Spaying and neutering your dog causes surprising behavior changes. These changes are not something that you hear about unless you delve into animal behavior. Instead you are being told about why you should spay and neuter your dog. Let's review some of those reasons first…
Responsible Owners Spay and Neuter Their Dogs
- Makes pets more affectionate companions…greater attachment to their owners
- Sex hormones lead to unnecessary stress and aggression among dogs
- Unsterilized animals often show more behavior and temperament problems
- Early neutering may avert many aggression problems
- Intact female dogs have an increased risk of aggression
- Intact male dogs display aggression towards each other.
As a pet sitter for 18 years, I knew of spayed females that lived together who also fought ferociously with one another to the extent that they needed extensive veterinary care. Of course, mother dogs are more likely to be protective of their litter and may display aggression towards strangers. During my career, I cared for two intact male Schnauzers that were the best of friends despite being spunky terriers.
Veterinarians and Shelter staff are more likely to stress spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted litters rather than aggression unless the dog is already displaying aggression.
In Psychology Today, posted on February 22, 2017, Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC reveals the secrets he learned about the behavior changes that occur when dogs are spayed or neutered.
Dr. Coren's European friends pointed out that North America has a unique notion that by spaying and neutering a dog, you can control certain behavior tendencies.
European Studies Reveal:
- Swedish Study – 99% of the dogs in their sample were not neutered
- Hungarian Study – 57% of dogs were intact
- British Survey – 46% of dogs were intact
- Norway – it is against the law to neuter dogs unless there is a specific medical reason
Medical Reasons for Spaying and Neutering
Veterinarians urge us to spay and neuter our pets to cut the chances of certain cancers and hormone-related diseases as well as population control. However, Dr. Karen Becker, once a fierce advocate of spaying and neutering, is now singing a different tune. Only a very small percentage of diseases occur in intact animals. Dr. Becker now recommends the importance of hormones for your dog's health and seeking an alternative method of desexing. You can view her Facebook Live here.
- Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported by Deborah Duffy and James Serpell
- Hunter College in New York – Master's thesis submitted by Parvene Farhoody
The Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) was used by both studies. Owners were asked to answer 101 questions about canine aggression, fear and anxiety, attachment, excitability, energy level and other factors.
Untold Behavior Secrets Revealed
- Spayed and neutered dogs actually show considerably more aggression either towards their owner or a stranger varying at a low of around 20% and increasing to more than double.
- Effects were similar for both males and females
- The age at which males are neutered makes no difference in the increase in aggression compared to intact dogs
- Early spaying of females (before one year of age) causes a considerably larger increase in aggression relative to later spaying.
Non Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Pet Population Control
Since the incidence of disease is so small in intact dogs and it is now proven by the studies that removing hormones by spaying and neutering actually increases aggression in dogs, you may want to find a veterinarian who is skilled in desexing your pet using alternative methods such as Ovary Sparing Spay or Vasectomy.
Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs and Vizslas benefit by having their hormones remain intact since they are reportedly prone to diseases and conditions that may occur more often when sex hormones are removed.
It's All About Choices
Now that you know the untold secrets about the behavior of dogs that are spayed or neutered, what choice will you make for your next puppy? There are very few veterinarians embracing the ovary sparing spay and vasectomy procedures since those are not taught in veterinary school. Hopefully, we will have more options for our pets soon so that they can live a healthier life.
Or will you choose to leave your dog intact? Those of us that show dogs like I do with my American Eskimo “Gusto” have learned the benefits of leaving the hormones intact as the dog is developing physically.
P. S. If you are feeling like you have been neutered because you may be feeling some of the same feelings listed here for dogs, such as aggression, fear, anxiety, excitability and low energy, feel free to reach out to me by direct messaging me on my Facebook profile. I will be happy to add you to a group of people that believe in healthy aging.
With love, compassion and empowerment,