Neutering your dog is a very highly accepted part of the modern dogs life.
Whilst this is true? There’s also a lot of questions a new pet parent will have about it – which is entirely understandable.
Neutering technically refers to the process of preventing either a male or female from breeding — however – typically it is used to refer to this process for males. As a consequence in this piece I’ll be treating it as though this is focused on the male. If you do want info for your female? Head over to the Ultimate Spay FAQ over here which should answer your question
For the sticklers: Yes, I know, I know, you’re not happy, but I try and make my info digestible and apply for the average dog parent. If that’s how we generally refer to it, then we’re here by popular demand.
This piece is aimed at answering your burning questions about spaying and neutering, because I know for a fact that it’s one of the most difficult things to know about, because you barely get time to your vet, but your dog is your baby boy, and you just don’t want to get this wrong – which is entirely understandable.
So where do you turn for the answers you need? Dr Facebob? Pawp? The latter is a great choice, but Dr Facebob? Nah… not so much.
I wanted to give you a resource which I’m committed to keeping up to date. Neutering info is something that’s quite important to you guys, so I definitely try and keep on top of it, and I’ll keep this updated with latest research.
Similarly to the spay FAQ – This post is broken down into Fundamentals, When… , The Surgery and The Financials.
It’s also good to note, that some of these questions overlap and duplicate, but I will try and answer all questions fully.
This article is aimed at my audience of responsible puppy parents. I aim to help create informed puppy parents who are confident, capable and knowledgeable in order to make the very best decisions for their dogs. This is all part of becoming a phenomenal guardian for their dog, and their dogs best advocate.
I support a learning process. That’s my ethos with everything, to make you the very best puppy parent you can be, with this blog and with tools like my puppy development emails, Pupdates.
This is not for you if:
❌ You will read without consideration
❌ You are militant about your stance on spaying and neutering (be it positive or negative)
❌ You are not intending on being your dogs best advocate.
1 – What Does It Mean To Neuter You Dog?
This is the label given to the process by which your dog is rendered surgically (most often, anyway) unable to breed. This particular technique is most often the removal of the testes – referred to as an Orchiectomy. It’s good to note that the typical neuter does NOT remove the sac – the scrotum will remain – but will hang empty for a while. This does shrink back though, just takes a little time.
This process means that your dog is no longer able to reproduce, though a cautionary phase of 4 weeks is advisable.
2 – Why Should You Neuter Your Dog?
This is a great question. Neutering comes with a number of benefits, such as
🐾 Prevents testicular cancer
🐾 Prevents some prostate problems
🐾 Decreases roaming
🐾 Prevents unwanted breedings
The last point there is the main reason that people neuter their dogs.
3 – What Are The Pros & Con’s Of Neutering
The pros are
🐾 Prevents testicular cancer
🐾 Prevents some prostate problems
🐾 Decreases roaming
🐾 Prevents unwanted breedings
But, the problem is that the Cons are relatively hard to distinguish, because whilst we know certain things about what happens when we do, the research for when we don’t is not that significant. That said, in the Spay & Neuter Info Center has a break down of some popular breeds and what is recommended for them based on statistical analysis.
4 – Is Neutering Good For Your Dog?
Good is an interesting term, for their health? Obviously any attempt at surgery will come with those associated risks, but it is considered that Neutering your boy:
🐾 Prevents testicular cancer
🐾 Prevents some prostate problems
🐾 Decreases roaming
🐾 Prevents unwanted breedings
These are either good for your dog, or good for you. However, the risk for testicular cancer is quite low, and comparitively, depending when you neuter, you can potentially increase your pup’s risk to hip & elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament issues, as well as various cancers.
If you want a little more info about this, head over to the Spay & Neuter Info Center.
5 – Do Neutered Dogs Live Longer Than Unneutered Dogs?
This is a fantastic question. And it’s something we should definitely consider because we want our dogs to live their best lives for as long as possible.
A 2019 study into the Risk Factors Associated with Lifespan in Pet Dogs found the following – which is pretty interesting… 2.37 million dogs were studied for this outcome, and you can see on the graph below that the median (normal, non-science-y people call this an average) lifespan of neutered dogs and spayed females is higher. The difference between males is not terribly significant, whilst with females it’s as high as about 6 or 7 months.
