Pros and Cons of Neutering a Labrador
What is Neutering?
A surgical procedure, neutering is used to prevent female as well as male dogs from reproducing. In the male dog, the major source of testosterone – the testicles – is removed. In turn, it means that this hormone will be greatly reduced after surgery.
In females, the ovaries and possibly also the womb (uterus) is removed, meaning that your dog can no longer become pregnant and it will not succumb to ‘seasons.’
At some vet practices, bitch spaying also referred to as an ovariohysterectomy, is possible by way of key-hole surgery, a surgical process that involves three small incisions being made to allow the removal of the ovaries in a procedure that is camera guided. There’s no increased risk when this method is used. In fact, due to the fact that the incisions are particularly small, it’s better for more rapid recovery.
Neutering in every case involves a general anesthetic. Generally, depending on the veterinary practice, your dog will have an appointment in the morning, will remain for the day to undergo the operation, and, for the most part, you will be reunited on the very same day.
While all surgical procedures do carry a level of risk, for most veterinary practices, neutering is the most common surgical procedure and the techniques used are particularly safe.
Pros and Cons of Neutering a Labrador
Neutering calms the aggressive dog
In general, Labradors are not aggressive dogs. Nevertheless, there could be times when your dog shows territorial, sexual, or food-focused aggression. If such behaviour reoccurs and becomes frequent, your friendly Labrador can be a threat to children and strangers alike.
Neutering a Labrador, as is the case with any dog, makes him passive and relaxed. Testosterone is a particularly important aspect in terms of being a cause of male dog aggression.
Most testosterone is produced in the testicles though the adrenal glands do also produce and secrete some. When your dog is neutered, the main source of testosterone production is removed, namely the testicles. For the most part, you will likely begin to notice this reduction in aggression from 2 weeks to 6 months post-procedure.
Neutering lowers the risk of testicular cancer and other diseases that are testosterone-induced
When a dog has no testicles, there’s zero opportunity for him to suffer from testicular cancer. Besides the prevention of testicular cancer, when your Labrador is neutered it also means he cannot develop testicular cancer and various other testicular-related concerns.
Neutering stops marking
As mentioned, testosterone production in male Labradors means that they will want to compete with other male dogs in marking territory. Though neutering will not necessarily completely halt your own dog from lifting his leg inside your home, it will deter him from marking territory. As a result of this, the behavior is suppressed.
Neutering reduces the chance of producing abnormalities and inferior genetic traits
Regardless of what it looks like, every dog is a beautiful creature. We do, though, have the choice of reducing the chance that puppies that suffer from abnormalities and congenital diseases are produced.
Most breeders are not in the business of breeding Labradors simply for money. Rather, most labrador breeders have a passion for developing the breed and ensuring that the offspring that is produced is not only purebred but also free from genetic deformities.
Responsible dog breeders have the dogs they care for properly screened for health issues of a potentially hereditary nature. As such, the dogs that are good for breeding and the dogs that may be more susceptible to elbow or hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, or some other genetic problems of similar nature are already known.
Neutering Labradors helps to reduce opportunities that unplanned breeding may occur.
Less or no humping
More embarrassing than anything, humping is a display of sexual tension or dominance or sexual tension. It’s a behavior that is once more caused by testosterone. By neutering your dog, you can stop him from humping and mounting your and your visitors’ legs, as well as your other dogs.
Reduction in the stray populace
Though neutering Labradors in no way helps to reduce the number of stray dogs in direct fashion, having male Labradors neutered does prevent them from impregnating strays. With a large population of dogs that perish in shelters, neutering your Labrador can potentially help to reduce this from occurring in some small way.
The Cons of Neutering a Labrador
Vets advise us that male dogs can be neutered as soon as they reach between 6 and 9 months of age. For larger dogs, including Labradors, it’s advisable to wait until the dog is fully grown, typically at around 2 years of age.
Why the wait? It’s because hormones are vital in terms of the growth and development of the body. Having your dog spayed or neutered early will not stunt your puppy’s growth, but it might affect the joints of large breed dogs. Studies show that early spay/neuter does affect the growth plate, delaying its closure and causing dogs to grow taller than they should have. This can predispose the dog to later joint problems.
More potential for obesity
Neutering dogs changes hormonal balance. In turn, this can cause the metabolism to slow down which means that they have a reduced requirement for the production of energy. Simultaneously, it can increase their appetite by as much as 25%. That can lead to a neutered dog being 3 times more likely to become overweight than an unneutered counterpart.
Inability to pass on desirable genetic traits
After your dog is neutered, he is no longer able to breed, meaning that any desirable traits your dog has can no longer be passed on. Obviously, if you have no desire to breed your Labrador, this is not an issue.
Where to Get Your Dog Neutered?
It’s advisable to make an appointment with your local vet to have your dog neutered.
How Much Will it Cost to Have Your Labrador Neutered?
The cost of dog neutering differs depending on the breed, size, and age of your dog. You should speak to your vet regarding costs.
Many organisations provide discounted or free dog neuterings such as Blue Cross, The Mayhew Animal Home, and RSPCA.