The family jewels

Nuts, jewels, balls or testes, no matter what you want to call them we really don't see them around these days. It is customary in North America to have our dogs neutered; it cuts down on unwanted pregnancies and disease. Since neutering has become a more popular decision and shelters have implemented their spay/neuter policy; there has been a significant decrease in unwanted dogs. But like anything in society; it is not done across the board and the biggest problem regarding unwanted dogs are the puppy millers.

Show dogs; dogs that are shown in the conformation ring cannot be spayed or neutered. They must remain intact; unless they are in the veterans class. After all what is the point of showing and obtaining a championship title if you are not going to pass on those genes? So at dog shows you will see lots of balls; also in performance areas.  Dogs that excel in work or sport are often kept intact so that they too can pass on their wonderful talent genes.

On a walk the other day a family walked by with a pitbull; it seemed to be having some issues with regards to my dogs so I watched. As I turned around to see that they were on their way I noticed balls; what? I found this strange and wondered why this dog was intact. It did not look like a show dog; so why would this dog be intact? After discussing this topic with many families; not everyone is okay with neutering. When it comes to neutering a male, many men take issue. One client of mine that I spoke to about neutering did not want it done.  But once I informed him of the implants available he was very interested in the fact that he could purchase falsies for his boy. That's correct, they make fake ones.

This is one company that produces the artificial testicles called Neuticles. Yep; Fido goes in for surgery and comes out still intact but falsely. Will fake testes convince more people to neuter; I think so. And that is a good thing. Neutering a dog not only stops unwanted pregnancies and testicular disease but can help in some behavior issues as well. It is not a cure for aggression or dominance but can definitely help.

Neutering only lowers testosterone levels in a dog; it does not get rid of it. And although it may assist in lowering marking tendencies it will not cure other behavior problems. Behavior issues are always best dealt with modification procedures. Many consider neutering when their male starts to mature. They start to display male qualities that are not always desirable; and the owners thinking that neutering will stop all this take them in for surgery. Often they are dismayed by the end result as it seems to have made no change. Behavior problems need addressing and working with a dog will fix problems.

As with all surgeries there is risk. The older a dog is the higher the risk of being under anesthetic. There is also risk that the dogs body will not accept sutures; which is what happened to my girl Tilley. This can be a long and drawn out problem that may or may not require another surgery. This article explains some of the downfalls of spaying and neutering. Early spay/neutering considerations for the canine athlete.

It seems to be an issue with the boys. I remember as a teenager hearing my guy friends razz their buddies that their now neutered dog was an "it." This never seemed to happen to the females who got spayed. Neutering a dog in no way creates a less masculine dog; it may take a bit of wind out of an overly inflated sails but it's not going to make your dog a sissy.

Like I always recommend; do your research before you take the plunge.  Read everything you can on the subject and be informed.