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Guys! Why do I have to desex my puppy at six months?

Desexing your dog, at any age, increases their lifespan and avoids a number of health issues such as cancer in male and female dogs, and prostate problems in male dogs.   It also reduces the likelihood of undesirable behaviour such as aggression, fighting, and marking.

Every dog is different, and no doubt you have been presented with many opinions on what is best for your pup – well hold on tight my friends, because here is another one 😉

Even though your unneutered male dog is friendly and social, and the goodest boy or girl, unneutered male dogs are generally not well tolerated in a group of neutered males due to their different scent and behaviour.  Intact males give off their own scent which is because of all the extra testosterone running around inside, and all this can be considered a threat to neutered males. This scent can cause neutered dogs to react negatively towards them causing aggressive displays. Within a group of other dogs this can cause an issue or possible altercation between individual dogs or a group of dogs.

Female dogs that haven’t been desexed also give off their own specific scent, and while the other female dogs aren’t too much of an issue, the male dogs become extremely interested in this new smell and this can also cause tension amongst the boys.

When an intact boy or girl puppy enters daycare you can almost feel the tension in the air, and just like humans, tension and friction often lead to trouble.   Our only concern here at Urban Dogs is for the safety and well-being of all of our pups and it is for this reason only that we implement our six month desexing policy.

Having said all that, there was a study published in 2013 by the University of Davis, California, which suggested an increased risk of hip dysplasia and cruciate injuries (musculoskeletal joint diseases) in a small population of large breeds if desexed early at less than 12 months of age. While this may seem like pretty convincing evidence, the answer is often not that simple. When reviewed critically, it was noted that this study looked at a relatively small study population and did not control for several biases such as weight. Desexed pets tend to be heavier, and weight, rather than the age of desexing, may have played a significant role in increased risk of hip dysplasia and cruciate disease. However, the study does support a common theory that hormones influence the normal development of joints in some breeds, with earlier desexing causing delayed closure of the growth plates in the bones of large breed dogs. This leads to longer limbs and subsequently may result in higher rates of musculoskeletal joint diseases.

Based on the small number of studies, if you have a large breed dog, or a breed that is prone to hip dysplasia and cruciate disease (or a dachshund which have their own set of problems) you may wish to consider desexing later. However, any benefits should be weighed up against the benefits of desexing earlier at 6 months of age, and should also be considered alongside what suits your family and your lifestyle.

There you go, that makes the decision easier, no? 

Honestly, there is no easy answer here, and all we can say is that our policy is purely coming from a safety angle.  When you have a large group of dogs in a confined space there needs to be added measures to ensure everybody is safe and happy.  We respect your decision to delay desexing in your large breed dogs, but please understand that we have this policy in place based on many years of experience.

We are always happy to answer any questions you might have, drop us a line at team@urbandogs.co.nz or stop in for a chat when you are passing by 😊



 

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