When Should a Service Dog be Spayed or Neutered?
Every reputable Service Dog organization and program worldwide recommends or requires alteration of working Service Dogs and Service Dogs in Training. With all the conflicting reports, myths, and misconceptions surrounding spaying and neutering, though, many find it difficult to know when the ideal time is to spay or neuter a growing dog. Read on for a scientific overview! Veterinarians across the world perform thousands of routine alteration surgeries a day. In the United States, spaying and neutering has become commonplace. Spaying or neutering a dog is supposed to provide behavior and health benefits, while also preventing contributing to the overpopulation of shelters and rescues. However, this routine surgery has come under intense scrutiny, especially when performed on very young dogs. Working Service Dogs are typically altered to provide easier care for the handler. Neutered male dogs often showcase fewer temperament issues. Spayed female dogs don't require intense supervision twice a year and special hygiene practices. Additionally, working Service Dogs shouldn't be benched to have puppies, as their handlers need them. Male Service Dogs shouldn't have to face the distraction of females in heat or the urge to breed. Assistance Dog programs utilizing in-house breeding programs usually have breeding stock with the proper aptitude and temperament for producing excellent Service Dog candidates. However, these dogs very, very, very rarely work as Service Dogs. Instead, they usually live on site at the program facility or in off-site guardian homes. Occasionally, a program or breeder may take a semen collection from an exceptional male prior to neutering him. Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Spaying and neutering provide multiple health and behavior benefits. Most notably, surgical alteration reduces the chances of various types of cancers found only in intact dogs and bitches. Alteration also helps prevent reproduction-related behaviors many people find offensive, like marking, humping, or flagging. Many veterinarians believe spaying or neutering at the right time plays a part in reducing aggression or territorial behavior. Finally, multiple studies demonstrate that spaying and neutering often prolong lifespan. In females, spaying before the first heat cycle results in drastically reduced chances of breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs frequently in intact bitches, with over 50% of cases malignant. Altering a female during adolescence reduces the chances of mammory tumors to .5%, whereas spaying after the first or second heat cycle results in an 8% and 26% chance. For males, neutering eliminates testicular cancers and age-related prostate problems. By 6 years of age, 70 to 80% of