Do Dogs Still Get Sexual Urges Even if They Have Been Spayed or Neutered?

by Naomi Millburn
    Fixing dogs often makes them more relaxed and attentive in behavior.

    Fixing dogs often makes them more relaxed and attentive in behavior.

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    Don't assume that neutering or spaying your dog will put an end to all sexual urges. While the surgeries indeed reduce a lot of frustrating hormonal behavioral patterns, they don't actually get rid of all hormones. If you catch your fixed pooch in the act of mounting a stuffed animal, for example, he's not an oddity.

    If you get your pet fixed, it will eliminate a significant amount of his hormones. However, some of them will stay, according to canine expert Liz Palika and veterinarian Debra Eldredge, authors of "Your Yorkshire Terrier Puppy." This applies to neutering and spaying surgeries alike. Because of this, some dogs might display post-surgery sexual urges. The urges, however, will be less intense and common than those of intact dogs. Importantly, these dogs are still unable to breed.

    Although it isn't uncommon for fixed canines to retain some attraction to members of the opposite sex, early spaying and neutering surgeries can often help with that. If you own a puppy, you might want to neuter him prior to his "adolescent" stage of reproductive maturity. Male dogs generally are able to mate and breed once they're somewhere between 6 and 9 months old. Female dogs are generally able to mate and breed once they're between 6 months and 1 year old. Early surgeries can stop youthful puppies from ever developing sexual desires, which, therefore, can often stop them from picking up hormonal behavioral patterns.

    While some owners fix their dogs when they're young pups -- occasionally at 8 weeks in age, says the ASPCA, others wait until their dogs are mature adults. While fixing healthy adult dogs is still beneficial for preventing reproduction, it sometimes results in lasting sexual behaviors. If a dog spent a big chunk of his life wandering around his neighborhood looking for female partners, fiercely battling other males over mates and spraying his home with urine in an effort to convey his mating availability, neutering might not necessarily extinguish all of those ingrained behaviors. The surgery will, however, keep them under control by decreasing them. Female dogs spayed after reproductive maturity frequently retain some estrus behaviors, too.

    Don't panic if your pet's hormones still seem as strong as ever immediately after surgery, either. Hormones don't depart from dogs' bodies instantly after surgery. If you just got your pet neutered, for example, his hormones might not bow out until weeks afterward. Note too that some male dogs can still even impregnate females for anywhere between four and six weeks after being neutered, according to the People for Animals Spay and Neuter Clinic. Because of that, it's vital to separate just-spayed male dogs from intact female dogs for that time frame.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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