According to a recent Behaviours and Attitude survey commissioned by Dogs Trust, two in five adults who have not neutered their dog claim it is because they don’t feel they need to; while a further 21% claim they don’t see the benefit. The charity’s ‘Nicer to Neuter’ campaign wants to highlight the health, financial and behavioural benefits associated with neutering.
In 2018, the charity spoke to hundreds of people about neutering their dog and heard that 42% of dog owners simply could not afford the operation. Although the initial cost may seem burdensome, the potential long-term savings you could make are worth considering. In cases of accidental pregnancies, a litter of puppies, in the first few weeks alone, will all need round-the-clock care as well as microchips, vaccinations, vet checks and worming medication which will work out far more expensive than the cost of neutering. All the costs associated with a dog’s healthcare, including neutering is something that should always be considered before embarking on a life-long journey with a dog.
Neutering may also positively impact the health of a dog. The risk of testicular cancer in male dogs can be completely removed and mammary tumours in females are less likely when neutered. There are many other potentially life-threatening health risks that can occur in unneutered dogs. For example in female dogs, the risk of Pyometra, a bacterial infection of the uterus, is more likely to occur the older your dog gets and can be completely eradicated by neutering, making for a healthier life for your dog.
Sally, a pregnant Collie, was one of the vulnerable mums who Dogs Trust cared for in 2018.
Head of Operations at Dogs Trust, Karla Dunne, explains why Sally is ‘a miracle dog’: “Sally arrived to Dogs Trust grossly underweight, pregnant and staff suspected that she was in labour but was having difficulty delivering her puppies. During her emergency C-section it was discovered that her puppies had all passed away. Our Veterinary team also noticed that her posture didn’t look right and her X-ray showed that she had a broken femur and fractured pelvis. This explained why she could not give birth naturally.
Sally is just one example of the dangers associated with obstructed labour, which is usually more commonly seen in some small breed dogs and breeds with larger heads. This near fatal risk is completely removed by neutering your female dog. What Sally endured could have been easily avoided and we are so grateful that she came to us when she did.”
In 2014, the charity opened their one of a kind ‘Puppy Wing’ in response to the problem with overpopulation of unwanted dogs and puppies in Ireland. There was, and continues to be an overwhelming number of pregnant mums being abandoned and unwanted litters of puppies being born. Last year, Dogs Trust cared for 27 vulnerable pregnant mums and a total of 450 puppies, providing veterinary care, socialisation and most importantly, the loving care and support to get these puppies up on their paws and ultimately into their forever homes.
Campaigns Manager, Sarah Lynch commented: “We believe that prevention is always better than cure! In the most recent Irish Pound statistics, figures showed that 11,559 dogs entered a local authority pound in 2017 which highlights the problem that we still face in Ireland. With shelters and rescue centres all across the country operating at full capacity and thousands of dogs and puppies in need of homes, neutering is a proactive step every responsible dog owner can take to help reduce the growing problem of over population”
Sarah Lynch continued: “Dogs also have an incredible sense of smell and some male dogs will do almost anything if they detect the scent a local female dog in season. This could lead to them becoming lost or injured, causing unnecessary upset to both dog and owner.”
Neutering can have a positive effect on a dog’s behaviour as it involves removing the oestrogen and progesterone hormones from a female and testosterone from a male, which can be beneficial for dogs that show signs of boisterous behaviour. Urine marking and mounting may also be reduced, which can make for a more pleasant experience when bringing your dog out and about.
Neutering might also be helpful in relation to dog training, helping them to be more focused and well behaved, especially when out in public. For this reason neutering is also likely to be beneficial for working dogs, limiting distractibility when set to task.
Dogs Trust always recommends that you discuss any concerns you have about neutering with your veterinary practitioner.
Members of the public can find out more information about our Nicer to Neuter campaign by visiting www.dogstrust.ie/neutering