Neutering a dog is a responsible thing to do; however, people are still squeamish about putting theirs through the procedure. The simple process involves removing the equipment responsible for sperm production and maturation, and for testosterone secretion. Whether you're for or against it, neutering won't make Buster less of a man.
Breeding goes beyond producing puppies; it also keeps a genetic line going, passing traits from one generation to the next. Buster doesn't have to be a perfect specimen, but if he has a congenital condition that will be passed on to his offspring, he should be neutered to prevent medical problems in his pups. If he's neutered, he'll lose his testicles, along with any possibility of getting testicular cancer and other testicular diseases. As well, the chance he'll get a testosterone-induced disease is reduced.
One of the greatest benefits to neutering Buster is you'll see more of him at home. If he's allowed to roam free, at will, an intact dog is likely out looking for love. If a lady dog is in heat nearby, an intact dog will do whatever it takes to get to her, including jumping over or digging under fences. A free-roaming dog is at risk from traffic, other dogs and wildlife, and people. The loss of testosterone also decreases aggression in most male dogs, making them less territorial and possessive of food, bones and people.
Animal advocates make a strong case for neutering by pointing to pet overpopulation. The Humane Society of the United States takes in an estimated 6 million to 8 million homeless animals annually, approximately half of which are euthanized. There aren't enough homes for dogs, and neutering decreases the chance Buster will add to the problem. Unneutered male dogs are able to mate with stray and feral female dogs, fathering litters of more stray and feral dogs. Stray dogs lead tough lives, and they put wildlife and domestic pets at risk from predation and disease.
One of the common excuses against neutering is that it will make Buster fat. Buster may be a bit less active because he's not as inclined to roam, but losing his testicles won't make him fat -- lack of exercise and overeating make him fat. Watching any dog's diet and ensuring he gets plenty of exercise will keep him fit and trim, regardless of whether he's intact or fixed. However, veterinarian Dr. Ronald Hines of 2ndChance.info recommends a considered approach when choosing to neuter your dog. He notes there is some evidence early neutering can negatively impact bone growth and development in dogs as well as the potential for bone cancer. He advocates waiting until a dog is into his second year if he's neutered. Whether you ultimately decide to neuter Buster, make sure he's confined if he's not neutered to ensure his safety and keep him from fathering unwanted puppies.
- ASPCA: Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- The Humane Society of the United States: Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- 2nd Chance Info.org: At What Age Should I Spay Or Neuter My Dog or Cat? What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Neutering My Pet?
- Pet Informed: Veterinary Advice Online: Male Dog Neutering
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images