Owners of unneutered male dogs are often told that their pets would live longer, be happier, stay healthier and behave better if they were castrated – either way, they say, it doesn’t harm the dog.
However, the research doesn’t necessarily back that up.
“The fact that castrated dogs live longer has been shown by a large US study. Unfortunately, the owner behaviour is not taken into consideration,” says Sandra Goericke-Pesch of the Veterinary University in Hanover, Germany.
“In the US, the carrying out of castration probably indicates an increased readiness of the owner to go to the veterinary surgeon. That naturally has a positive effect on life expectancy.” The results of the study are therefore not conclusive.
For about 10 years, it’s been possible to cause temporary castration by implanting a chip that stops testosterone and sperm production for six months or a year. The suprelorin chip, which is barely larger than a grain of rice, takes effect after about six weeks.
The testicles shrink – and so does the dog’s ego.
“The dominance of the dog over other males is positively influenced by 45% to 65%,” Goericke-Pesch says.
This can be particularly helpful with aggressive males. “But only if the cause is sexual motivation,” says Andrea Buisman, head of training at a dog training company in Germany.
A trainer can determine through observation whether the problems are sexually motivated or whether the dog is generally very driven by instinct.
Even less aggressive male dogs can show problems, such as not being calm or being interested only in female dogs – these can also be good reasons for castration. However, if a dog is already insecure and cannot deal with other dogs, then castration can exacerbate the problem due to the dog’s shrinking self-confidence.
If the dog has testicular cancer, there is no alternative to the surgical removal of the testicles.
However, veterinarians and trainers recommend a temporary solution for almost all other factors.
However, there can be financial reasons for choosing permanent castration: The repeated chip implants can cost US$115 (RM483) to US$170 (RM714) each time, while a one-off surgery costs around US$400 (RM1,680). – dpa/Marie Von Der Tann