Neutering male dogs: Debate or debacle?

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A neutered male dog waits for his owner.
Does it seem like spaying and neutering dogs and cats is a more “heated” debate when it comes to male dogs?

Ask the owner of an unaltered male dog why the dog is not neutered, and chances are you will hear a response that is more reflective of the owner’s feelings on macho pride than the dog’s health or well-being.

Every day in the United States, nearly 20,000 animals are euthanized in our shelters due to a lack of homes. Northeast Arkansas for Animals makes a good point on their web site: “At least 50% of the overpopulation problem is non-neutered males. Females can’t do it alone.”

Many people worry that neutering male dogs is a painful process or claim it makes the dog “less manly.” The truth of the matter is that unaltered male dogs tend to be more aggressive, more likely to run away from home, and more likely to develop life threatening diseases. It is estimated that over 60% of male dogs that are left intact develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives; a condition that is life-threatening and costly to treat, especially for those without dog insurance. Spaying and neutering dogs not only improves the quality of your best friend’s life, but can also add years to a dog’s life span.

Neutering dogs requires a simple surgery (much simpler than spaying a female) that heals quickly. Most dogs will only be in mild discomfort for a day or two following the surgery, and many owners report no difference in their dog’s energy levels post-surgery. In fact, my own male puppies were just as playful only hours after being neutered as they were prior.

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In an effort to help prevent the costly medical problems that can arise with intact dogs, many pet health insurance plans include the cost of spaying and neutering in the policy price. Most consider the surgery a necessary part of a puppy health care plan. For more information about pet insurance visit

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