Do Non-Neutered Dogs Live Longer Than Neutered Dogs?

by Jen Gehring
    Healthy puppies can be neutered as young as 8 weeks old.

    Healthy puppies can be neutered as young as 8 weeks old.

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    Neutering, also referred to as “altering” or “fixing,” is a common surgery pet owners often choose for their dogs to help control the pet population. Some pet owners may be surprised to learn this procedure may add years to your dog's life. In addition to preventing diseases and behavioral problems, some studies show that neutered dogs live, on average, almost two years longer than their counterparts.

    Testicular Cancer

    Commonly found in unaltered, older male dogs, testicular cancer can be life-threatening, particularly if the cancer metastases to other parts of the body. Fortunately for dog owners, this cancer is 100 percent preventable, as it cannot develop on neutered dogs. Veterinarians often treat canine testicular cancer by neutering the dog and removing both the tumors and the testes. Even if the cancer has advanced beyond the sex organs, chemotherapy and radiation treatment options also exist.

    Prostate Issues

    By choosing to neuter your dog, you lessen the likelihood he will suffer from painful prostate problems. As an unaltered dog ages, his prostate enlarges, which can lead to difficulty urinating as well as discomfort. An enlarged prostate on a non-neutered dog is more prone to infection, which is a leading cause of death among dogs. Although dangerous, infections are easily treated, so if your dog shows signs of an infection, seek veterinary help immediately.

    Roaming Risk

    Neutering your dog may help keep him safe at home. Unaltered dogs often attempt to leave home in an effort to find a female dog in heat. Roaming the streets unsupervised increases the chance a dog could be hit by a car, attacked by another animal or eventually succumb to the elements. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, neutered dogs may live longer than non-neutered dogs because they are less likely to engage in dangerous behavior, such as roaming, in an attempt to mate.

    Aggressive Behavior

    When dogs fight, the possibility exists that a dog will suffer injuries or develop an infection from a wound, both of which can contribute to a dog’s overall health and life expectancy. Due to the drop in testosterone, neutered dogs are less likely to attack male dogs out of competition for a female mate. While neutering your dog may not fix all his fighting tendencies, neutered dogs are generally less aggressive than non-neutered dogs.

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    About the Author

    Jen Gehring is a political consultant and professional writer. She holds a J.D. from American University and a B.A. in history.

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