A funny picture of a dog with a puzzled look on his face carries the caption: “Why am I getting fixed? Am I broken?” It's just one example of how people are creating unique ways to raise awareness about the importance of having dogs neutered or “fixed.” Ethical, health and behavioral benefits are among the top reasons for neutering dogs, a process that involves having the testicles surgically removed by a veterinarian.
One of the most compelling arguments for neutering is the ethical problem created by our society's large population of abandoned or unwanted dogs. Every year, an estimated 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized at shelters, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Rather than continuing this trend, animal advocates suggest neutering as one way to stop unwanted litters of puppies. In turn, this can help to reduce the number of pets being put down.
A neutered dog has no testes and therefore has zero risk of developing testicular cancer. Having your buddy neutered also can help to prevent prostate problems as he grows older. Male dogs who are not neutered run the risk of developing an enlarged prostate as they age. Difficult urination and infection are two possible problems associated with this condition. Neutering actually causes the prostate gland to become smaller. It does not, however, eliminate the possibility of developing prostate cancer.
Neutered dogs tend to be better behaved than those who are intact. An intact male, for example, will do just about anything to find himself a mate, even if it means bolting the front door or escaping from your fenced-in yard. Neutering also reduces a dog's need to mark his territory, a hobby he might take up inside your home if the urge is strong enough. In addition, it is believed that in some cases, the reduced production of testosterone after neutering can make him less aggressive.
Veterinary bills associated with caring for a litter of puppies typically are more costly than people realize. Having a dog neutered is more economical and eliminates the stress of trying to find loving homes for the puppies. Some veterinary clinics and various animal advocacy groups also offer low-cost programs as an incentive to have pet parents neuter their male dogs. As always, it is best to contact your veterinarian for any questions you have about neutering your four-legged buddy.