Keeping Your Dog Intact

By not spaying or neutering your dog, you might be biting off a little more than you can chew. Here are 9 important facts to consider if you decide to keep your dog reproductively intact.

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If you decide to delay spaying or neutering your dog, for whatever length of time or whatever reason, here is something else to consider- Some people just may not be cut out to deal with an intact male or female dog in their household. Here are some caveats and considerations:

1. Female dogs bleed when they come into heat.

Female dogs do not get menstrual periods like humans, as some people mistakenly believe; they come into “heat,” or “season,” once or twice a year – the three to four days in their cycle when their unfertilized eggs ripen. (Though both biological processes involve bleeding, it’s inaccurate to compare a woman’s monthly cycle, which is an infertile time, to the heat in the female dog, which is quite the opposite. Dogs get pregnant while bleeding.) Some dogs cycle every six months; more primitive breeds, such as Basenjis or Tibetan Mastiffs, come into heat only once a year.

Get more facts on dogs in heat at Dogster.com.

2. Female dogs can only get pregnant when they’re in heat.

A dog will begin her heat cycle after about 6 months of age. Some females will show physical signs of readiness – their discharge will lighten in color, and they will “flag,” or lift their tail up and to the side. Others will show no behavioral changes; still others will “stand” and accept a suitor at any time in their cycle, even days before or after they are fertile. If you cannot be absolutely certain of identifying the signs of heat in your female, and securing her during this time, spay her. Intact males are frighteningly persistent in reaching the object of their desires; they will hurl themselves through glass windows, and might even attempt (and succeed) at breeding a female through the wires of a crate.

eager stray dogs

3. Unneutered male dogs can get forceful.

You cannot leave a female in heat unattended for one moment outside, not even in a fenced yard. Whether or not she is in that narrow window of time when she can get pregnant, she might attract a male, and they might breed anyway. There is no way to predict how a male dog will act when a nearby female is in heat. Though dogs have been mating for millennia, it is not a process that is without risk of physical harm to one or both dogs.

4. Unspayed female dogs will attract stray males – from miles away.

If there are stray dogs where you live, walking a female in heat is asking for trouble. Ideally, have a secure, fenced area where your female can do her business, always supervised by you. If you must take her out in public to walk her, carry an umbrella that you can open to ward off unwelcome males, but know that you still might not be able to keep them apart.

5. Unspayed females need to wear sanitary pads while in heat.

Dogs stay in heat about three weeks, but the female will neither bleed heavily nor bleed every day. Nonetheless, to protect your carpets and furniture, it is smart to invest in “bitch’s britches,” which are dog-proportioned panties that can be fitted with a disposable sanitary napkin.

FEMALE DOG WEARING SANITARY DIAPER
© Willeecole | Dreamstime.com

6. You cannot keep intact males and females in the same house.

If you have an unneutered male dog in your household, and you want to let your female go through one or more heat cycles before spaying her, the smartest and safest thing is to remove one of them for the duration of the female’s heat. It is difficult to describe the stress, restlessness, and sheer loss of sanity that a male dog can exhibit in the face of a female in standing season. It will be close to unbearable for you, to say nothing of him. Plan a vacation for one of them, ideally the male. (And if you plan to use a boarding kennel, females in heat will be too big a disruption there in the event other unneutered dogs are there, too.)

7. You cannot spay a dog while she is in heat.

Once your female has started her heat, don’t change course. Many veterinarians are reluctant to spay females in the middle of estrus; the uterus, preparing for pregnancy, is very vascular, and the risk of internal bleeding is higher. Instead, schedule spay surgery at a hormonally “quiet” time, ideally midway between heats. Depending on the individual dog, unneutered males can be trained through consistency and positive reinforcement not to urine-mark in the house. Ditto for discouraging “humping.” Do not tolerate these behaviors at any time.

8. Unneutered male dogs are always fertile.

As with unspayed females, unneutered male dog behavior must be under your control and supervision at all times. It is the height of irresponsibility to allow them to wander. Unlike females, unneutered males can procreate all the time, and they can create a neighborhood population explosion in no time at all.

9. Intact dogs are less welcomed in public.

Remember that in the larger world outside your door, intact dogs are the minority. By choosing to have an unneutered male (in particular, because he is visually easy to identify), you restrict your options and access to different environments, including dog runs and doggie day care. You will likely be required to explain and defend your decision not to neuter your dog; be prepared, be polite, and have a very thick skin.

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WDJ's Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

124 COMMENTS

  1. My Golden is 3 years old and intact. I plan to keep him that way. It is healthier. He does not mark. He is not aggressive. In fact, he is so calm, we check that he has a pulse sometimes …. just kidding. He doesn’t hump my older female dog, only a stuffed elephant. I understand that some intact males can be a handful, but my guy is super-mellow and will remain intact unless I see that neutering is needed.

        • Cancer is a genetic issue, it has absolutely nothing to do with if a dog has their balls or not. Neutered dogs can still get cancer as much as any other dog. Boxers and Rottweilers are very cancer prone. The same as GSD’s are prone to hip dysplacia due to bad breeding endorsed by the AKC. My dog is 11 years old now and is intact with just 1 ball he was born with and is 100% healthy. How about trying to think for yourself for a change and not be a sheep following the herd? Might be a good idea.

          People only neuter dogs because they lack the common sense, foresight, and critical thinking to care for a dog. That’s all there is to it.

          • An intact male is more likely to get testicular or prostate cancer. If he’s neutered her will never get prostate or testicular cancer because they no longer have those organs.

          • SO MANY YESes to your response! Also, people don’t even think about the food they give their dogs! They wanna be lazy and just feed them dry crap food and processed food and think not mutating their dogs is the reason for their cancer. It’s like someone eating Mc donalds their whole life times and saying that mutating their bodies is gonna save them! how does that make ANY sense? Vets like to make money so they don’t even question this insanity. Innocent dogs are healthy and complete as they are they just need to exercise and eat good food like all other living beings. You’d think this is a no-brainer but NO! boils my blood

          • Did your vet tell you it was dangerous for your dog to not get neutered do to he has only one testicle? My vet just told me that and im so scared to have him neutered Ive never neutered any of my fur babies.

