By Dr. Dan Meakin
Q: My neighbor told me that I should have our male dog neutered (castrated) but couldn’t really tell me why. Won’t that just make him fat and lazy?
A: No, it won’t. Intact male dogs will, if allowed, spend a great deal of time and energy roaming in search of females in heat. If confined (to a yard) he may be restless and overactive because he cannot roam around. He may also engage in sexual behavior ranging from excessive urine marking (sometimes in the house) to mounting objects such as people’s legs. Driven by normal sexual urges, he might dig out of the yard or climb or jump the fence to get out. Once Don Juan is neutered it will eliminate these problems.
Remember, though, that a great deal of energy is used up in this restless behavior. If you continue to feed your dog the same amount of food after he is neutered, the additional calories he no longer needs will be stored as fat. And a fat dog will be far less active, leading to less need for calories, etc. So most neutered dogs will simply require a little less feeding than before.
Neutering or castration of a male dog involves an operation in which both testicles are removed through a small incision by the scrotal sac. Although it is a major operation that involves general anesthesia, millions of dogs are safely neutered each year with very few complications. The operation will not deprive your pet of sexual fulfillment-he will be unaware that he is missing anything. In contrast, it will eliminate the frustration he formerly experienced.
In addition, there are three major health hazards of older male dogs that are hormone related and can be prevented by neutering. These are (1.) disease of the prostrate gland, (2.) tumors of the glands surrounding the anus, and (3.) hernia of the abdominal contents into the area surrounding the rectum. These conditions are often treated surgically, including neutering to help prevent their recurrence.
Caring owners should consider the importance of reducing the unwanted dog population and do their part by neutering their pets. Call your veterinarian for an appointment. This month All Creatures Animal Hospital is offering 10 percent off all our spay and neuter packages any of your pets!
Dr. Dan Meakin is the owner of All Creatures Animal Hospital, 1894 Ohio Pike in Amelia. Call (513) 797-PETS.