Is Neutering Your Dog a Good Idea?
If you’ve just welcomed a Staffordshire Bull Terrier pup or adult dog into your family, at some point you'll probably ponder an important question: Should I have my Staffy neutered?
While there are some who argue against neutering, the majority of veterinarians and animal welfare experts recommend these procedures for a number of reasons. Not only can neutering provide health and behavioural benefits for your Staffy, they also ensure that your dog won’t contribute to the homeless pet population with a litter of unwanted puppies.
In this guide we’ll look at the benefits of both castration and spaying, how much the procedures cost and whether it is likely to help or hinder your dog.
What is Neutering?
Neutering a dog is a surgical procedure that prevents the dog from being able to reproduce. Neutering refers to the process for preventing sterilising both male and female dogs. The specific procedure for male dogs is known as castration, which involves the surgical removal of the testicles via an incision near the scrotum.
The neutering procedure for female dogs is called spaying. Spaying involves the removal of the ovaries and the uterus through an incision in the abdomen so that the dog cannot fall pregnant.More formally known as an ovariohysterectomy, spaying is a more complicated procedure than castration so tends to be slightly more expensive to carry out.
Both surgeries are carried out under general anaesthetic and is designed to stop the dog from reproducing.
What are the Benefits of Neutering a Dog?
Aside from preventing unwanted puppies, there are various other potential benefits of castration and spaying. Your staffy could benefit from both a health and behavioural standpoint in the following ways:
Health Benefits of Neutering a Dog
Prevents testicular cancer. Neutering your male dog removes the risk of testicular cancer.
Prevents uterine infections. Spaying protects your female dog against uterine infections.
Prevents breast cancer. Spaying also reduces the risk of breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs.
Behavioural Benefits of Neutering a Dog
Reduce roaming. You might be surprised at the lengths an intact male dog will go to when looking for a mate. These daring escape attempts can lead to injury, while he’s also at risk of getting lost or hit by a car while roaming. However, a neutered dog is much less likely to roam.
Spayed females don’t go into heat. Female Staffies in heat can produce a bloody discharge, and may urinate frequently to attract a mate. They’re also likely to draw attention from any nearby males looking for a mate.
Better behaviour. Spaying and neutering can also lead to other behavioural improvements, including less territory marking and a reduced likelihood of mounting. It can even lead to reduced aggression in some dogs.
General Animal Welfare Benefits
Getting your pet neutered can also good for society as a whole. If your Staffy can’t reproduce, there’s no chance of you ending up with a litter of unwanted puppies, which is good for a couple of reasons:
It’s cost-effective. You don’t have to worry about the expense of caring for a pregnant Staffy and raising a litter of puppies. You also don’t have to deal with the stress of finding suitable homes for those pups.
You’ll help reduce pet homelessness. Unplanned dog pregnancies lead to litters of unwanted pups. Often, these pups end up being on the streets or even euthanised if they can’t find loving homes. By getting your dog neutered or spayed, you’re helping to tackle the pet homelessness problem.
After-Care Tips for Neutered Dogs
How Much Does Dog Neutering cost in the UK?
The cost of neutering your Staffy could vary depending on their weight and on the clinic performing the procedure. Surgery costs more for larger breeds because they require more anaesthetic and the procedure takes longer to perform. As mentioned earlier, spaying is also more complicated than castration so is usually a little more costly.
Although it might not be 100% accurate, here is a general idea of what you can expect to pay:
£100 to £300 for castration.
What Age Can a Staffy be Neutered?
The optimum age for neutering is a hotly debated topic. While the procedure can be performed on puppies as young as eight weeks of age, your vet may recommend booking your dog in for surgery when they’re around five or six months old.
Some argue that a female is better off being spayed once they've had a litter. However, claims that it’s healthier for a female dog to have a litter before being spayed are outdated.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on the very best time to have your pet neutered or spayed, as this position statement from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) reveals: “The BSAVA does not have a specific view on pre-pubertal neutering in dogs but does not support the practice of routinely neutering dogs under the age of four months.”
The most important thing you can do is ask your veterinarian for advice. He or she will be able to tell you when is the best time to have your Staffy neutered or spayed and why.
Dog Neutering FAQs
Here's a list of some more frequent questions that pop up around neutering a dog. If you have a query, be sure to ask in the comments and I can add it to this list for others to see!
Is Neutering Painful for a Dog?
No, the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. While your pet may experience some discomfort after surgery, your vet will be able to prescribe medication and offer advice on how to manage any pain.
Will Neutering my Staffy Calm Him/Her Down?
Your dog’s personality will not change after being neutered or spayed. However, you will see a reduction in a number of undesirable behaviours, including spraying urine, roaming and mounting but this varies from dog to dog.
Will Neutering Make my Staffy Overweight?
No, your dog won’t automatically become fat and lazy as soon as they are neutered or spayed. While your Staffy’s activity levels may change as she grows older, the two most important factors to help your Staffy stay in a healthy weight range are diet and exercise. And as a responsible dog owner, it’s up to you to ensure that your pet is fed a balanced diet and gets plenty of regular physical activity.So while spaying and neutering might sound a little scary, they’re two of the most responsible things you can do as a pet owner. Have a chat with your vet about the benefits of getting your Staffy neutered or spayed, and about when is the ideal time for your pup to have surgery. You’ll be doing your dog, yourself and the community as a whole a very big favour
What is the Recovery Time for Castration and Spaying?
It can take up to a couple of weeks or so for your pet to recover from neutering. Your vet will be able to advise you on the recovery time frame for your Staffy and how you can help them get back to full health as quickly as possible. This could include:
Keeping your pet inside while it recovers.
Stopping your Staffy from running, jumping and being overly active for up to two weeks after the procedure.
Checking that the incision is healing properly and stopping your pet from licking it — an Elizabethan collar comes in handy here.
Not bathing your pet while the incision site heals.
Are There Any Reasons Why a Dog Should Not be Neutered?
In rare cases, yes. For example, if your Staffy has a health issue that prevents them from undergoing surgery. Of course, breeders will not be neutering their dogs.
In most other cases, neutering is usually recommended as the benefits listed above outweigh any potential risk for downsides.
As with any type of surgery or medical intervention, you should always be in close discussion with your vet. The information on this article and site in general always aims to be accurate and correct, it cannot be used as a replacement for in-person help from a qualified professional.