          • So thanks! It is really all scare, cause fear. Also lie! My breeder for my amazing 5 yo intact boy never neuter’s his boys. He say, makes a problematic dog. To neuter a dog. But so many people who are not responsible. So it gets done. But we who are in the know, and do not do this. Also know too train the dog. is all bout training . Dogs, never trained, will be not be in control. My fuji, when he was taken care of , by his breeder, at 3 yo, for our vacation. Never bothered his females’ that were in heat, when he was there. A matter, once again of training .Also making sure the breeding of the dogs are with parents that are not a mean, problem dog, also what a top breeder will do.

        • Not true not proven. Do all intact humans get cancer or is it what they eat? I have never neutered my dogs and never had cancer. They get a good diet of real food and lots of enzymes and probiotics. I have lots of energy from my dogs, I don’t get that I don’t care attitude. When you do performance sports you want that high energy.

      • It is healthier please google “dr Karen Becker” on YouTube and search for her anti dog neutering video. You’ll learn a lot about the health of your dogs. Neutering dogs is ONLY beneficial to the owner not the animal. Dogs are exposed to more types of cancer by neutering. Please do some research. You might have already given your dog a lesser life span by blindly listening to one vet or popular belief.

        • I am so happy I found your comment and watched the video! I already had a appt set to neuter my Boston terrier but was extremely nervous and debating I now do not think I will do it! Thank you

      • Yes!!! Hormones are a very necessary part of boilocical function. If a human gemale is “spayed” she gets osteoperosis, atrhritis, is MUCH more likely to develope high blood pressure, heart disease, hot flashes, certain kinds if cancer and other health issues. It is SO DAMAGING, in fact, that tens if millions of dollars a year are spent in hormone therapies to compensate for the loss of hormones. Humans are mamals, are we the only mamals that need a natural hormone balance to be healthy? Ummmmmmmm…. duh!

      • Oh shut the hell up about that. There is NO WAY cutting off the genatalia that the animal was born with is ‘healthier’.

        Castration is not the answer for your dog’s health. It makes you feel better. –Also, for the comment about facing people in public. I would love it if some moronic ‘Karen’ or ‘Darren’ came up to me and gave me shit about my dog not being neutered. They need to mind their own business.

        • Once again, the brainwashing of the people! And then they think, that they can tell you what to do with your dog. And the vets get to make their $ Neutering, spaying. Along with yearly vaccinations, that another story of total brain washing. Along with the money for the vet. If want real info on this, goggle Vaccination Protocol. Part of it I loved on it said, if you vet is still doing yearly vacc, as in over vaccinating your dogs, SHAME ON THEM!! I am sure vets never over vacc their dogs. If needed, tiers will let you know if they need too be vacc.. I had too stand up for my self , when the vet said the shot that my dog needed. They did titers. And called to tell me he was good. I said, that is why I do not over vacc my dog!!

      • It is healthier, testosterone is healthy for fighting other types of cancer. And there is a very low chance that your intact dog will develop testicular cancer. Human men can get testicular cancer too, but u don’t see us getting our balls chopped off just to rid ourselves of the slight chance of testicular cancer.

    • Healthier? Says who?? Intact dogs are more prone to cancer. Even if your guy is super mellow, those hormones will kick in at some point and he WILL catch the scent of an in season female and do whatever he had to, to get to her. Is it really worth risking losing your baby by taking away those hormones thus making him no longer attracted to female estrus..

      • Healthier? Says who?? All new studies since 2017 are proving that intact dog’s CAN be healthier then fixed dogs. Also comes down to the owner I know many people with intact dog’s male and female all are living very healthy lives. So don’t act like its the devil to not fix your pet.

        • Lmfao only in the US people neuter dogs. That’s why dogs in other countries live longer and healthier lives because they have all parts of their body. Hear me out if a human removes a part of a organ for no reason will he /she be healthy? Lol I think not

      • Hormones are needed but too many or too less are danger like poly cystic ovaries syndrome, hypothyroidism and the rest of them all. Cancer is a bugger but cut the balls / ovaries off and you can’t get the cancer and no babies.

        • If dogs were not meant to have reproductive organs .They would Not be born with them.
          How would you like your bitS taken away without your consent.
          If it is healthier for dogs to be neutered.Then why has it been proven dogs are more likely to get various cancers elsewhere (none mammary or none testicular) If they are neutered.
          Unfortunately we are still dealing with outdated beliefs and practices.
          That they will be healthier if desexualised.But The Truth in fact is the opposite!
          They need their hormones to grow into healthy adult dogs.Being neutered effects endocrine function.Bone growth and density.Neutering young causes growth plate issues also.then don’t get chance to close.especially in larger breeds.Who need longer to become fully grown.
          Hormones also affect the immune system.So when taken away can cause many issues.With irreparable damage and very poor health for the rest of the dogs life.
          Humans need functionality of hormones for the same reasons.And if we were to start desexualising our selfs in the same manner we would not thrive.We would suffer Dearly as a consequence.Why do people think it’s different for dogs?
          Manly because we have been indoctrinated for so long.we just go along with it because we’re none the wiser.So vets continue to profit from our pets being desexed and all the health issues that come with. Desexing Is one of the most profitable services the vet provides.That only serves to make up a huge sum of the vets earnings! Along with over vaccinating.

          Time to Wake up! Vets are no different from our doctors profiting from lying.Both are Making and keeping us and our beloved pets from being Truly healthy”!

          out dated practices witch only ensures any given vet access to even more of your money.

