Early Desexing (Neutering) of Puppies
by Kate Schoeffel BSc(Hons), BVSc
Reproduced with permission.
Traditionally dogs have been desexed at about 6 months of age, just before they reach sexual maturity. It was thought that desexing earlier than this might affect the development of the urinary tract and lead to urinary obstruction in males and "immature vulva" in females. Controlled experiments in the United States have shown that this is not the case and now large numbers of puppies are being desexed at 6-12 weeks of age, both in the US and Australia, with no ill effects being reported.
Studies have shown that there are differences in behaviour and development between dogs desexed before and after puberty. Dogs that are desexed before puberty tend to remain more "puppy like" in their behaviour. But the timing of pre-pubertal desexing was not shown to have an effect on development. There was no repeatable difference between pups desexed at 6 weeks and at 6 months.
Desexing puppies at six to eight weeks of age is quick and simple and puppies recover rapidly and are feeding and playing within half an hour of surgery
DESEXED MALE DOGS
Most people when buying a family pet have a strong preference for female puppies. This is not at all surprising given typical male dog behaviour.
If you wear tattoos and own a Pit Bull Terrier you may expect, and enjoy, a bit of macho behaviour in your dog. However most people don't want a family pet that cocks its leg on every post, marches up stiff legged and bristling to sniff the scent glands of every dog it meets, bolts the minute a bitch within a five mile radius comes into season, and most importantly runs any risk at all of biting anyone.
Male dogs desexed at an early age will show little or none of this behaviour. Although most do learn to lift their leg to urinate they will do this predominantly to relieve themselves - not to scent mark their territory, which is the function of this distasteful male dog habit. While they may show interest in females in season this interest is not strong and doesn't lead them to wander.
Desexed males are not prone fighting or to dominance aggression and do not figure in the statistics on dog attacks on people.
Many studies have shown that lots of men strongly resist the idea of owning a desexed male. If you are reading this and find yourself among this group it is important to think through why you are buying a pet. Are you looking for an animal that reflects your personal self image or do you want a childrens pet? This is a serious question and I do not mean to appear judgemental. I fully sympathise with men who feel that they couldn't own a Chihuahua or a toy Poodle, but I also believe that when the animal is to be a family pet compromises need to be made. If you can't handle the idea of a desexed male dog perhaps you should get a female. You must feel comfortable with the breed and sex of the dog you choose - it is a decision you will probably have to live with for 14 years.
In summary desexed male dogs are similar to females in their behaviour and make safe, loveable and loyal family pets.
I breed crossbred dogs known as "Labradoodles" - a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. All the puppies that I sell are desexed at six weeks of age. There are a number of reasons why my puppies are desexed before sale:
First cross dogs do not "breed true". If you cross two "Labradoodles" the puppies will be a mixed bunch and only a few will resemble their parents. If you want to breed "Labradoodles" you have to cross a poodle with a labrador or you will have to spend years inbreeding to fix the type you want to breed.
I sell family pets. While I can sympathise with people who want their children to experience the very real joy of breeding a litter of puppies, I have the unpleasant duty, in my town, of putting down the Council strays. I do not want to contribute to the huge number of unplanned and unwanted puppies which end up being disposed of in Council Pounds and animal shelters.
I believe that childrens pets should be desexed because they then make better and safer family members. Most attacks on children are made by dominant male dogs which have not been desexed. Statistically desexed dogs virtually never bite children I can do the operation myself and people who buy my pups benefit from a saving in costs.
Kate Schoeffel BSc(Hons)
Nyora, Condobolin NSW
Phone: 068 95 2511
A/H: 02 6896 2935
Fax: 02 6895 3851