So you’ve just got your new puppy, and you are now wondering whether or not to neuter him.

The decision to neuter one’s pet is a heavy one, as the procedure is essentially irreversible and results in a loss of the pet’s ability to ever reproduce. However, neutering offers many benefits that make it an attractive choice to pet owners. Here are some pointers to note when neutering your male puppy.

Benefits of neutering

First and foremost, the socially responsible decision of neutering means that your dog will not contribute to the stray dog overpopulation. Neutering also helps to reduce the incidence of pesky problems such as marking and territorialism, especially in alpha males. Your puppy will also act more calmly around female dogs, and if humping is a problem, it will be greatly rectified after neutering. Neutering your pet before six months of age has also been shown to be effective in preventing testicular cancer. The fact that many countries waive or reduce the licensing fee for neutered and spayed dogs show that neutering is encouraged for pet owners. In the US, Spay Day USA has been well received and has now transformed into World Spay Day that is held on the last Tuesday every February.

How to neuter

Most veterinarians can perform the procedure at a reasonable price. Consult your vet to ensure that your puppy is the right age for neutering and that it is safe for him to undergo general anesthesia. Care must be taken to ensure that if your dog is of a particularly small breed such as a Chihuahua, the correct amount of anesthesia is administered. The process of neutering male dogs involves making a small incision in the abdomen and removing the testicles. The scrotum is left untouched. The surgery itself is a routine procedure, and your dog should be able to be discharged on the same day if there are no complications.

Post-surgery care

Your pet will have undergone general anesthesia, so be prepared for it to be somewhat groggy and disorientated for a day or so following surgery. Take care to make sure your dog does not bite or scratch the incision and check for redness or swelling, which may be a sign of inflammation. Do not bathe or groom your dog following the surgery, until he has fully recovered. Keep him indoors for a few days at least, and if you have other animals in the house, it may be wise to keep them separated for the time being.

Preconceptions about neutering

Many owners choose not to neuter their dogs in the belief that neutering causes obesity, or changes the dog’s personality. While a poor diet and lack of exercise is actually the main cause of obesity in dogs, the drop in male hormones following neutering can play a minor role in aggravating obesity. If you are strict with your dog’s diet and ensure that he gets sufficient exercise, obesity should not be a problem even in neutered dogs. Most dogs remain the same after being neutered. In some cases, owners with truly aggressive dogs actually report positive changes in their pets following sterilization.

If you need further advice on neutering your dog, it is best to talk to our doctors at Hudson Veterinary Hospital about it.