        • Ha Ha !! More scare, fear! In America, there many dogs , out on the street these days, are a sad, pile of really bad crap! So some dog byers, they think a person using their dogs for money, sometimes charging much more that a ethical breeder, is a Breeder! Sad for us in the USA so untrue. They do not do any testing. Have no clue of what a petagray is, and go on to be sometimes legally, do not give the AKC papers, or charge for the AKC papers. And a another big red flag,, these people using their dogs for money, charge more for the freemales. Never happen with an ethical breeder. Also, mostly, pups leave their Moms way too early.

      • My pug died at age 12 due to complications from NOT BEING NEUTERED. She stopped going to heat at age 5 which isn’t supposed to happen as dogs do not go through menopause. She developed a massive vagina prolapse and died after surgery to correct it. Please please please neuter your pets. It drastically cuts down on the number of strays that need homes and may keep your pet from suffering like mine did

        • what did u feed that poor dog? dry dog food and processed dog food? that’s what happens. If you had fixed her, she’d probably die earlier.

          • What an absolutely monstrous response. The pug had surgery and therefore had seen a vet, so I’m sure the owners were specifically told, BY A PROFESSIONAL, why it got sick.
            Go to veterinary school if you feel so compelled to tell strangers how and why their pets died.

        • That is a particular case. The fact that her heats stopped at 5 is a huge red flag and she should have been desexed then. But most dogs are not your dog and never have such complications. There is no reason to remove the sex hormone producing tissue from a perfectly healthy dog. That said bitches should have an ovary sparing spay due to the high risk of pyometra. And if you’re concerned about male dogs reproducing, vasectomy is a better option than castration. Both ovary sparing spay and vasectomy are effective means of sterilisation, the difference between them and castration and traditional spay is that one allows a dog to keep their extremely beneficial sex hormones, while the other doesn’t.

      • Says many very well set up studies done on large groups of dogs. Castrated dogs are 1.6x more likely to develop cardiac hemangiosarcoma, a very deadly and common cancer with a very poor prognosis. It also increases the (small) risk of prostate and urinary tract cancers, not to mention the significantly increased risk of hypothyroidism, progressive geriatric cognitive impairment, orthopedic disorders and adverse reactions to vaccinations.

        Spayed bitches are 2x more likely to get splenic hemangiosarcoma and more than 5x more likely to get cardiac hemangiosarcoma. Then of course there are the significantly increased risk of orthopedic disorders, obesity, hypothyroidism, urinary tract infections and tumors, vaginal issues, and incontinance.

        Pediatric desexing severely increases the risk of osteosarcoma in medium-large dogs. Osteosarcoma is a very deadly bone cancer and dogs rarely recover from it, even with extensive treatment. It also increases fear aggression and many other behavioural issues.

        The only things desexing actually prevents are ovarian and uterine cancers which are both very rare, as well as testicular cancer which often has a very good prognosis, especially if it’s caught early, which it should be if the owner has been keeping a close eye on their dog. The main risk in bitches that spaying fixes is Pyometra, which can also be prevented just as well by an ovary-sparing spay. For cryptorchid males, the undescended testicle alone should be removed because there is an increased risk of cancer in that testicle and they should be vasectomised to prevent them from being able to breed, as it is a hereditary disorder.

        Desexing increases the risk of all cancers save those that exist in the removed sex organs, including mammary cancer. There are 2 main forms of mammary cancer in dogs. Oestrogen receptive tumours and non oestrogen receptive tumours. While oestrogen receptive tumours are driven by oestrogen, they are also inhibited by it and tend to be slow growing. They are also the less deadly of the 2 forms of cancer. Bitches that were spayed at the same as their cancer was removed were found to be at increased risk for hemangiosarcoma.

        TLDR; Desexing harms more than helps and if you’re concerned about population and breeding, your dog should be sterilized via ovary sparing spay and vasectomy, not traditional spay and castration.

    • So when he gets prostate cancer? Yeah that’s smart. I think you need to do a bit more research on the subject.we waited until our dog was about a year old before we neutered. That was to make sure he got a good dose of hormones for growth purposes. But in no way is it healthier to leave him intact indefinitely.

      • Ask yourself a question and answer honestly. Use logic and don’t spit out ignorant things you hear people spreading. Is it healthier for a human to be neutered? What makes you think that it’s any different for a dog? Every organ has a purpose. If you unnaturally and unnecessarily remove it, there will be consequences. I’ve seen so many dogs grow and change in my life. I haven’t heard a single case of cancer for intact dogs. I have heard tons of medical issues from spayed and neutered dogs. My first dog was a male who never bred and he died extremely old of old age!! If you can’t handle being responsible for your dog then neuter/spay by all means. Just note, it’s out of convenience not for their health so don’t kid yourself. Do some research and use critical thinking.

      • my 2 yr old Pit/Lab mix is not spayed and i have no plans to do so. Every vet under 50 she’s seen has recommended not to spay her if I CAN HANDLE her heats and keep her away from males that are not neutered. it’s all about convenience for the owners. and the 60 yr old vet told us we’re basically stupid for not cutting our dog open and mutilating her. obviously knowledge and understanding of these beasts changes over the years. My little Emma is a handful but good training outweighs everything.

        • My dogs name is Emma and she. Has gotten pregnant twice already and only close to 2 years old. I’ve tried everything to keep her from getting pregnant, but obviously my attempts aren’t working. Is it bad to spay her? Could that cause major health problems?

          • If I were you, I would probably spay her. At 2 years of age, she probably has most of her growth. At her age with 2 unwanted pregnancies, it would probably be a wise choice.

          • Are you unable to keep your dog on a leash while out for a few weeks during her season.
            Why can’t you keep her away from other dogs .
            Or is she getting pregnant from other dogs in the household?
            I am sorry !
            But I’ve shared my life with a female dog for ten years.And have not found it difficult at all to stop her getting pregnant.Its just never been a problem.So I find it difficult to understand why yours has gotten pregnant so many times.
            Unless you leave her out on her own or leave her home alone with male dogs.

