Dogs are a huge part of family life. They bring unconditional love and affection, mischief and fun – and once you have one, it’s hard to imagine a home without one (or two or three!) It’s a dog owner’s duty to ensure our best friends live a happy and healthy life, free of any pain or discomfort.
Desexing is a big deal for pet owners and their furry companions. While it’s a common, low-risk, routine procedure, desexing raises a common question asked by dog owners around the world: will desexing change my dog?
It’s important to understand why this question is commonly asked, and what changes you can expect (if any) in your furry loved one.
Why do we desex our dogs?
Desexing involves the removal of a dog’s reproductive system under general anaesthetic. In females, the ovaries are removed and (almost always) their uterus. In males, the testicles are removed. The procedure is relatively short, and your pup will be back to normal within a few days.
The primary reason for desexing is to prevent unwanted pregnancies (which puts a strain on shelters, and the humane care of animals when shelters are full). Desexing can also prevent types of cancer, helping to give your dog a longer, healthier life.
Dogs that aren’t desexed will respond to sexual pheromones in the local area, and may try to escape the family home to find a mate. This can cause chaos on roads and lead to unfortunate accidents. Desexing is an effective way to prevent roaming, keeping your pup safe from unnecessary harm.
Desexing can sound scary, but it is a routine procedure that veterinary staff are highly trained in performing that will promote better health for your dog for years to come.
Common changes after desexing
Recovery from a desexing procedure does not take long. But many pet owners have concerns that desexing will permanently alter their dog’s personality.
This is not true, but pet owners can reasonably expect some behavioural changes. Here’s why:
Your dog’s personality is the unique qualities and traits they have that make them unique. You can see this in the way they like certain foods, love certain toys, or prefer certain people over others.
Your dog’s behaviour is the collection of actions they take based on need, instinct, and hormones – such as pawing at their bowl when they’re hungry, growling to protect their home, or marking their territory when they see another dog.
Desexing prevents certain hormone-driven behaviour. In fact, you may have heard pet owners discuss reducing aggression or territorial behaviours in dogs through the process of desexing. This includes trying to dominate others, mounting, or even fighting with other dogs and animals. Once the procedure takes place, many pet owners report this type of behaviour is dramatically reduced (or eliminated entirely).
After the procedure takes place, your dog will still have their natural instincts. They won’t lose their capacity to guard and protect the home, if that is something you wish to encourage and train into their behaviour.
You may actually find desexing increases playfulness in your dog, improves focus during walks and training, and generally leaves them happier and calmer! Remember: desexing won’t change their personality, they will still love you just the same.
When to desex your dog
We recommend dogs be desexed between four and six months of age, to optimise their recovery time and to reduce the likelihood of them sensing and responding to sexual pheromones within the neighbourhood. But don’t worry if your pet isn’t a puppy anymore, a dog of any age can be safely desexed at any time.
Have questions about desexing your dog? Get in touch with us and we’ll chat to you about your pup’s specific needs and circumstances.