The thought of castrating a dog brings to mind all sorts of images, including those brought to us by creative movies and television with voice over dog voices begging to remain intact. Because our society reveres the areas involved with castration as so personal, private, and necessary, the idea can be enough to turn a few stomachs. However, when considering castration, there are a few issues that apply to the canine family that the human family generally wouldn’t consider as a mitigating factor. After all, we are talking about the castration of dogs. As human as our pets can seem to us, dogs do have different needs, different health concerns, and of course, different behavioral factors in their life.
If the idea of castrating a dog sends your mind and heart into a frenzy of negative thought, you might want to consider why you are reacting that way. Are you personalizing it? Do you see it as an unnecessary arrangement? Do you not see any benefits to doing so? Or are you afraid that something “bigger” might happen. One woman I know wouldn’t have her dog castrated because a previous dog had died on the operating table. While she admitted that it would probably be better for her dog if she went ahead and had him “fixed,” she wasn’t able to disassociate the previous loss, despite the fact that the dog she lost on the operating table was having a tumor removed, which of course is a completely different procedure with greater risk.
There are a whole host of benefits to the removal of a dog’s reproductive organs that most people never even think about. The majority of those who do castrate their pets do so simply because they do not intend to breed him. What they get in return is often a happier dog with better behavior and overall better health. The rumors that having a dog “fixed” makes him fat and lazy are simply not true. Dogs get fat because their diet is too heavy in fats and calories and they are not receiving enough daily exercise, the same reason that people put on weight. Dogs do not become lazy, and in fact most dogs will respond with more “juvenile” energy, meaning that their energy is not derived from sexual frustration but from a general curiosity and playtime attitude regarding life.
When a dog is castrated, behavioral problems such as urinating in order to mark their territory diminishes. Whether “fixed” or not, a dog will still urinate outside on top of or near another dog’s urinating spot in order to facilitate communication. The marking that happens inside the home is no longer necessary in the dog’s mind. In fact, most dogs will often become less aggressive after having their sex organs removed. This should not be confused with becoming less protective. Being protective is basically a good thing. Your dog will bark and guard your home should a stranger attempt to break in through a window in the middle of the night. Aggression is more along the lines of his desire to eat the mail carrier or a desire (with matching behavior) to eat the dog being walked on the other side of the street. Aggressive behavior, while in part is a learned response, can easily be contributed to by unsettled sex drives in dogs. Dogs do not recognize their own sex drive, they simply realize that they are pumped up about something, which often comes out in more aggressive tendencies.
Benefits of Dog Castration
The most obvious benefit to dog castration is the resulting inability to reproduce offspring. There are simply too many unwanted, un—housed, un—kept, and undesirable dogs in this country as it is. There really is no reason to provide the world with any more puppies than it already has. At this time, we put to sleep an estimated 6 million dogs that have no claimed owners every year. Every year there are more puppies born than humans, and every year, there are nearly 13,000 stray dogs that wander the streets of any given city. Those figures represent an insane amount of wasted life. Each of those dogs that are living on the streets, entering shelters, or being put to sleep due to a lack of good homes started out as the cute puppy that everyone thinks is so sweet and adorable and “easy to find homes for.” Because after all, how else will your children get to witness the miracle of birth? There are better ways to teach your children to respect life, including respecting the overpopulation of our society with dogs that the humans abandoned. Castrating a dog is the only guarantee that you can offer society that you and your dog will not contribute to the ever growing problem. Intending to keep your dog inside and confined to the back yard while he is intact are lovely intentions. However, it only takes one good escape before he is out there adding to the population crisis. Intentions will not offer a guarantee. Only castration will.
In all honesty, castrating a dog is the most responsible action a dog owner can take, regardless of whether their new pup is just a tyke or he has been wandering around this world for the last ten years completely intact. Being a responsible dog owner means thinking farther than just your own dog, but thinking about the dog population in general, and what is good for all dogs as well as your own. The only way to complete ensure that your dog’s behavior will not add to the death of more unwanted dogs is to guarantee that no matter how clever he may be, he will not be able to procreate once he has finally learned how to creak out of the back yard. While it might take awhile for you to notice, over time, you will see that your dog is happier and more energized after he has been castrated, and you can almost hear him thank you for it. Castrating a dog doesn’t have to be a traumatic event. It is an act of love, of responsible dog ownership, and an act of humanitarianism to the puppy community.