So, in short? Yes, but current evidence suggests it’s not that significant. Breed size, genetics and lifestyle play a much bigger part of this picture than when or if your dog is neutered.
6 – Is It Cruel To Neuter A Male Dog?
The procedure is pretty short, simple, and whilst they’re under it’s entirely pain free – the recovery is a little sore, but it’s a few days of pain for a lifetime of extended freedom and extra fun that this can yield? It’s definitely not cruel and in a lot of scenarios, it’s much more kind.
There’s the argument that it may stop him experiencing sex – which is in itself redundant because he can still have sex, it’s just not going to produce offspring – and dogs don’t find the same sense of pleasure about sex as we humans do.
7 – Will Neutering My Dog Change His Personality?
No, there is no evidence currently that neutering a dog affects their personality, though I have heard it claimed from dog parents here and there.
This concern (to me) is valid, but I would be less worried about the procedure affecting your dogs personality, and more about what he will experience straight after surgery when being reintroduced to the world after a week or two in recovery.
I would suggest being cautious in these instances and opting to start socialising gently again at first, because they’re probably still feeling a little tender and things may hurt and that projection of pain my well go onto a former friend, or a stranger. And when your dog learns to feel vulnerable or attacked in certain scenarios? We can very quickly see reactivity begin to develop.
This and the fact that a ‘traditional’ time for neutering is 6-9 months – which falls smack into a fear phase, doh!
If you are concerned about the effects of neutering your dog on his personality, boys are lucky enough to have a chemical option that can be implanted at regular intervals that can be a kind of “Try before you buy” solution.
8 – Can Neutering Your Dog Stop Aggressive Behaviour?
One of the single biggest myths out there, especially when it comes to a large breed who is often labelled aggressive or has the potential to be (so parents of Cane Corsos, Rottweilers, German Shepherds etc – you guys know what I mean) get encouraged to do it early, either by friends, family, society, or occasionally by their vet.
This process does not create nor stop aggressive behaviour, and I would sincerely advise that if you are experiencing aggressive behaviour with your dog, that you seek help from me, or another positive reinforcement based trainer before you tell your vet to go ahead and get out their scissors, thread and scalpel.
Neutering will not “fix” this, in most instances, training will. It may seem like a low cost solution? But it’s not a solution, please don’t think it is.
9 – Is It Normal For A Dog To Be Aggressive After Being Neutered?
This one very much comes down to the definition of ‘after’ if you mean immediately after the surgery, then yes, this absolutely can be the case, because your dog is feeling vulnerable, probably discombobulated and then there is pain starting to ebb through. Pain response in dogs is something you won’t know until you see it. And one of the ways dogs protect themselves? Is with their mouth.
If this is ‘after’ as in generally after a month or so? Again there is a chance that yes, it did, but not directly. The pain of the procedure, a reintegration to society that may not have gone so well, or a fear phase developing when pup‘s just going back into the world? Make this a pretty tumultuous time.
10 – Is It A Good Idea To Neuter A Dog To Stop Them Peeing In The House?
This again, depends (sorry!!). If they are marking then yes, so long as you get rid of the scent on the marked items, it should help. If it’s urinating because they need to pee? Then no. That’s a go back to basics with potty training and get it right!
11 – Will Neutering My Dog Calm Him Down?
Okay, so this one I love. Because … you’ll get told it will by Jo Bloggs, and by your vet or by a trainer, you’ll get told it wont – because scientifically speaking – the surgery of removing your boys dangly bits will not change his behaviour.
But my answer differs.
This comes down to the recuperation period.
Often before a puppy goes to get this surgery done, they are not taught how to relax or self soothe. So, the recuperative period after the surgery forces you as an owner to teach this. Which means your dog can apply it later.
So, whilst it is absolutely not a behavioural change from the surgery it is often a side effect if that makes sense!
12 – Should I Neuter My Dog Or Not?
Such a broad question!! This one is truly down to you.
I’m going to do that thing where I answer a question with questions of my own.
🐾 Is He Predisposed To Cancer Or Joint Issues?
This sounds a little intense? But it’s really, very true. I always encourage people to talk to their breeder about cancer in the breeding line and see if this is a particular risk when it comes to their puppy. Afterall, each woof is an individual!