      • Dogs can can still get prostate cancer .
        In fact prostate cancer is more prevalent in neutered dogs.As are the many other types of cancer in neutered dogs.
        You need to research !
        Prostate cancer has been reported to occur more commonly in neutered than intact male dogs in several case series. This study was undertaken to evaluate risk of prostate cancer in a large population database. The hypothesis was that castration is a risk factor for prostate cancer in male companion dogs.

    • I agree with you. Intact dogs are much healthier. It is a proven fact. Take the German Shepherd as an example. Some say that if you don’t spay your female she will get a reproductive cancer. Perhaps it’s true however depending on the age at which you spay your female she may develop cancer due to the spaying. If your dog is prone to cancer and you don’t care for it properly (the right food, exercise, etc.)…it will get cancer. Not spaying or neutering has nothing to do with it. Also….large female dogs are at risk for spay incontinence, again depending on what age you spay. Spaying and neutering has been pushed on the public because of irresponsible pet owners whose dogs get out of their control and run loose thereby getting pickup and placed in an animal shelter. You can’t have dogs in heat and intact males together in a shelter. It would be a place of total chaos. In Europe “very few” dogs are sterilized. But again…if you are an irresponsible dog owner….GET IT STERILIZED.

      • thank you. I have been shamed for not spaying my dog.
        If you took my uterus out I would be saved from uterine cancer too. My dog is 12 and she has never let another dog mount her or come near her.

        • Wow, never spayed and she’s 12? Did you keep her home for the three weeks of her heat? How have her heat cycles changed over the years as she has aged?

    • Our 8 year old intact Golden has never wandered, anywhere. We didn’t neuter because we had considered breeding, since he is from a Champion hunting line, is a fabulous hunting dog, extremely gentle, loving, smart and gorgeous.
      At age eight we are having to decide whether to neuter him now, since he is undergoing another surgery for a giant lipoma.
      I don’t have any issue with neutering per se, just adding more discomfort to him by making him have multiple incisions. Anybody else have any experience with this?

      • Yes. I had a Spinone Italiano with prostate cancer. I always intended to neuter him at 7 or 8 (as I read once they hit 9 they are more prone to prostate and testicular cancers). But 7 turned to 8 which turned to 9 and then it was too late.
        He died at 11.

    • Hmmmm… Very interesting. Nobody here says that we should neuter male and female humans… just to protect them from all sorts of cancer! And many of you mention the uncontrollable sexual behavior of intact dogs. But that’s nothing compared with the mess that human beings do with their sexual activity! Yeah, right! Hormones…

      • Actually they do. People get single & double Mastectomies, Full & partial hysterectomies, and have their testicles REMOVED, specifically for the purpose of either removing cancer &/or preventing it. What are y’all even talking about with these ignorant responses? You guys act like y’all don’t know all this happens with people? Do you just forget humans are also going through this when it’s convenient for you?! I’m actually shocked at the amount of ppl here saying humans aren’t forced to remove their organs for reasons relating to cancer, every single day. Even major Celebrities have had to remove their hormone producing/ reproductive organs to prevent &/or remove cancer! So, with that being said, I know you all had to have heard of at least SOME people needing to do this. Not an easy decision, but an affective & necessary one nonetheless. I mean, provided they didn’t want to die & all. But It’s honestly so much more than just a bunch of celebrities… regular everyday people have their breasts, uterus/cervix/tubes, etc, testicles, kidneys, lungs, heart, gallbladder, & any other organ removed if it isn’t functioning, or the find out they’re at risk of, or already have developed cancer. After removal they either live without it, wait for a transplant, or use some form of hormone replacement therapy, respectively. Literally happening all over the world, every single day, ppl go through this, just to be able to… well… you know, LIVE! My point; human beings most certainly do go through this, & saying they don’t, just so YOU can justify following the “young“/“woke” herd is absurd. Reality is reality, no matter how you look at it or how old/young your eyes are.

        • Yes, but we don’t mastectomies or hysterectomies to 14 year-old girls or even 25 year-old women. Those surgeries are elective and typically are only undertaken when there is a very serious family history, and when the person carries a specific gene. We do not do preventative cancer surgeries as a matter of course which IS what is typical with dogs. We do these surgeries when they’re the equivalent of prepubescent and we do them as a routine, regardless of family history, genes information etc.

      • I had a terrible fight with an ex roommate bc after she strong armed me into neutering my 6 month old puppy bc he was peeing on the carpet still. I asked her to get her cat declawed bc he was tearing up the carpet & attacking me randomly. She said “no! That’s cruel! It’s like cutting off the tips of your fingers!” & I said “you made me neuter my dog & that’s cutting off his testicles!”

    • It is healthier and I totally agree with you on keeping dogs intact. I have a Rottweilers and these breeds are prone to cancer. If they are fixed before about 7 years the chances of cancer go up exponentially. the chance of cancer goes up in all dogs fixed but for Rottweilers it is a lot higher because the are prone to it. Fixing dogs does not protect them from cancer it gives them cancer,

    • Good! Not needed for behavior reasons. That’s just a vet’s excuse to make neutering money. If he’s not around females in heat, & my dog never is, no need to pay for an invasive surgery of gonadectomy.

      • All dogs go through puberty and become a handful for a while – one of the biggest reasons people give up dogs it adolescence. – My 3 year old sammy was an amazing puppy a bit of a naughty teen and has come out the other side as a wonderful dog – still intact. My friends neutered lab went through the naughty stage just as badly as my pup – they will come out the other side 🙂

  2. I wish I could print this. It is great information and I am trying to convince my neighbor not to become a backyard german shepard breeder. He thinks the dog is going to give birth and he will make a bunch of money. He paid $900 for his dog. How many fools like him does he think are around?

  3. I had a female in heat, locked in the house with the windows partially open. While we were gone, a male came in our fenced yard, and they did their best to tear the screens from the windows to get to each other. All my dogs now get “fixed” as soon as possible.

  4. We have had two golden retrievers in the past 40 years. Both males were intact, and we never noticed any problems with them trying to get to any females. We did try to breed our first one once, but it was unsuccessful. We were all “virgins” and needed someone with more experience. After reading this, I probably would neuter another dog if we got one, though that’s not in the plans now.

