Neutering a Male Labradoodle
The first thing to do before deciding whether or not to neuter your male labradoodle is to determine if it’s even necessary. If your male labradoodle is going to grow up and be a responsible member of society then there are no real benefits from having him neutered. You might think that since they’re so cute and cuddly, but in reality they’ll just end up being overgrown puppies!
If you really want to keep your male labradoodle intact, then you need to decide if he needs a bit of extra protection against unwanted sexual advances.
And what better way than with a little puppy play? But how much is enough? Is it OK for your male labradoodle to get away with some rough and tumble playtime without getting his testicles removed? What about if he’s older and still wants to go out into the world and meet new people? How much play time is too much?
It’s all very complicated and there isn’t one right answer. There are many factors involved in making these decisions, so it’s probably best to consult with a professional who specializes in canine behavior problems before taking any drastic action. A good place to start would be your veterinarian. They may have experience working with male dogs and will be able to give you advice on what’s appropriate for your situation.
Spay vs. Neuter: One of the Most Frequently Asked Questions in Dog Care
Perhaps the most common question concerning dog care is whether or not to spay or neuter your pet. At first, it may seem like a no-brainer.
Your dog doesn’t need those extra hormones causing trouble, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy. There are many myths about spaying and neutering that just aren’t true. If you believe some of them, then you might accidentally harm your dog by having the procedure done. The following are some of the most common myths.
Myth: My dog needs to have one heat before being spayed or neutered.
Many people think their female dog should have one heat before spaying. This isn’t true, however. Your dog can be spayed very safely at any age, and there is no benefit to allowing her to go through a cycle first. Just like in people, one cycle isn’t enough to cause a serious hormone imbalance.
Some people believe their male dog should have one season before neutering as well. This is a little more justifiable since there is a slight increase in health risks if your dog has been allowed to breed once. However, the difference is very slight and the majority of those “healthier” dogs were only allowed to breed once or twice, which isn’t a lot of puppies in the grand scheme of things.
In reality, the only reason people think this is beneficial is due to a misconception concerning fertility rates. There’s a common belief that male dogs can be “round” or “hooked” after their first heat. Hooked means the opening of the reproductive tract has been altered in some way and won’t allow successful breeding. Round means the testicles have yet to descend.
In reality, only a very small number of dogs are hooked or round. The remainder are normal and healthy and can be neutered just fine. There’s no scientific evidence to back up the claim that your dog will be healthier if he’s been allowed to breed.
Myth: It’s better to wait until after a heat before spaying.
This isn’t true for several reasons. The main reason is because there’s no benefit to waiting. The female organs are developed by the time a dog reaches puberty, which occurs at six to twelve months of age. Spaying can be done at any age after that with no ill effects.
The next reason deals with your own peace of mind. Some people worry that a female will seem “weird” or “not herself” after the procedure. This isn’t true either. There may be slight differences in behavior, but this is only due to the change in hormones. It has nothing to do with her actual personality.
The final reason is more practical in nature. Your female dog will go into estrus shortly after being spayed. This means she’ll attract every unaltered male dog for miles around. If you live in a city setting, this may mean several very annoying evenings of howling and barking. If you live in a more rural setting, it may result in lost sleep and a lot of muddy paw prints the next day.
The best solution is to have your female spayed as soon as it’s practical to do so. This can be when she’s six months old or when she’s fully vaccinated, which ever comes first.
Myth: It’s dangerous to spay my dog.
Spaying isn’t a particularly dangerous procedure nowadays. The risk of dying under general anesthesia is less than one in five thousand. The risk of a serious complication is also less than one in five thousand. As with most surgery, the risk is greatest in older animals and in overweight animals. Your veterinarian will examine your pet before the procedure to make sure it’s safe to put her under anesthesia.
There are also risks involved with having a heat cycle every six months. A female dog can become pregnant despite being spayed. This may sound unlikely, but it does happen. There are also health risks involved with having so many pregnancies over the course of a lifetime.
The other health risk deals with the act of mating itself. Males have some very sharp genitalia that can cause tears in the vaginal tract. This is particularly true if your dog is trying to escape her mate rather than enjoying the process. The tears can become infected and can cause a life-threatening situation.
Spaying your dog should be seriously considered for these health reasons alone.
Myth: My dog will gain weight after being spayed.
There’s no evidence to suggest this is true, but it seems logical that it would be. There are two reasons why it isn’t:
First, spaying your dog doesn’t actually change her appetite or general metabolism. It doesn’t reduce her interest in food or increase her resting metabolism rate. Her appetite remains the same and so does her desire to move around and exercise.
Second, spaying your dog doesn’t decrease her self-grooming behavior. A spayed female will still want to clean herself just as much as she did before. She’ll still be just as interested in finding a dark, warm, dry spot to sleep. She’ll still be just as interested in looking for food.
Sources & references used in this article:
- When should I spay-neuter my puppy? (OEM Home, EMO Blends – emlabradors.com)
- Tanite uet tshinauetamin?: a Trail to Labrador: Recent Indians and the North Cove site (SH Hull – 2002 – research.library.mun.ca)
- Chronology of hip dysplasia development in a cohort of 48 Labrador retrievers followed for life (GK Smith, DF Lawler, DN Biery, MY Powers… – Veterinary …, 2012 – Wiley Online Library)