🐾 Is He Well Bred?
Some breeds have a higher propensity towards cancer, others towards hip or elbow dysplasia, or cruciate ligament issues. If you don’t know your dogs lineage, then knowing what sort of stock they come from is a great idea. For example? A golden retriever is quite prone to cancer, so, it would often be my advise that spaying a golden retriever is in yours and her best interest – but of course – breeder information comes above all of this.
🐾 Will You Be Responsible?
I mean, generally speaking, if you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly a very responsible puppy parent, however, if you do not think you are capable of keeping your boy safe, secure, and out of reach of females in heat… (whether in your yard, land, or at the park) then I would sincerely advise you get him neutered.
If you know where you sit on these? For example he’s not predisposed to cancer, he is well bred, and you will be responsible, then it’s genuinely up to you. Take all your facts, form your picture and find a decision with which you’re happy to lives together.
13 – How Can I Get My Dog Neutered?
This one is easy! Make an appointment with your vet! Easy. Only a certified veterinary surgeon can carry out this kind of operation, and they should be the only ones you trust to do the deed.
14 – What Should I Expect When Our Boy Gets Neutered?
Naturally, each dog’s experience varies, as do a lot of vets. But, normally, you’ll book your appointment. You’ll withhold food for 12 to 24hrs before you go to the vets. You’ll head to the vets. They take her weight, and other important info, you’ll see a vet and he or she will double check all is well for them to proceed.
Your girl will then go through to a new area, usually, kennels, where she’ll wait (this is potentially a stressor for some dogs, and if you see this being a problem, you can request that they’re the first one in the proverbial ‘queue’ for the procedure to stop them panicking). They’ll anaesthetise your dog (this is usually done initially with an injection) then your dog will go under, be given anaesthesia via a mask or tube and the surgery will begin.
Your dog will be closed up, and be allowed to slowly wake up from the anaesthetic. Your vet will check that they’re all okay, and you will be called to come and pick up your dog.
Outside of this? You can expect them to be very groggy when they come home. You may have to excuse toileting accidents too.
It is best to give them space and a comfortable bed. They may be extra whiney or clingy too.
Try to be extra patient with them, because it is going to be a bit of a rough couple of days.
And remember the recovery process can take 7-14 days, and your boy can still be fertile for a while after the surgery.
15 – Where Can I Get My Dog Neutered?
Some local rescues may have clinics, but generally, this is performed in your vets’ surgery. Book an appointment with your trusted veterinarian.
16 – Can I Show My Dog If He Is Neutered?
You can show them in the mixed breed categories, but for a formal show, a neutered male will now be allowed to show. The premise behind showing is that you’re creating breeding stock that is of the finest quality – if they are no entire, whole or intact (however you wish to phrase it) they cannot compete – male or female.
17 – Does Neutering A Dog Remove The Testicles
Yes! This process is the process of removing the testicles.
18 – Can I Neuter My Dog Without Surgery?
There is a non-surgical alternative to neutering (though the standard ‘neuter’ does always involve a surgery if we want to get nit-picky) – this instead would be called a chemical castration.
19 – Why Are Dogs Neutered Instead Of Getting A Vasectomy?
It’s a bloody good question! It’s something I’ve yet to get to the bottom of, but I’ll let you know when I do!
My instinct says its either so there’s no take-back-sies? Or, because it’s a much easier surgery to remove – or a combo of both. But … I’m not entirely sure. I’ll keep digging, stay tuned!
20 – What Is The Best Age To Neuter My Dog?
It’s hard to say without knowing your exact situation.
Often, people do it from 6-9 months if tradition is followed, but the age is tending to increase at the moment and more people are slowly moving to not neutering their dogs. So, assess the situation, do invest time in making this decision and find out as much info about his family as you can.
That said, with no information, I’d leave it as long as possible. 12-18 months would be best. But you do have to be responsible for a teenage boy dog for that length of time. I’d always wait. And would definitely wait if I had my time again.
21 – Can You Neuter Dog At Any Age?
Yes, but the question then becomes should you neuter them. For example in young puppies can be really detrimental, or older males, is there now any point? You’ll need to strike a balance between useful and pointless.
22 – What Is The Latest You Can Neuter A Dog?