    • I would NEVER neuter the dog without reason. I mean if he was agressive or anything of the sort, i even hate how it’s called ”fixing” a dog. Oh so stupid.. Besides.. i’m planning on breeding my dog when he’s older.. just not with her sister whom we’re trying to stop him from getting prego.

  5. Neutering a male dog will naturally make testicular cancer impossible, but it does have undesirable side effects. Studies (and my own experience with my last male OES) indicate that neutered purebreds are 25% more prone to osteosarcoma. In long haired breeds, like my OES, neutering makes them more prone to skin and coat problems, such as hot spots.
    additionally, neutering too soon causes joints and bones to grow more, and be weaker, than if the dog is intact, as the hormonal signal to growth process is absent.
    Neutering is not just a sterilization process, it removes a primary source of hormones that regulate growth and other developmental aspects of dogs and other species.

    • The age at neutering makes a big difference in health, according to studies I’ve read about. Too soon is not good, but that doesn’t mean never is better.

      Owners of intact animals must also remember that pet overpopulation results in millions of pet deaths a year, and many of these would be prevented by more pet owners spaying and neutering responsibly (not too soon, not too late). And if you are determined to become a breeder, you’d better really study dog genetics and understand how to breed for temperament and health as well as conformation so that you help to improve the breed. If you’re not dedicated to serving the needs of dogs, please don’t do it.

    • Thanks for your insight! I was told to wait until my male Golden was 1 yo before neutering him, due to latest studies. He’s turning 9 months in one week and after 5 months many places won’t let them mingle with other dogs . There are too many unwanted Puppy’s and kittens running around without proper homes to love and shelter them. Many end up euthanized ! Do the responsible thing if you are a pet owner, neuter and spay your animals !!

  6. I am forced to comment,,,intact males are not more prone to “cancer”…do your research people…taking the testosterone from a male dog forces his other glands to produce more…causing a host of problems…we don’t neuter men as babies because they might get prostate cancer do we, …cause that’s the only cancer an intact dog is more prone to get.,,just start having them examined yearly and if there is any prostate swelling…neuter them then…

  7. Lotsa hostility in this comment section….
    How prevalent is prostate cancer to begin with? Does anyone even know?
    And if intact males are more likely to get it, then *how much* more likely?
    This article could elaborate with just a bit more pertinent facts to help people make informed decisions.
    One thing I know for sure is that male dogs can indeed get prostate cancer at any given time for no discernible reason whether they are intact or not. Maybe neutering does decrease that risk, but by how much is the question at hand. If prostate cancer is super uncommon to begin with and the increase of risk is small enough or negligible then that would change the conversation here.
    There are a plethora of other health AND even some behavioral/emotional benefits that come with keeping a male intact. There can also be some drawbacks as well. Weigh the pros and cons of each before jumping to conclusions and decide which positive aspects appeal to you and what you are or aren’t willing to tolerate from the negative column.
    The most important point that really needs to be made here is that people and dogs are all very different and should be respected as individuals.
    Its incorrect and unethical to pass judgement on a pet owner based on whether they decided to neuter or not. Every dog is different and “you’re way” of doing things, whichever you choose, isn’t the “only way” things should ever be done.

    • Well said. The sun can give you cancer too, just sayin’.
      But in all seriousness, I do believe it to be somewhat more of a safer choice to get your male altered especially when socializing is concerned.
      Despite being an owner of an intact male myself. I did have plans of getting mine neutered but it just wasn’t a priority at the time. He’s 11 years old now with a clean bill of health but I can not risk having him off-leash in some places because he will go after an in-tact male.
      My Yorkie who believes to be Bull-Mastiff is about 14 pounds soaking wet with ears the size of antennas, he also thinks he is the only one allowed to have his balls. Nevertheless, he’s still perfect in my eyes of course.

    • Actually, neutering increases the risk of prostate cancer by a factor of 3. However prostate cancer is uncommon at 0.6%. Really it’s hardly even worth mentioning. The only cancer castration prevents is testicular cancer, and while this cancer is fairly common in intact male dogs, it usually has a very good prognosis provided the dog is treated quickly, which happens quite often because it’s one of the easiest cancers to spot, so long as you keep an eye out for it.

      What is relevant, however, is that desexing significantly increases the risk of 4 of the 5 most common cancers, many of which are extremely deadly with a very poor prognosis. These cancers are; hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and mast cell tumours. The first 3 of these are basically death sentences, though in some cases you can buy your dog a little more time with treatment, but not much.

  8. My dogs are all intact. The male visits my son when the girls are in heat, unless I want a litter of puppies. Raising puppies is a chore, but I enjoy every minute of it, and my girls seem happiest when they have a litter of puppies. Then- they totally lose interest in them after a couple of months, thankfully, because I had originally worried about them grieving their loss. I think that if you wait until 8-10 weeks, this isn’t a problem.
    Anyway, I had a very bad experience when I was breeding miniature beagles. I was referred by the local beagle club, sanctioned by AKC to a breeder who had beagles, and two males were miniatures. I took my female to this recommended breeder, and she had to have a hysterectomy at 5 weeks because the puppies were almost as big as she was. I am sure that the miniatures were not interested in doing the job, so she used one of her larger dogs. So, I would never allow my females anywhere near any male dog but my own. And, I figured out that, not only are papers irrelevant when considering the value of a dog, since breeders can tell you anything, but papers are also irrelevant when considering the value of a breeder.

  9. The truth is that the vast majority of dogs won’t get testicular cancer. My eldest Lab bitch had a Laproscopic (keyhole) spay, and some people tried to tell me that a full spay was better as the dog couldn’t get Pyrometre (excuse spelling), but I chose the less invasive procedure, and Polly was fine in a few days. My younger Lab, which we hope is pregnant, will have the same later this year.

