In a previous article we talked about the benefits of sterilising a female dog at six months of age, but does the same recommendation apply to males? Should you be rushing off to the vet and whipping those testicles off ASAP? (Feeling nauseous?) The answer to this question is certainly not cut-and-dried (no pun intended).
It's generally been accepted that sterilisation is a highly effective way of controlling the amount of strays and unwanted animals in the environment. In the USA, between 4 and 6 million strays are euthanized in shelters per year, whereas this figure in the 1980's was closer to 17 million! This dramatic reduction has been attributed to active animal sterilisation campaigns. So, if you happen to get a dog from a shelter, it's most likely that they will insist on castration as part of an understandable and valid "for the good of the population" approach to this subject.
However, if you speak to pedigree dog breeders and people that work regularly with their dogs, you will possibly come across a different view to castrating male dogs. There are certainly health benefits to both choices, and nothing stands out obviously enough to sway the debate in one direction or the other. The choice should be made by you in conjunction with your vet based on a number of the following contributing factors:
So, what's the answer to the question of castration? Is it clear? Obviously there are a few things to consider and you'll need more veterinary advice and even a bit more reading. This said, in the end, we recommend you go with the behavioural gains of castration, both because the medical issues are relatively minor and the lifestyle benefits for you and your dog can be significantly positive.
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