Neutering an older dog – Side effects

Many people choose to neuter their older dogs for a variety of reasons. Most of these people can also agree that neutering a dog provides a variety of benefits to the dog’s life but there are some downsides to getting your dog neutered as well.

For example, there is always a chance of your dog developing some issues with bladder control. This is commonly referred to as hormone-responsive urinary incontinence and, as the name would suggest, it is often caused by the change in hormones after neutering. It can last for up to a year after the neuter, meaning that you should be well prepared to take care of your dog if this happens.

Neutering an older dog, what are the side effects? Because urinary incontinence is relatively common in dogs, there are many, many solutions available for you to choose from. Whether you want to consider giving your dog medication or you want to make sure that you have supplies on hand to prevent and minimize accidents, you will surely find a solution that fits both you and your dog. Many people aren’t always comfortable giving their dogs medicine, which makes other incontinence solutions even more popular.

Neutering an older dog - Side effects

What Solutions Are There?

Generally, hormone-responsive incontinence will happen most when the dog is lying down. This happens for a few reasons but one of the biggest reasons is the fact that there is more pressure on the bladder. The increased pressure on the bladder and the change in hormones combined can end up causing bladder leaks in your dog. This means that your dog’s bedding will become soiled far more often. Because of this, you should consider getting a dog incontinence blanket.

These blankets are usually designed to be absorbent, breathable, and washable to ensure that when your dog leaks, it will not be disturbed by the wet spot. When the dog gets up, you will be able to easily wash the blanket before your dog goes back to sleep.

If your dog has a more severe case of hormone-responsive incontinence that causes your dog to leak urine at any given time, you might want to consider getting something that will keep your dog from having accidents in the house. Just as human babies wear nappies until they are potty-trained, a nappy can help your dog with its incontinence issues.

Not only will the nappy prevent accidents in the house but dog nappies are designed to be absorbent, meaning that your dog’s skin and fur won’t be as affected by the leakage. A dog nappy can keep your dog happy and relatively healthy until the hormone-responsive urinary incontinence is relieved.

Why Should You Consider a Solution?

Aside from the fact that cleaning up after an incontinent dog’s accidents is no fun for anyone, a dog that has incontinence issues is generally not too happy. Having to sleep in a bed that has urine stains is uncomfortable. Having fur stained with urine and stool is not only uncomfortable for the dog but it can also cause some skin problems as well. Nobody wants this to happen as it will cost even more time and money to treat. Choosing to minimize your dog’s accidents is the best thing that you can do for your dog if it loses control of its bladder due to neutering.

Negative Effects of Neutering

In the past, surgical complications were considered the only risks of neutering. But recent research has identified a growing number of potential long-term health risks associated with the surgery. In studies, neutered dogs had a higher incidence of hypothyroidism, obesity, orthopaedic disorders, cognitive impairment, vaccine reactions and various cancers than did intact dogs. In some cases, other factors also come into play, such as breed or age at the time of the surgery.

Behavioural Effects

Because neutering eliminates circulating testosterone in a dog’s system, sex-related behaviours such as marking or roaming are reduced in many neutered dogs. Although neutering often is suggested to reduce aggression, especially toward other dogs, the science is mixed. Some research shows a decrease in aggression, other studies show an increase or no effect. Other unwanted behaviours, such as barking, begging or stealing food, are actually increased in neutered dogs.

Weight gain Effects

Studies have shown that neutered animals probably require around 25% fewer calories to maintain a healthy bodyweight than entire male animals of the same weight do. This is because a neutered animal has a lower metabolic rate than an entire animal. Because of this, what tends to happen is that most owners, unaware of this fact, continue to feed their neutered male dogs the same amount of food after the surgery that they did prior to the surgery, with the result that their dogs become fat.

Neutering didn’t lead to problematic  behavioural change

A lot of owners only get their animals neutered as a means of trying to correct already established male behaviours that are annoying or unsafe to the owner or pet (e.g. roaming, humping legs and toys, aggression, dominance, marking territory and so on). Such owners often become very disappointed when the neutering surgery fails to correct these behavioural “defects” in their animal.