    • Hello RustyNuts,
      I’m sooo interested in the laparoscopic procedure you mentioned. Where? How? Please share. We have a household of two purebred collies, girl and a much younger boy. She joined us at 5 years of age and we survived the first heat because the boy had no idea what to do, being only 7 months. I am on the side of keeping dogs intact but we don’t want pups, so the less invasive surgery with keeping some of the reproductive organs intact would be ideal.

  10. I guess none of you understand that when you neuter a male dog, or desex I should say, the not well equipped adrenal glands are forced to produce testosterone. Why? Because he needs testosterone to live a healthy life. Problem is the adrenals often become sick for having to perform a function they are not intended to. Neutered male dogs often develop Addison’s disease and die young. The thinking of removing the testicles to prevent possible prostate cancer is ludicrous. Should we remove all human testicles for the same reason? Shame on you. If your an irresponsible pet owner then sure better to neuter your dog. But call it what it is. It’s not for his health. Let’s remove all the breasts in the world and eradicate breast cancer! Human logic at its finest. SMH

    • Interesting. I am the owner of a 15 month male Aussie who is intact. He is completely submissive to all “neutered males” and never mounts any other dogs in social situations. My vet advised me NOT to neuter until 8 years and only if to prevent a medical condition. I have no interest in breeding, either. My issues are with the General US Public that is shaming me for not neutering. Our local rural 5 acre dog park has a sign that requires dogs to be spayed or neutered. My dog never has shown any aggression, but has been a target of Neutered Males being hostile to him. Thus, I am shamed and blamed for breaking the laws. I don’t understand why my submissive intact male is the victim here? Yet, I cannot fight City Hall. I often feel that people in the US are brainwashed into thinking all dogs and cats must be altered. It’s gotten ridiculous. Even out in the country.

      • I have a submissive intact male Cavalier King Charles spaniel. He does very well at the local small dog park, he stands his ground when picked on by altered males, and they usually have a fun time playing together. I, too, feel shamed for not neutering him because so many public facilities such as dog parks and/ or doggie daycares require neutering. Fortunately, my Cavalier has long hair so his balls are not apparent to the casual observer, so we are rarely questioned about him being altered. I’m still planning to have him neutered at some point, but I figured I should wait until at least 2 years of age when the growth plates close. My husband prefers we keep him intact. We are adding a second Cavalier male puppy soon, wondering if anyone has any input about keeping two intact male Cavaliers together in one home? They are a very relaxed and agreeable breed so would love to keep them intact and healthy

    • 100% agreed. My dog is 3 now, black lab-coon hound mix. He gets humpy with pillows sometimes but other than that, he’s very good natured and not aggressive ever. These same people that advocate for male neutering are likely the same people that advocate for cutting away organs and body parts for no good reason other than “it’s the thing to do” (aka, removing breasts in case I get breast cancer, cutting foreskins off their babies, removing tonsils, list goes on and now that it’s 2020, we know so much more. All these procedures are not necessary and are in fact criminal when performed on non-consenting individuals. These advocates are herd-minded (sheeple as I like to call them) and don’t think critically nor do they keep up with scientific literature or even understand scientific literature. Sad to see many sheeple in society. And you can tell they’re dumb, narrow minded individuals when they get upset at the dog park when they see an intact dog – it’s the primitive emotional parts of their brains getting activated because they just don’t have the intelligence or foresight to cope in these situations.

  11. I need to know… Does a female dog stay in heat after mating? I have a Boxer/Pug mix, 7 years old. I’ve been very good about not letting her around male dogs. However, my daughter is not as careful. She was with my daughter when she began her heat cycle, I believe she might have mated with her male. But she went back into heat and was having a clear discharge. She is even producing milk. Could she be pregnant? Or are the see just normal signs of a heat cycle?

  12. I’m planning to keep my lil’ doggy intact until after 12 months.

    The plan is to get a litter, we’ve got a match lined up between my male pup and one of my brother’s dog’s daughters. The goal is to keep both bloodlines around and in the family. The mum is due to come in heat around the time my lil guy hits 13 months, so it should work out.

    I’ve also done some research, and it does seem to be that delaying neutering until after the male dog finishes puberty has better long term benefits for the dog around a range of health issues for the rest of the animals life.

    A big reason why the industry standard is to de-sex at six months is because that’s when a lot of male pups will become fertile and may start straying to find a mate, which can lead to stray puppies. The primary concern there is to keep the stray animal population under control – and that’s 100% the right proprity in the general case.

    But in cases such as my little guy where I can guarantee that he can’t get out to stray and make unwanted puppies, the literature reads to me that delaying until after puberty is in the interest of the animal long term.

    He’s 9 months old now. No marking or behavior problems yet. So long as he holds steady until after we get a litter, he gets to have a second puppy in the house from that litter, giving him a son/friend to play with, which is a big deal.

    The hardest thing has actually been the socialization and stimulation. I’m really lucky to have an employer that can provide flexible working hours, and I’m really close. I come into work early so I have a longer lunch break that gives me time to get home, eat, walk him, and then get back to the office after he’s had a bit of stimulation. But it’s hard not being able to drop him off to doggy daycare like I used to when he was smaller.

    Once the little pup is in he’ll have a friend at home, and once they’re both neutered they’ll be able to go to daycare together again. It’s a bit tough for the next couple of years, but once it evens out they’ll reap the reduced health risk for the rest of their lives. As their owner, I truly believe that’s in the best interest of my current and future animals, and I’m fortunate to be able to still provide them with the attention and care they need during their formative years.

    But for other owners, your mileage will of course vary based on your context. If I wasn’t able to drop home in the middle of the day to keep him stimulated, I’d make the call to neuter early to keep him in daycare, because it’s tough on such a highly social doggo being home alone every day.

  13. I am getting my baby girl spayed in August:( Belit will be 8 months and getting a full hysterectomy:( I have researched and there is no other option for keeping her from having pups. I have a male 6 months older then her. Griffith. Who will remain intact. He is healthy and happy and will live a long funtastic life. They both will. Its already a major surgery and decision for the owner to decide on or their baby. Lets not add cancer to try and sell it. Most of us know thats the responsible thing to do. For our own pets.
    Have a great day/evening.

