Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
As a dog owner, one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make for your furry friend is whether or not to have them neutered.
The process can have both positive and negative consequences for your dog, and it’s crucial that you consider it carefully before making up your mind.
The pros of neutering an Australian Shepherd include preventing certain health problems, reducing aggressive behavior, and unwanted pregnancies, while the cons are usually related to post-op complications.
In this post, I will share all the pros and cons of neutering an Australian Shepherd, tips on how to care for them after the surgery, and hopefully provide you with enough information to help you make the right choice for you and your dog.
- What Happens When You Neuter an Australian Shepherd?
- Why Are Dogs Neutered?
- Are Australian Shepherds Calmer After Being Neutered?
- Advantages of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
- Disadvantages of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
- What is the Best Age to Neuter an Australian Shepherd?
- What Are the Risks Involved in Neutering Your Australian Shepherd?
- Care and Recovery After Neutering Your Dog
- Should You Neuter Your Australian Shepherd?
- In Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
What Happens When You Neuter an Australian Shepherd?
For context, I am referring to the surgical removal of a male dog’s testicles which stops sperm production and have these glands stop producing hormones.
In a slightly crude way, some people will call it castration for male dogs.
This operation is carried out by a veterinarian and although it is often advised that the procedure be performed as early as 8 weeks of age, a study has revealed that this is not always the case (I’ll touch on this later).
After the procedure, the dog will be given painkillers to help manage any pain before being discharged to recover at home.
The healing process often takes a week to ten days, and during this time, your dog must remain calm and refrain from any vigorous activities.
A dog will no longer be able to reproduce and will also have lower levels of testosterone which may have an impact on its behavior and physical well-being.
Why Are Dogs Neutered?
When it comes to rescues, the answer is pretty straightforward.
With unwanted breeding and an uncontrolled population, there will simply be not enough resources to help care for them, eventually leading to them getting put down.
For regular dog owners though, there are a few reasons for doing so.
From numerous studies conducted, it can be seen that neutering has a positive effect on a dog’s health, reducing the risk of getting testicular or prostate cancer.
Neutering also helps in the correction of sexually frustrated-related problems in dogs, such as mounting and humping.
I will discuss more on this in the pros and cons section later on.
Are Australian Shepherds Calmer After Being Neutered?
Many people think that sterilizing their dogs will make them “calmer,” but this is a myth that has to be dispelled.
The truth is, your dog’s brain and personality won’t alter if you neuter him.
Instead, their testosterone levels will fall, which causes changes in some behaviors.
While your dog will still be active, it won’t engage in unpleasant behaviors like mounting and humping, marking of territory, or wandering off.
Advantages of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
Despite the fact that neutering your dog might seem cruel, try to think otherwise.
Many people view this as responsible dog ownership and neutering your dog ought to be a requirement if you don’t intend to breed it.
There are several benefits, the majority of which are health-related.
They can be distilled into the following points, and I will elaborate on them too.
- Increase in a dog’s lifespan
- Prevent testicular and prostate cancer
- Lowers risk of developing UTI
- Less likely to fight for territory and mark them
- No unwanted pregnancies
- Less aggressive
According to a study, neutering dogs extended their life expectancy.
The results show that dogs live on average 13.8% longer than men and 26.3% longer than females.
Since sterilization totally removes the organs, neutered dogs are not likely to develop testicular and prostate cancer, which has a significant risk increase beyond the age of 10.
Next, although it does not guarantee it, neutering has been shown to reduce the likelihood of a dog developing a urinary tract infection, a condition that affects around 27% of the population.
A neutered dog is also less likely to roam and challenge other male dogs when trying to mate with female dogs who are in heat, therefore, it is also less prone to fight over territory.
Contagious illnesses like canine herpes, which spread swiftly during mating season, are less likely to be acquired as a result.
Dogs who have been fixed also have less of a desire to mark their territory, so they are less likely to purposefully urinate within the home and create a mess.
You won’t experience any unwanted pregnancies because they no longer have a strong urge to mate (and are actually incapable of impregnating females).
Last but not least, as they mature, your Australian Shepherd will become less aggressive, less prone to bite, and very unlikely to exhibit bad behaviors like humping.
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Disadvantages of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
Before making a final decision, you should carefully weigh the disadvantages of neutering your Aussie too.
They can be summarized as follows:
- Risk of developing joint problems
- Change in behavior is not guaranteed
- Might experience a change in the coat’s texture
- Inability to breed your dog anymore
The first is that there is an increased chance that your dog will develop a joint condition after being neutered.
