Neutering in Male Dogs and Cats

Male Dogs

Neutering is highly recommended for the following benefits.

Behavioral Benefits:

  • Undesirable Sexual Behavior: Attraction to female dogs, roaming, mounting, and masturbation can often be reduced or eliminated by castration.
  • Urine Marking: Most male dogs lift one leg to urinate. Instead of completely voiding the bladder they tend to deposit on several vertical objects that they pass (sometimes indoors as well). Neutering can reduce the desire to mark considerable (especially indoors).
  • Aggression: Every aggressive dog should be neutered! This can reduce or eliminate some forms of aggression to other dogs and humans. At the very least, it will prevent reproduction and passing on of any genetic traits for aggression.

Medical Benefits:

  • Neutering eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and greatly reduces the chance of prostate disease, two extremely common and serious problems of older male dogs. Many older dogs that are not neutered will develop prostate disease or testicular tumors if they survive to an old enough age.

When to do it:

  • Studies show that neutering at an early age is safe and the best for preventing undesirable behavioral traits (as outlined above). 6-9 months or earlier is fast becoming the average time for neutering. Surgery at this age is shorter, recovery time is quicker, and there is less post-operative discomfort. However, age can vary depending on the type of dog or its particular health. Please consult your veterinary for the most optimal time for this procedure.


Male Cats

Behavioral Benefits:

  • Spraying: The most common behavior problem in cats of all ages is indoor elimination at locations other than the litter box. A large number of these cases are cats that spray or mark walls and other vertical household objects. Adult male cats have an extremely strong urge to mark territory, both indoors and out. Neutering reduces or eliminates spraying in approximately 85% of male cats.
  • Aggression: Cats, whether neutered or intact, can get into fights but most intercat aggression is seen between intact males. This is a direct result of competition between male cats, and because intact male cats roam and protect a much larger territory. If these fights lead to punctures or wounds that penetrate the skin, abscesses are a common sequel. Neutering reduces fighting and abscess development in male cats.
  • Roaming and Sexual Attraction: Intact males have much larger territories and wander over greater distances than females and neutered males. The urge to roam may be particularly strong during mating season. Neutering reduces roaming in approximately 90% of cases.

Physical Changes:

  • Male urine odor is particularly strong and pungent. Neutering leads to a change to a more normal urine odor. Many owners claim that their intact males become much cleaner, less odorous, and better self-groomers after neutering. Abscess formation as a result of fighting is far less frequent and some of the secondary sexual characteristics such as the over productive tail glands in the condition known as “stud tail” can be dramatically improved.

When to do it:

  • We recommend neutering your cat before the onset of puberty, which occurs typically around 6-10 months. Therefore, we encourage the surgical procedure at an even earlier age of 4-6 months. Please consult with your veterinary for further details regarding the specific recommendations.