There are several advantages to having your male dog castrated. This can be done from six months of age. The benefits can be behavioural as well as physiological.
Some castrated males can become more content and less interested in female dogs. They are less likely to get lost or injured while in the chase. They can be easier to train as they concentrate more on what the owner is saying rather than worrying about their hormones! Physiologically, castrated males will obviously not develop testicular cancer as both testicles are removed in the castration.
Prostate problems are very common in entire males as the hormones produced by the testicles stimulate the prostate. Prostatic enlargement can cause constipation or problems passing water. Enlarged prostates are more prone to infection and prostatitis is a very painful condition and can make the dog seriously ill. Sometimes abscesses can develop in the prostate following infection and again these can cause severe problems.
The biggest advantage of spaying a bitch is no unwanted pregnancies and neither do you need to keep your bitch shut away when she comes into season. Some bitches, following a season, develop a pseudo-pregnancy where they think they are pregnant. Spaying prevents this happening.
Bitches spayed before their first season reduce the risk of developing mammary cancer. The risks following each subsequent season increase as the majority of cancers are under hormonal control. A large percentage of mammary cancers are malignant so can be fatal if action is not taken immediately.
Entire females can also develop a condition called Pyometra when the womb fills with infection. This normally occurs after a season. The bitch will be lethargic, is often sick and will drink more than usual. As antibiotics will not treat this infection an emergency spay has to be performed. This is a higher risk than a normal spay as the bitch is already poorly.
With both male and females, you need to watch your pet’s weight post-neutering and your vet will be able to advise you on a suitable diet and exercise.