  14. Our Vet informed us about the significant risk prostate cancer after neutering a dog. We lost 3 of our male dogs after neutering them. One to prostate cancer, one to hemangiosarcoma, the other to lymphoma. While one could say the risk are great for testicular cancer if the dog is intact—testicular cancer is curable., Prostate cancer is not.
    I also know as a Physiologist -playing with hormones always significantly increases your dogs risk of mast cell cancers and other metabolic challenges. There are case studies and research to support this. A dog and cat owner owes it to themselves and their pet/s to do their homework, research, and educate themselves on the subject and for care of their pet/s. We will never neuter or spay our dogs going forward. We have an intact male standard poodle and intact male golden doodle!

    61314_Pets_Lead Article_VizslaStudy.pdf

  15. For those wanting to keep your dog from being bred but don’t want to remove vital hormones look into Vasectomy and Ovary Sparing Spay.

  16. How can so many people, all of you, be so short sited and self centered?? The result of absolute gender neutralization (terminology/verb.) is absolute extinction! Who wants memories, pictures and stories grandpa told to be all there is known of dogs and cats within 2 generations of today’s general public? Its our children and their children will first taste the bitterness of our sterilization efforts. No procreation = no babies = species gone. That’s forever folks! People, lets deal with the people who dont properly deal with pets!! And deal with our pets as the pet should be treated!!! Dogs and Cats, who next.. Us???

    • I agree as does the AKC. It is required by the AKC that the animal be intact to show in the breed ring for confirmation. It seems to me that if being intact is detrimental to the animal’s health they would have a different position on the matter.

    • It’s called Pyometra and 1 in 4 bitches under the age of 10 contract this infection. It becomes more likely as the bitch ages. It can be avoided by an Ovary sparing Spay, which will sterilise the bitch but allow her to keep her beneficial sex hormones. She will still have heats but they’ll be less messy and more subtle.

  17. Same risk of cancer with humans but not many neuter themselves or their kids because of the risk! I know it’s not as simple but i’ve been just shocked with the fact that many Australian labradoodle breeders do early spay and neuter I think at 8 weeks it might be earlier! They call it healthy and cancer preventative!

  18. is it necessary to the male and the female dog will knot after mating? I have a dogs after mating they knot but not to long, can a female dog will get pregnant even if they knot not to long?

  19. I’m confused why people keep comparing spay/neuter dogs to humans. There are many, many, MANY things that we do with pets that would be insane to do to humans.

  20. im not here to argue either way. but i have seen firsthand how full shelters and pounds are. and how unequipped they are to deal with dogs left that people don’t want to take care of, but obviously want to breed. spay/neuter is saving a lot more dogs than choosing not too in my humble opinion. each to their own tho!

  21. My dog had puppies on Monday and i have a Male dog too i don’t want her pregnant again so just want to know how long to keep them apart so she doesn’t get pregnant again im getting her fixed but not till the puppies are 6 weeks

  22. It is possible for a male dog to have a vasectomy and an ovary sparing spay for a female. This way they continue to have all of their hormones for bone growth etc and they are unable to reproduce. With a vet certificate they are still welcome at doggy daycare, dog parks and boarding facilities. We have a three year old lab who had a vasectomy as a puppy. The breeder insisted on this for the pups health guarantee. He doesn’t have any behavioural issues. Seems like a good option and down the road if he does have problems we can always opt to have him neutered, in the mean time he’s getting all of the hormones he needs to build good bone density and he seems to be thriving.

  23. Thank you Lemon!! You took the words right out of my mouth. Vasectomies are the best of both worlds. Keeping the dogs hormones intact for health purposes, yet preventing unwanted pregnancies. Bravo.

  24. It is interesting that female dogs begin their heat cycle after 6 months of age. My wife and I are considering adopting my mom’s dog if she moves into assisted living home. We may consider getting her spayed so we don’t have to worry about caring for any of that.

    • Depends on the breed, larger breeds have heat a little later than smaller one. Some large breeds have their heat around 10-12 months.

  25. I have a rescue, let not spay and neuter and have more unwanted and abandoned pups and dog in the world.
    all of you need to talk a walk and look t all the strays and starving puppies. But lets not spay and neuter and don’t tell me you find good homes for them. You are part of the problem and helping. Yous ay your dog never has bred. That is a lie

  26. I just had my female at the vet 4 months ago for a very expensive Emergency surgery for a Pyomitra. Also to have cancerous tumors removed from her mammary glands. She just turned 9 years old yesterday. The vet said females have a 95% chance of getting cancer if not spayed. All I know is that my dog is 1 of the 95%! He then told me there was no rush to neuter my male until he’s older but that Males are at high risk for cancer at around age 10-11 if left intact. But he said many large breed dogs don’t live that long anyway. So I’d say educate yourself, use your best judgement and do what you think is best for your pet. That IS our right as pet owners after all.

  27. I had a long talk with my vet on this subject recently. She’s very experienced and always on top of the latest studies. She shared that testicular cancer is very slow growing and that in the case of a dog that sees their veterinarian regularly, that it can be detected early and the solution is to then neuter. In the case of my dog, she recommended that he remain intact as increasingly there is evidence that it is helpful in terms of their development and as they age. In fact, she mentioned that at a recent gathering of specialists, a veterinary surgeon that specialized in ortho surgery shared that he could always tell when this particular breed of dog had been neutered under age one, as it was almost a guarantee that he’d be performing ortho surgery on it later. It’s extra work in some ways to have an intact male and other dogs often are understandably unwelcome. To each their own but FYI for anyone interested.

  28. I leave my male shollie intact for bear protection. No problems yet at almost 4 years old. He even rest in my lap and neck nook.

  29. It’s no surprise that most people opposed to dog desexing are men. Still, as triggering as the idea of slicing open and scooping out live testicles might be to some, trust your vet’s advice. After all they know balls better than you.