According to a study published in Frontiers, “in the three categories of dogs weighing 20 kg or more, neutering before 1 year generally was significantly associated with risks of one or more joint disorders above that of dogs left intact”.
This frequently occurs in large breed dogs when they are neutered too young (before the age of one year).
Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cranial cruciate ligament injuries are examples of common joint issues they face.
Next, some owners may view the fact that a change in behavior is not always guaranteed after neutering their Aussie as a negative.
Some dogs may even become more aggressive in certain circumstances, but this is more of an exception than the rule.
Thirdly, some dog owners have mentioned that their dog’s coat texture changed after being corrected as a result of hormonal changes.
However, this condition is actually very rare, except for in spaniel breeds like the Cocker Spaniel, where it seems their coat tends to become fluffier.
Last but not least, and maybe most importantly for some dog owners, you won’t be able to breed your dog.
For those who want to preserve the lineage of your purebred Australian Shepherd, you won’t be able to breed your dog with another purebred if it has been fixed. The process is irreversible.
What is the Best Age to Neuter an Australian Shepherd?
If there’s only one thing you should take away from this post, it’s this.
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about the best age to neuter your dog. Most frequently, it is suggested that you should do it when your puppy is between the age of 6 months and 1 year.
A study discovered that this is not always the case and should be looked at on a breed-to-breed basis.
For an Australian Shepherd, it is safe to neuter it between the often suggested age range of 6-12 months without any significant increase in the risk of cancer.
The actual procedure only takes around 30 minutes, and when done correctly, your dog won’t feel any pain or discomfort for the rest of its life.
I would advise you to find a vet that has lots of experience in this area so that your dog gets the best care and treatment.
Recommendations from friends and reviews online will help you out.
What Are the Risks Involved in Neutering Your Australian Shepherd?
Although neutering your dog is a very common procedure and is thought to be quite a low risk one, that does not mean there is absolutely no risk.
Here are the risks you should be aware of:
- Post-op complications: As with any surgery, there is always a risk of infection, bleeding, and complications from the surgery itself. However, most of them are readily resolved with medication
- Anesthesia risks: When anesthesia is involved, just like there are with any medical operation, there will be dangers such as allergic responses, respiratory problems, or, in extreme circumstances, death
- Orthopedic risks: Neutering can also increase the possibility of orthopedic conditions such as hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament injury. This is because of the hormonal balance that influences how bones and joints grow.
Reading this will surely cause some stress, but don’t worry, there are quite uncommon these days, especially since this surgery is so commonly performed.
Care and Recovery After Neutering Your Dog
Most dogs will take closer to 2 weeks to fully recover from being neutered, although some may take a bit longer than that.
During this time, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s health and keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms or changes.
When your dog is neutered, he’ll need plenty of fluids and rest.
You should also be aware of some weird behavior like constantly sitting after being neutered, or if you have a female dog that has been spayed, watch out for it trying to scratch its spay incision with its hind legs.
Make sure you are providing him with plenty of water after the surgery, and don’t be afraid to give him a few extra naps if he seems tired.
Most veterinarians will recommend giving your dog a painkiller after the surgery, and you should also be careful that he doesn’t jump around or play vigorously during this recovery period.
Your dog will also need an e-collar to prevent it from licking or biting at its surgical incision or wound after neutering.
Last but not least, do wait at least 2 weeks before showering or grooming your dog after desexing.
Should You Neuter Your Australian Shepherd?
It goes without saying that if you plan to breed your Aussie, this is not an option.
Ultimately, as a dog owner, it is up to you to make that choice.
Both sides of the argument will have a valid point of contention in this never-ending discussion.
As the dog’s owner, you must take a position and act in the dog’s best interests.
Do as much research as you need to while attempting to keep emotions out of the conversation.
Doggy says, you might be interested in this too: Pros and Cons of Neutering a Bernese Mountain Dog
In Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Neutering an Australian Shepherd
It can be difficult for you to decide whether to neuter your dog, but if you do, stick with it.
Before you go ahead, make sure you are doing it for the correct reasons by assessing the benefits and drawbacks of the procedure.
If you’ve determined that having your dog neutered is the best course of action, get ready for the process, learn about all the dangers, and make sure your dog comes home with lots of affection.
Check out other dog care articles such as potty training regression after neutering, why does your puppy hold pee all night but not during the day, how to remove sticky bandage from a dog, and many more on our blog!
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.