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Neutering dogs

Neutering is an operation performed whilst the animal is under general anaesthetic which will surgically prevent reproduction. Neutering a male dog (castration) involves removing his testes and neutering a female (spaying) involves removing her uterus and ovaries. Many people worry that neutering their pet is not ‘natural’ however we have domesticated our pets and that isn’t ‘natural’ either.

Why neuter?

There are many reasons why neutering is important and the benefits are not only for the dog but also for you.. 

Unwanted puppies are a very big problem nationally

Dog rehomingEach year thousands of puppies will find themselves abandoned;  often the result of  unplanned or poorly considered breeding. Whilst some puppies may be easy to find homes for initially, many will find themselves unwanted once the novelty wears off or they get a little bigger. It is no longer a surprise to see dogs having two or more homes before ending up at rescue centre and, on a daily basis, tens of thousands of unwanted adult dogs and puppies are being sold indescriminately on internet sites. Wood Green alone found homes for almost 200 puppies last year including 13 litters. Dogs can have up to 10 puppies in one litter so that is a lot to find secure loving homes for. An un-neutered female dog can get pregnant again as soon as she comes back into heat which is approximately every six months.

It is important to remember that dogs do not recognise family relationships and brothers/sisters/mothers/fathers will mate with each other. If you have an entire male and female living together no matter how well they are separated, it will only take a split second for the dogs to mount should an accidental meeting occur. Also consider the mental health of your male dog, even if separated he will be able to smell the bitch in heat and this will cause he a lot of frustration, anxiety and upset for up to three weeks which could in turn lead into frustration related behaviours and illnesses.  

Also consider the financial implications involved in having a litter- specific health tests are required for many dog breeds and birth complications require very expensive veterinary treatment. It is important to remember that dogs do not regonise family relations and will mate with their mother, daughter or sister and inbred litters can have higher risk of health issues.

Temperament & behaviour

Although neutering will not fix all problem behaviours, it can help with roaming, mounting of humans and other dogs, urine marking in the house and some forms of aggression. Roaming can be a big problem in male dogs. They can smell a bitch in heat from approximately a mile away and, not matter how usually well trained they are, when the hormones take over they are less likely to listen to you. Roaming not only causes an issue to the owner and dog but also poses a threat to other people as it is not uncommon for road traffic accidents to occur. If you have an unneutered male it is a good idea to make sure that they are microchipped should roaming occur.


There are several illnesses which are more commonly found in un-neutered dogs, womb infections and mammary cancer in females and testicular and prostate cancer in males – these are often fatal. Also pregnancy and giving birth themselves are not without risks for female dogs. The risk of these health problems significantly increases as dogs get older. If spotted in time, a surgical operation will be required and, again, the risks of being under anaesthetic do increase as the dog gets older. In a female an infection of the womb is called a pyometra; this will cause the dog to become very sick and is fatal if left. It will require an emergency operation to remove the infected womb which is also very costly.


Dogs should experience motherhood before being spayed: There is no evidence that it is healthier for a pet to have a litter before being spayed. Animals do not experience the same feelings about motherhood as human’s do and the first litter for a bitch is often the most difficult and high risk.

I would not like my testicles removed: Dogs do not consider their body image as we do and will not be affected by the appearance of having them removed. They also do not have an outlet for their sexual urges and can become frustrated often making neutering the kinder option.

Wanting a “copy” of an existing pet: There is no guarantee that your pet’s offspring will look or behave like your existing pet. Even if you keep one of the litter you will have many other puppies to rehome. There are always risks that breeding may permanently affect pets’ behaviour and health.

Wood Green's Policy

The age that a dog can be neutered will vary between breeds but it is a good idea to let your dog hit puberty first.

Wood Green neuter all dogs from the age of six months and all bitches after their first season. Contact us for further details of our Neutering Policy.

Costs and help available

  • It can cost anywhere between £100 and £300 to neuter a dog, without accounting for any added complications.
  • Help with neutering costs may be available for certain people on low incomes from Wood Green, Cats Protection, RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross.