In detail

Early castration in dogs: benefits and risks


Early castration in dogs is a controversial issue, and dog castration is generally controversial. Critics fear that dogs who are unable to go through puberty will suffer psychologically. On the other hand, especially in bitches, castration before the first heat has considerable medical advantages. It is best to discuss with your veterinarian whether and when early castration is possible for your dog - Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia

Castration is common in cats in order to avoid unwanted offspring among free-range animals and stray animals. In dogs, however, castration is anything but a matter of course. Opponents are afraid that early castration, in particular, will prevent the dog from developing a healthy gender identity, which could lead to social difficulties with other dogs and behavioral problems. Proponents argue, among other things, with a lower risk of tumors.

Early castration of the bitch can reduce the risk of cancer

If your dog is not to have puppies, neutering is the safest way to make her sterile. In this case, you should discuss early castration with your veterinarian - this is what castration is called before sexual maturity, i.e. in bitches before the first heat. Your dog's early castration not only prevents unwanted offspring, but also reduces the risk of breast cancer. Uncastrated dog ladies or those who are neutered only after the second heat have a significantly higher risk of breast cancer. In addition, castration can prevent uterine dilation and other diseases of the uterus and ovaries.

Psychological effects of early castration in bitches

For some bitches, the time of heat is very stressful if they are not allowed to live out their sex drive. Some develop a so-called hypocrisy after a heat phase, which is a mental burden for the animals and can be difficult for the dog owner. The early castration does not allow the sexual drive to arise, so that the bitch's heat and illusiveness are spared. In addition, neutered dog ladies are usually more playful and peaceful when dealing with their peers than uncastrated bitches.

Only if you want to train your dog of any gender to be a protective dog, therapy dog, guide dog or rescue dog, is it not advisable to castrate the dog after the first heat, or only afterwards, in order not to completely prevent the sexual maturation process.

Risks of early castration in bitches

Sterilized bitches run the risk of later suffering from urinary incontinence. The risk of this is higher for larger dog breeds with a body weight of 20 kg or more than for smaller dogs. Urinary incontinence can be treated with medication, but affected dogs must take it for life. Irish red setters, spaniels and long-haired dachshunds get a "baby fur" after neutering because the growth of woolen hair is stimulated. However, this risk is lower in early castration than in later surgery.

In addition, with a castrated dog - whether male or female - you must adhere to a strict feeding schedule. The animals become calmer and at the same time they have an increased appetite. If they eat as much as they want, they become overweight. However, if they get portions that are appropriate to their needs, they remain slim. It is best to discuss your neutered dog's changed feed needs with your veterinarian.

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What are the benefits of early castration in males?

Males do not develop sexual aggression due to early castration, so they are less likely to argue with other species. They are more playful and don't get into dog fights that often; at least if the reason for the dispute is a bitch in heat or otherwise sexually motivated. With a later castration, this advantage is less important because your dog has already experienced and learned sexual behavior. In general, castration also prevents marking in the house and prevents the four-legged friend from straying.

However, the risk of cancer in males cannot be significantly reduced by early castration. Castration is only necessary for medical reasons if pathological changes in the testes or prostate are visible.

Castration in the male dog: possible disadvantages

The neuters themselves usually approach their conspecifics peacefully, but unfortunately this does not necessarily apply in reverse. Uncastrated males often sniff castrated dogs very intensely to pushy and want to ride. This in turn is extremely uncomfortable for the latter, so that a defense reaction can lead to aggression. Castration only prevents sexually motivated aggressiveness, but not that which arises out of fear, insecurity or resource defense.