We have a six month old puppy, I'd assumed from the start we'd get him neutered seeing as we got all our cats done when they were young and it seemed like "the done thing".
I have made an appointment for Wednesday this week, and DH has just asked why we're getting it done. I know why we got the cats done (they're cats, they roam free and need to be neutered to try and keep the stray population down, fair enough), but I'm not sure we need to get the dog done as he's not allowed to roam free and both DH and DS, in a burst of male empathy, think we shouldn't get him neutered.
Why do people get male dogs castrated? I had a male French bulldog who I never got done and he was lovely although very aggressive with other dogs from about the age of 18 months onwards, and I'm not sure what to do with this one.
So as not to drip feed: he's a tiny little thing, chihuahua crossed with some kind of terrier, we have two children (4yo and 11yo) and one cat (3yo female). He's well behaved and friendly, although when we meet other dogs outside, he gets very yappy before hiding behind me when on a lead (we go for walks with a friend who has a retriever/lab and they're fine together off the lead). We leave him in the garden (with access to the veranda) for the day when we go to work, neighbours say he doesn't bark or whine at all, they sometimes look in on him and have said he's usually playing or sleeping. He's never escaped when we've been at work (if he really wanted to get out he probably could).
What is the general consensus? The vet didn't ask why we wanted to get him done, so I assumed it was normal, but now I'm wondering what's best for pup.
There are lots of different opinions, rescues of course are adamant that all dogs should be neutered because for them any possible health risk is outweighed by the problems caused by unrestricted breeding. Best to do your research and decide what's best for your dog. Don't think it applies to small dogs but castration can cause more health risks than benefits in some breeds, i.e. increased risk of bone cancer in larger dogs. Also early castration (before fully grown) for labs can cause hip problems as leg bones carry on growing without testosterone to close the growth plates. Our lab was done at 2.5 years, only because he met a female in season and became completely obsessed and miserable. We felt so sorry for him, was back to his usual happy self after the op.
Ender makes excellent points. Also do some research on neutering of fearful dogs, as there have been some studies that suggest a possible link with an escalation to fear aggression once the hormones are removed.
However, in your case, the fact that he's left outside (I would be worried about this, by the way, as dog theft is a lot more common than most people think) and you say he could escape if he wanted to, makes it more likely that he would go in search of a bitch if he got a whiff of one in season. Dogs will travel great distances and overcome all sorts of obstacles to get to a bitch in season and with no-one there to stop him during the day, for me it is too much of a risk. Not only is there the obvious possibility of an unplanned litter, but he could also be lost or hit by a car whilst chasing after a bitch.
I think that's the main thing I'm worried about (him being hell bent on getting to a bitch in heat). I will ask my vet what he thinks before he operates on him.
We live in France, in a quiet village on a little square with no cars and lots of other houses facing ours, also our gate and walls are about 8 feet high, I'm not too worried about him being stolen or even run over, however there are a few tight gaps that with a reasonable amount of determination, he could probably chew his way through and elope with some bitch.
You might think your dog's not interested in females but you never know when the urge might hit and dog will be off. My lab met loads of in season bitches and didn't seem bothered, then when he was 2.5 yrs old he met the one that really got his hormones going. Luckily he was on lead but I only just managed to keep hold of it as he dragged me off my feet .
My sisters cocker spaniel scaled a 6 foot brick wall to get to a female and next doors dog threw himself at our fence so hard to get to my friends in-season bitch (couldn't be done due to hooded vulva) that he knocked himself out and damaged his neck.
Neuter, always neuter. There are too many unwanted dogs dying every single day to justify breeding, accidental or otherwise.
We felt the same as you. We didn't intend to do it at all, but did in the end when he was 5, as we were experiencing some aggression with him towards other dogs. He was a different dog afterwards, for the better. We wish we hadn't waited so long, and if we get another boy dog we would have it done as soon as recommended. There is nothing to say it couldn't be anything but positive, except if you wanted to breed for him.
Really, there is no downside I can think of, other for him having to go through a general anaesthetic and the small risk that involves.
If you want to convince your dh and ds, tell them about prostastatic hyperplasia. It's basically enlargement of the prostate and something like 80% of unneutered males have it. It can be extremely comfortable, even painful and interfere with both urination and defecation. I once had an adult male rescue that developed it and it was awful for him - other than regular injections for chemical castration, the only way to reduce the size of the prostate is ... neutering.
As Incognito mentioned it also completely eliminates any chance of testicular cancer in later life - for obvious reasons.
You could also try getting them to think about how they would feel having all their hormones and urges but never being able to act on them, then add in the dog's exceptional senses for seeking out bitches in seasons and ask them just how unhappy and frustrated they would be. Also ask them how they would feel if he did escape after a bitch and get hit by a car trying to get to her.
I'm glad to hear your situation is so different by the way. Dog theft is on the increase massively in the UK at the moment, with small 'toy' dogs and working breeds being the most popular. It's horrible.
Neutered dogs can still be very attracted to bitches in season and can mate fully ( although obviously can't father pups) There's no good reason to neuter a male dog which has no sex related problems and no need to lop off every bit which could get cancer later in life.
Er ... yes there is. An unneutered male can escape and father a litter, whereas a neutered male may escape and attempt to mate (although this is very unlikely) but there won't be an unwanted litter as the end result. There are far too many unwanted dogs in this world already and the fact that the OP has already said a determined dog could probably escape her garden makes this more likely.
... and no, we don't remove every bit that might get cancer, but if we are taking into consideration all the pros and cons it's another one on the list.