Ehhh… this is a funny question.
It’s more about whether there’s any point in neutering a dog after the age of three. After the age of three you’ve already dealt with this intact male for three years, is there any need to neuter? Possibly… possibly not. If he’s fine, healthy, fit, and well taught? No need to.
But, if you’ve say, just acquired an intact male, then maybe neutering is the best option for you. Neutering an adult dog can be done at any stage, but neutering a senior dog? Then I really wouldn’t bother.
23 – What Is The Earliest You Can Neuter A Dog?
Well! Some doges get neutered particularly early, but without these medical complications? I wouldn’t advise any younger than 6 months.
24 – Why Would You Neuter A Dog At 6 Months Old?
The theory here is that you get in early, before the ‘teenage’ behaviour starts and mating behaviours potentially become an issue, like marking, humping etc.
However, these have almost equal chances (from my experience) of happening in a neutered male. Some are just more inclined than others!
25 – Can I Neuter My Dog At 1 Year Old?
You can but if you could? I would try and wait until at least 18 months, or consider his breed statistics and family genetics.
26 – Can I Neuter My Dog At 2 Years Old?
Yes! This would be a wonderful time to do it.
27 – Can I Neuter My Dog At 3 Years Old?
Yep! This would be a good time.
28 – How To Neuter A Dog At Home
Do NOT do this! This is inhumane and should not be performed by anyone other than a qualified veterinary surgeon.
29 – Where Does The Incision Go For A Neutered Dog?
Right infront of the scrotum, typically. The incision doesn’t need to be large and doesn’t leave a scar.
Though dogs with an undescended testical will likely get opened up a little more above this in order to get to the undescended testicle. This condition is called cryptorchidism if you’re interested!
30 – Where Should I Go To Get My Dog Neutered?
There are sometimes Spay and Neuter clinics that open at rescue centres, but most often a veterinary surgery will perform this operation.
31 – Who Can Neuter My Dog?
Only a qualified veterinary surgeon can do this. Whilst the procedure is simple, no one other than a veterinary surgeon should be performing surgery on an animal.
32 – Do They Put Dogs Under For Neutering?
If you’ve elected for the surgical procedure then yes, this is the only humane way to perform surgery on a dog.
Though, if anaestheia is a problem for your dog, then there is a chemical castration option!
33 – How Do You Neuter A Dog With One Testicle?
The same way as any other dog, luckily! It’s a simple surgery with half of the extractions – or if the testicle is undescended then the scar will move more towards the abdomen and the incision will be bigger, but generally, it’s a very standard procedure.
34 – Can You Neuter A Dog With A Rubber Band Kit, Like Sheep?
For context: Livestock have an option where a rubber band can be applied at the base of the scrotum and it will cut blood flow to the scrotum, which will eventually shrivel and fall off. This process cannot be used on dogs because of the fact that they will lick and clean themselves here, which will result in infection. This method is not suited for dogs.
35 – Can You Neuter A Dog With A Heart Murmur?
It’s not advised that dogs with a heart murmur go under anaesthetic, as their risks are much higher.
However, if your dog is being put under for another, less elective reason, then it could be a good opportunity to do this too with minimal added risk – if of course that is your choice.
If you do not want to take the surgical risk, do consider chemical castration.
36 – How Can I Neuter My Dog Without Removing The Testicles?
There are a few options here, depending on what result you want from this.
First is to consider a vasectomy. This ‘ties the tubes’ of your dog, making them unable to breed, but leaves the testicles in place and functioning as normal except for their ability to mate successfully.
Then, there is a chemical castration to consider where an implant is popped in your dog that dramatically lowers the level of testosterone – which makes them less likely to have the desire to breed, let alone for this to happen successfully
If, however, you just want your dog to remain looking like an un-altered dog, then you can consider asking your vet to implant Neuticles… Yep! The company that manufacturers claim these medical grade implates allow “their beloved pet to retain its natural look and self esteem”.
So it truly depends on your goal!
37 – Do I Neuter My Dog Or Get Him A Vasectomy?
To be honest? I would err on the side of a vasectomy with hindsight. Whilst this is a very non-technical reason, mainly because I don’t have the data to form a proper one for you.
