Does Neutering Your Pet Improve Behavior?

As veterinarians, we often meet clients who have a lot of questions on how to improve their pet’s behavior. For instance, male dog owners often complain about their dogs marking their territory and acting overly aggressive.

Even female dog owners remark on their young female pup suffers from strange changes in behavior, when they are in heat. While certain behavioral issues can be curbed with some effort and extensive training, most behavioral problems, like territory marking is a much more inherent trait in unneutered dogs.

At College Park Pet Wellness Clinic in Indianapolis, our first recommendation for behavior issues is neutering your pets. Neutering is an especially successful way to modify your male pet’s behavior. Beyond helping with behavior modification, neutering is also better for your pet’s health and the pet community on a holistic level.

What is Neutering?

Neutering is the medical term for sterilizing a male animal by removing the testes. This process is also sometimes referred to as an orchectomy or castration. Contrary to popular belief, when male pets are neutered, the penis is not operated on at all, and the outer sac that held the testes remains intact.

Male pets are usually neutered between the ages of two to six months. At the same time, neutering can still be performed on older animals, as long as they are in good health, and recovery is likely.

Oftentimes, clients will avoid neutering their pet out of fear that complications will arise from the surgery. However, neutering is a common treatment, in which complications rarely arise. Neutering procedures are far less invasive that spaying female pets, and therefore have minimal recovery time.

Just because you neuter a male pet, doesn’t mean they are immediately sterile after the surgery. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks for a neutered pet to be considered sterile. So, if you know that your pet will be around fertile females, you should keep them separated to avoid any unwanted pregnancies.

Benefits of Neutering Your Pet

While the primary benefit of neutering your pet is that it helps reduce the amount of homelessness in the pet population, it can also provide a range of behavioral benefits. The most obvious behavioral benefit of both spaying and neutering a pet is that your pet will be far less likely to run away from home and roam for potential mates.

Male pets will even harm themselves in attempts to escape fences and jump over gates to get to a female in heat. The scent of females in heat can travel significant distances, making it hard to suppress a male who smells a female.

Another important behavioral improvement caused by neutering your pet is that it will help suppress effects of testosterone. Unneutered male pets tend to become more dominant, aggressive, and obstinate, due to surges in testosterone.

These pets can be difficult to train, and show dominant traits, like marking their territory, growling, and even biting people, when they feel threatened. In actuality, most dog bites occur with territorial dogs that haven’t been neutered. Spaying and neutering not only helps with these dangerous behavioral difficulties, but they can also help with other frustrations.

Neutering Your Pet Can Keep Your Household Cleaner

Unneutered pets can create quite a mess around your household. Unneutered dogs are known to mark their territory with urine, which can easily become a smelly and frustrating problem. In one study, dogs that were neutered were 90% more likely to decrease their behavior of marking their territory.

Unneutered male cats are also far more likely to mark their territory by spraying urine in the household, which can easily be curbed with castration. Unneutered male pets are also known to create messes with ejaculate around the household, especially when there are nearby dogs in heat. You can help put an end to these behaviors by neutering your pet.

Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

Did you know that spayed and neutered pets are less likely to develop certain health issues and have a longer mortality rate?

Female dogs that are spayed are 50% less likely to develop tumorsin their breast tissue, and male dogs that are neutered are about 60% less likely to develop prostate cancer. Not to mention, “fixing” your dog can add about 1 to 3 years to its life, while “fixing” your cat can add about 3 to 5 years to your cat’s life.

At College Park Pet Wellness Clinic, we’re advocates of spaying and neutering your pets, not only for the benefit of your pet, but also the entire pet population. One unspayed cat along with her offspring can add about 400,000 cats to the population over a 7 year span. This can be detrimental to the ecosystem, and contribute to displaced animals ending up in shelters and needing to be put to sleep, all because there isn’t enough room in shelters.

Want to learn more about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet, or learn more about our spay and neuter services in Indianapolis? Call Pet Wellness Clinic today