Unless you are planning to breed from your dog, we strongly advise you to have him or her castrated or spayed. This can help to protect your pet against potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer in later life, and in the case of males can help avoid aggressive behaviour. Most male dogs involved in road traffic accidents are uncastrated. Every year, thousands of stray animals are destroyed because homes cannot be found for them – neutering your animal is the responsible way to avoid this.
If you are considering having your pet neutered, you are welcome to telephone us to find out the cost and to arrange an appointment. Most animals go home the same day.
If you are in receipt of means-tested benefit, the Dogs' Trust run a subsidised neutering scheme for particular breeds of dog. If you are eligible you will only have to pay £35 for the procedure with the Dogs' Trust settling the remainder.
Male dogs are castrated: this means that the testes are surgically removed under general anaesthetic.
Dogs who are not neutered are at a much increased risk of testicular cancer, enlarged prostates and some types of anal tumours. Additionally, behavioural issues such as straying, excessive urine marking, mounting and increased aggression and dominance can often be prevented or resolved by castration. The ideal time to have your dog castrated is from 6 months of age up to 2 years of age, but it is still possible to castrate your older dog – we use the most up-to-date anaesthetic drugs and equipment, therefore reducing the risks associated with anaesthesia, and all pets receive a full health check prior to any anaesthetic.
Some people may worry that castration is unnatural, or that it is cruel to take away a dog’s ability to have sex and reproduce. However, it is worth remembering that most entire dogs are not allowed to mate a bitch, and this will cause frustration and stress for the dog. If male dogs were allowed to mate to relieve their frustration, we would soon be overrun with unwanted puppies.
Bitches are spayed: this procedure, technically called an ovariohysterectomy, involves the removal of both the uterus and the ovaries. It is performed under general anaesthetic, and cannot be reversed.
Spaying your bitch means that the risk of pregnancy is eliminated entirely. Pregnancy always carries a risk to the bitch, and not all bitches are able to whelp (give birth) without assistance; certain breeds are more prone to problems, but all bitches could potentially require intervention, and may require an emergency caesarean operation. This is performed under general anaesthetic and, as well as being an expensive procedure, further risks the health of the bitch and any puppies. We therefore urge all owners who are considering allowing their bitch to have a litter to discuss this with us first as we feel it is important for you to consider all the implications to the health of your bitch and the financial considerations.
There is an old wives’ tale that it is kinder to let a bitch have a litter before neutering: there is absolutely no truth to this claim, and in fact as some cancers are triggered by hormonal changes, their likelihood is actually increased.
Bitches who have not been spayed are at a far greater risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening conditions in later life, such as a pyometra, which is a uterine infection, ovarian and uterine cancer and mammary cancer. The risk of mammary tumours increases with each season, and you may consider having this operation from six months of age and before her first season.
Statistically, neutered bitches live on average two years longer than those that are not. They may be more prone to weight gain after the operation and it is therefore important to monitor her weight carefully. Our nurses are available to check your dog’s weight as often as you like for free.