38 – How Long Does It Take A Dog To Recover From Being Neutered
Your vet will guide you, but typically 7 to 14 days.
And if you need help keeping your woof busy in this time? Here’s Post-Surgery Recovery: 12 Ideas For Keeping Your Dog Happy And Entertained.
39 – What Are The Differences In A Neutered Dog Vs Unneutered?
Neutered males can get what I fondly call ‘ball envy’ – it’s essentially that an intact male can be quite intimidating to a neutered male because of all the hormones surging around their body that the neutered male no longer has. This can cause fights between them.
Unneutered males can be a little more bullish when playing, sometimes it’s as though they don’t know their own strength.
A neutered male (depending on the age of neuter) can also appear physically different – beyond the shrunken scrotum – such that they will likely not have as thick fur, be as large, or have as broad a head (depending on breed)
An entire male will also be more inclined to roam off to find a female with whom to breed, and will be more inclined to mark, and hump. He may also continue a higher level of smegma production.
40 – Are There Alternatives to the Cone Of Shame
Personally? I strongly recommend a Suitical! They’re a truly wonderful invention that’s essentially a baby-gro for your dog (which I think is genius). This means that they keep their wound safe, aren’t able to lick the sutres and can heal in relative comfort.
Alternatively, you can go for an inflatable (these can pop), or foam ‘doughnut’ that you can attach to their collar which limits their ability to turn their head and lick at the sore spot where the incision was made.
41 – How Long Does It Take For A Neutered Male To Heal?
Vets will recommend rest for 7-14 days depending on how the procedure went, or on other factors. That doesn’t mean they’re fully healed, so please do still take it easy on them.
42 – How Can I Tell If My Neutered Dog Has An Infection?
Usually the incision site will be red, puffy and sore looking. Normally the swelling goes down in a couple of days, but if your boys does not? It may be worth asking your vet. Other signs would include puss or oozing, and an elevated temperature to the touch (please be gentle!)
43 – Can My Neutered Dog Jump On The Couch?
Hmm! This depends on the size of your dog and your couch. I would leave a soft, light blanket on the couch (just in case of material snagging on stitches, or of any grossness from the incision site…) but if they can get up there with minimal effort? Sure. If it’s a leap? I’d avoid… Better safe than sorry, right?
44 – My Dog Has Just Been Neutered And Is Not Peeing…
Okay, so if it’s just happened? Pup may be sore and resisting the urge to go, however if it’s been an abnormally long time, please call your vet.
45 – How Much Does It Cost To Neuter A Dog?
This (again) depends.
Larger dogs will cost more than smaller dogs, as the anaesthetic is calculated by your dog’s weight (if your dog is overweight, it’s a great idea to get a few pounds off of them before you go through with this any way). However it can vary from as little as $40 up to $600 in the US.
46 – Where Can I Go To Get My Dog Neutered For Free?
Some clinics will offer low cost or free options, but often there are requirements that need to be met, low income households may qualify for free, or low cost options, but the spots are often quite limited.
47 – Where Is The Cheapest Place To Get My Dog Neutered?
Typically at a rescue or charity based organisation, such as the ASPCA or RSPCA (uk), PDSA (UK) or charitable locations within your area may be places to consider – often times they will charge a low rate that is more of a ‘donation’ than an actual cost.
However, with these types of clinics, you do get very limited options and they may only offer a standard neuter – no fancy stuff.
Ta-dah! And Thats The Ultimate FAQ About Neutering Your Dog!
Phew, this one took me a while to compile, but I hope you find it helpful. I’ve endeavoured to make this as easy for you as possible, I realise, sometimes, more information actually makes things more complicated, but the goal is to bring you and your puppy out of this with the very best result, and I know that’s something you can achieve.
I didn’t. I know I followed veterinary advice and studies recently (and some available then) would have suggested that I was wrong.
Don’t make my mistake.
Read as much as you can, make an informed decision.
If you want to chat about it? I can help.
I try to help with everything I do, and if you like my approach on this? You’ll love my weekly puppy update emails. We cover development, behaviour, training, grooming medical issues like this too, where I’ll give you all the facts you need to make the best, most informed decision for you and your pup.
Let me help guide you through the first year of puppyhood, with Pupdates!
Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as the worlds best pet blog!