responsible, spay and neuter your pets.

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