Should You Neuter Your Dog?

Should You Neuter Your Dog?
3 January 2024

Should You Neuter Your Dog?

One of the key decisions you need to make when raising a puppy is whether or not you’re going to have them neutered if they’re male or spayed if they’re female. This is a procedure that many dogs go through when they’re old enough that prevents them from being able to reproduce, helping to avoid unwanted puppies. 

It can also curb certain behaviours in dogs that can be problematic for you as an owner, which we’re going to cover below. 

What Happens When a Dog is Neutered?

Neutering (spaying for females and castration for males) is a procedure performed by your vet under general anaesthetic which removes your dog's reproductive organs. In the male dog’s case, this is the removal of the testicles, for females, it’s the removal of the ovaries and womb. 

The procedures are very low-risk for both males and females, but as with all surgeries, there are some complications that may occur. These will be explained thoroughly by your vet when booking the procedure. 

Dogs adopted from a shelter or rescue are always neutered once they’re old enough, so if you’ve chosen to rescue, it’s highly likely your new pet will already have had the procedure. 

Two puppies licking each other's face | Should you spay your dog?

Benefits of Having a Male Dog Neutered

There are a number of reasons why you may be considering having your dog neutered, both for their health and as a means of behavioural control. The key benefits of neutering your dog are: 

  • Prevention of breeding with un-spayed females
  • Prevention of diseases such as testicular cancer and prostate conditions.
  • Lower testosterone levels, which could otherwise encourage your dog to escape or run away to look for a mate.
  • Reducing undesirable behaviours such as humping, scent-marking and aggression. 

While some of these issues can be addressed with other means, such as training, neutering is a popular recommendation from vets to curb them. 

What Age Can a Dog Be Neutered?

Most male dogs can typically be neutered safely between 6-9 months. However, this depends on several factors, including their breed, size, health and weight, all of which will be taken into account by your vet prior to booking the procedure. For larger dogs, it’s often recommended to wait until your dog is 12 months, but this will be up to the discretion of your vet.

How Long Does It Take to Neuter a Dog?

Castrating a dog is a quick procedure which can take between 2 - 20 minutes. However,  your dog will need to be held at the vet for most of the day as they need time for admission, assessing their condition, as well as the surgery and time it will take for them to wake after the general anaesthesia.

Once your pet is awake and their condition has been monitored, your vet will call with an update and give you a time when you can come and collect them. 

Dog Neutering Cost

Neutering costs for dogs vary between vet clinics but typically cost between £110 and £300. This covers the cost of the surgery and general anaesthetic, as well as the post-operative pain relief. 

While this may seem expensive, it costs far more to raise and care for a litter of puppies properly, so neutering is highly recommended for owners who are not planning to breed from their dog. 

If you are struggling financially, some animal charities offer free dog neutering for low-income families with pets that meet their eligibility criteria. 

Recovery Time for Dog Neuter

Your dog should recover from neutering within 5-7 days with the proper post-operative care and plenty of rest. It’s best to try to limit your dog’s activity and exercise during this time so they don’t strain themselves while they heal. During this time, your dog will need to wear a cone so their stitches can heal without them licking or chewing them. 

Remember, every dog is different, so how well they recover after the surgery can vary. Your dog will speak with you after the procedure to explain the best recovery plan for your dog. 

Dog on a lead wearing a veterinary cone

Benefits of Having a Dog Spayed

Having your female dog spayed is a different procedure than a male’s castration,  but many of the benefits are the same, including:   

  • Prevents your dog from getting pregnant or coming into season.
  • Removes the risk of a number of health conditions such as pyometra (uterus infection) and ovarian cancer. 
  • Reduces the chance of other conditions like mammary tumours (breast cancer) and diabetes.

Spaying your dog can also reduce hormone-driven behaviours, such as making them seem calmer and less aggressive. However, it will not address other behavioural issues your dog may have, such as separation anxiety. 

What Age Can a Dog Be Spayed?

As with castration, spaying a female dog is recommended from 6 months old. However, this can vary depending on your dog’s size, weight, breed and health. All of this will be discussed with your vet when booking the neutering appointment. 

How Long Does Spaying Take?

Spaying a dog takes longer than a castration, with the surgery time varying depending on the size of the dog. Typically, spaying can take upwards of an hour, and that does not include the time needed for admission, health checks, surgery and the time needed for them to wake from general anaesthesia. 

Your vet will call you once your pet has woken up and give you an update on their condition. If all goes well, they’ll also give a time for you to come and collect your pet.

Dog Spaying Cost

The average cost to spay a dog is between £130 and £365. This covers the cost of the surgery, general anaesthetic and post-operative painkillers. Depending on your clinic, this price may also cover the initial health checks as well as the post-op checkup. 

As with castrating males, you may be able to get your dog spayed for free from some animal charities if you meet their eligibility criteria. 

Spaying Recovery Time

It typically takes between 10-14 days for a female dog to recover from spaying. During this time, your dog must wear a cone like this IMS™ Euro Inflatable Recovery Collar for Cats and Dogs to prevent them from chewing or licking their stitches. You’ll also need to reduce their activity and encourage them to rest so they can heal without complications. 

Should I Get My Dog Neutered?

There are a number of pros and cons when it comes to neutering your dog, but every case is different. Even if you don’t plan to breed from your dog, neutering still may not be a suitable option. While most vets recommend neutering household pets, it is still an important conversation before you make any decision.

Whether you decide neutering is the right choice for your dog or not, it’s still imperative you maintain your dog’s overall health with regular vet visits and routine healthcare, including flea and worming treatments. Save on the small things by getting your dog’s essential healthcare from Pet Drugs Online. 

Save on Dog Flea Treatments at Pet Drugs Online

This post is an opinion and should only be used as a guide. You should discuss any change to your pet’s care or lifestyle thoroughly with your vet before starting any program or treatment.