  30. To consider an intact male dog as a thing to ostracise is small minded when it is more likely a neutered dog will be more aggressive towards the intact dog. Have never had male dogs neutered always have had female dogs desexed after first litter.

    How opinions have changed over the years.

  31. Weill I have a question, I have read through a lot of these posts granted not all of them as there was a lot. I have three dogs, two males, one female. We did neuter one of the males and the female is still intact as well. Here is the issue we are having and please no judging or negative comments, everyone does what they feel they need to do, our female came in her season and the males would get in blow out fights where they were bleeding and keep in mind one male is neutered. Why would they go at each other? Yes I have done my readings too. I read that the neutered male with go after the intact male which I dont understand. The testosterone level in the neutered male is either very low or doesnt exist. We neutered one of the males thinking that it would stop the fighting but now I am told that we should have had both of them neutered. Some days they go without fighting and other days are full blown out fights where blood is drawn. Again feed back is fine just dont judge or have negative and rude comments.

    • If the fights only occur during your bitches heats, just keep them seperate during that time. I don’t think neutering your remaining dog will help much, in fact it might make it worse. There’s really no way to tell for sure until it’s done, at which stage it will be too late if things go the wrong way. You could try temporary chemical sterilisation and see if that improves things. When neutered and intact dogs fight, the neutered dog is almost always the instigator. I think its because testosterone makes dogs brave, so a neutered dog tends to be more reactive and aggressive when they feel threatened, and the scent of intact dogs is threatening to them, so they pick a fight with it.

  32. If you guys want to keep your dogs intact fine, just please don’t be those dickheads at dog parks I see all the time that start beating the shit out of their dog if they start mounting and attacking other dogs. Intact dogs have no business being at dog parks in general. Every severe fight I’ve seen where there were significant injuries occur always have an intact male involved. It’s just too risky.

  33. This is one of the most misinformed posts I have ever read. It has moments of truth but is misleading at best. MOST female dogs will spot blood going into season. Not all. Responsible owner/breeders will keep records, have reproduction vets and KNOW when to expect seasons. If a pet owner wants to keep a girl intact, they need to work with that responsible breeder. Male dogs are OFTEN NOT fertile for the rest of their lives. Many develop what is referred to as “soft testicles” and very often will no longer produce sperm. This can happen as early as age 4. People who want to collect and freeze sperm are encouraged to do that closer to age 2. As far as the prostate goes, there is an excellent medication called Finasteride that will shrink the prostate. Works very well with no observable side effects. And it is a rare occurrence that dogs will mate through a fence. Normally a male would just hang out outside the fence. Females are only receptive for about 48 hours. They do a thing known as flagging. Tail up, butt out. Before and after they will usually chase the boys off. It is absolutely possible to keep intact boys and girls. But do work through a responsible breeder who is known to others in the breed. Don’t just get any puppy without breeder support for a lifetime.

  34. I suppose truthfully it comes down to preference. I love my young pup. Solid Black German Shepherd named Valor-Lehner. He is very well nurtured and I spend hours with him. Personally I would never consider Neutering him. I’ve had the discussion with him multiple time because… you know, were family and we talk. You can look up all the information you want about whether neutering does or does not affect your pet. You’ll always find conflicting information. Life is meant to give more life, that’s all I can say. If you cant neuter then don’t. I can’t because hes family and I would never tell family they can’t have kids. My boy has never strayed, i’ve personally trained him well and spent countless hours in training. Healthy or not healthy isnt the question really. It’s how much of a bond you have and amount of time you can take for your family. Life comes life goes. I’ll remember my puppy (he’s always a puppy) as living a full life, no matter the duration of it.

  35. After all these I read I am convinced to NOT neuter my 0ne year old GSP
    I find it as abusive N honestly I don’t care to breed him but I would like him to live years with his hormones and all philosophies , I mean people can talk, and every chair is another opinion
    I am grateful that he is healthy and I give him good organic food to avoid disease 😉👍🏻🙏🏻

  36. We got our female pup last year and decided not to get desexed. We feed natural home made food etc and it’s very healthy and never been to vet.. Our 2 friends got 2 puppys from same source and got desexed and eat food they buy from vet . Guess what.. their pups are constantly getting sick and going to the vet . If ever in doubt just do what’s natural . Plus here in Australia the price of puppys have gone up ridiculously cause of covid etc.. ours was 2000 .. now the same is around 8000.. another reason not to desex.. make more puppys responsibley and give them to friends and those that can’t afford them now.

  37. Ha Ha !! More scare, fear! In America, there many dogs , out on the street these days, are a sad, pile of really bad crap! So some dog byers, they think a person using their dogs for money, sometimes charging much more that a ethical breeder Are breeders, they just a person, not testing, their dogs. and using their dogs for the money!!.

  38. The risk of testicular cancer isn’t especially high, neither is prostate cancer (depends on breed). And the fact that people are saying we should remove essential organs and using the risk of cancer as an argument as to why we should remove them is absurd. Based on your logic we should also remove their ears, because then they cant get cancer there. Maybe we should also remove their eyes because of the risk of cataract or cancer in the eye. And the balls are necessary for the same damn reasons as it is necessary for humans, one being testosterone production. Testosterone aids in fighting a plethora of diseases, and is necessary for the dog to have healthy bones, big strong muscles like the big boys, and many more that I couldn’t possibly name off the top of my head. And finally, you don’t have to give them a girlfriend if they aren’t neutered, just let them hump his toys, don’t get mad at him for his rated R behavior, he just doesn’t understand that masturbation is a private matter.

  39. I took my Yorkshire Terrier Male to the vet to be neutered! My vet actually told me not to spay him because it would cause issues later on and he was already a great dog, physically and his temperament and he didn’t want to change that! He is now 8 and is the best dog! I have a 2 year old female also now and she is not spayed either. I have no issues when she is in season. Its called sensible ownership! My male has never even tried to mate with her, however my female does try to hump the cat when she is in season! 😂

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