Editor’s note: This article has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM. Dr. Ochoa is a graduate of St. George’s University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.
As a new Scottish Terrier owner, one of the first major decisions you are going to have to make is whether or not to have your Scottie neutered.
If you adopted your dog from an animal shelter or dog rescue, you may be required to have him neutered as a condition of the adoption.
But if you have the choice to neuter or not, what is the right thing to do? Should you neuter your Scottish Terrier?
In my opinion and the opinion of most veterinarians, yes, you should neuter your Scottish Terrier unless you plan to stud them. Neutering offers numerous benefits, such as reducing aggressive behavior, preventing unwanted puppies, and decreasing the risk of certain health issues like testicular cancer and prostate disease.
Personally having had a dog go into surgery on 3 different occasions, I understand that sending your dog for surgery under anesthesia can be scary. In this post, I’m going to break down the benefits of neutering your Scottish Terrier, the cost (along with low-cost options), post-surgery recovery, as well as covering some myths that surround neutering to hopefully alleviate some of your concerns.
Benefits of Neutering Your Scottish Terrier
Reduces Spraying and Marking
Neutering your Scottish Terrier can significantly reduce or even eliminate the risk of spraying and marking behaviors. These behaviors are often driven by hormones, particularly testosterone.
By neutering your Scottie, you remove the main source of testosterone production, which in turn reduces their urge to mark their territory with urine.
Decreases Desire to Roam
Neutered Scottish Terriers are less likely to roam in search of a mate because their hormonal drive to reproduce is significantly diminished. When a dog is not neutered, its natural instincts can lead it to run away in search of a mate.
This can result in potentially dangerous situations such as getting lost, injured, or engaging in fights with other dogs. By neutering your Scottie, you can help keep them safe and close to home, as their desire to roam will be greatly reduced.
Eliminates Risk of Testicular Cancer: One of the most notable health benefits of neutering your Scottish Terrier is the elimination of the risk of testicular cancer. It is estimated that up to 27% of unneutered male dogs will eventually develop one or more testicular tumors.
Since the testicles are removed during the neutering procedure, your Scottie will no longer be susceptible to this type of cancer.
Decreases Incidence of Prostate Disease: Neutering your Scottish Terrier also decreases the incidence of prostate disease. An intact male dog’s prostate is more prone to infections, enlargement, and other complications as they age.
Behavioral Benefits: Reduced Aggressive Behavior
Unaltered male dogs are involved in 75% of reported dog bite incidents. Neutering your Scottish Terrier can lead to a reduction in aggressive behavior, as it helps to moderate the influence of testosterone on your dog’s temperament.
Testosterone can contribute to increased aggression, particularly towards other male dogs, making your Scottie more difficult to manage in social situations. By neutering your pet, you may notice a decrease in such behaviors, making them more relaxed and easier to handle in various settings.
Prevents Unwanted Puppies
Neutering your Scottish Terrier plays a crucial role in preventing unwanted puppies and avoiding unplanned litters. Even if you don’t plan on your dog being in a situation where he could get another dog pregnant, as a long time dog owner I can tell you that things happen.
Low Cost Options for Neutering Your Scottie
The cost of neutering your Scottish Terrier can vary depending on factors such as your location, the specific veterinarian you choose, and any additional services that may be required. Generally, the cost range for neutering a dog falls between $50 and $500.
There are also low-cost or even free veterinary neutering clinics available that can help make this essential procedure more affordable for pet owners. Some options to consider include:
- Local animal shelters: Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay and neuter services to the community, in an effort to promote responsible pet ownership and reduce pet overpopulation.
- Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP is a nationwide program that provides financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford the full cost of spaying or neutering their pets.
- Spay USA: This organization offers a referral service that connects pet owners with affordable spay and neuter services in their local area.
- ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also offers resources and assistance for low-cost spay and neuter services, depending on your location.
By exploring these options, you can ensure that you are taking the best possible care of your Scottish Terrier without breaking the bank.
What Age Should I Neuter My Scottish Terrier?
Determining the appropriate age to neuter your Scottish Terrier depends on several factors, including their overall health and development. Generally, it is recommended that male dogs be neutered between 6 and 9 months of age.
However, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian, as they can provide personalized advice based on your Scottie’s specific needs and growth.
In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend waiting until your Scottish Terrier is fully grown before neutering, particularly if there are concerns about their bone or joint development.
On the other hand, neutering at a younger age can help prevent certain undesirable behaviors from becoming ingrained, making it easier to manage your pet as they grow older.
Ultimately, the decision of when to neuter your Scottish Terrier should be made in collaboration with your veterinarian, who can assess your dog’s individual circumstances and guide you in making the best choice for their long-term health and well-being.
Post-Surgery Recovery Timeline
The recovery process and timeline after neutering your Scottish Terrier can vary, but generally, most dogs start to bounce back within a few days and fully recover within two weeks. Here’s an overview of what to expect during the post-surgery recovery period:
- Day of surgery: On the day of the surgery, your Scottie may be groggy and disoriented due to the anesthesia. Make sure to provide a quiet, comfortable space for them to rest and recover.
- First 24-48 hours: Keep a close eye on your dog during the first couple of days, as they may still be feeling the effects of anesthesia. Encourage them to rest and avoid strenuous activities. Monitor the surgery site for any signs of infection or complications, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.
- First week: During the first week, continue to restrict your Scottish Terrier’s activities to short, gentle walks and avoid any rough play or jumping. Check the surgery site daily to ensure proper healing. It’s crucial to prevent your dog from licking or chewing at the incision, as this can lead to infection or delayed healing. An Elizabethan collar (also known as an “E-collar” or “cone”) may be necessary to prevent them from accessing the wound.
- Second week: By the second week, your Scottie should be feeling more like themselves, and the incision should be healing well. Gradually reintroduce more regular activities, but continue to monitor the surgery site to ensure complete healing.
- Two weeks post-surgery: At this point, most dogs are fully recovered and can resume their normal activities. However, it’s always a good idea to have a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian to confirm that your Scottish Terrier has healed properly and to address any lingering concerns.
Throughout the recovery process, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s specific instructions and guidelines to ensure a smooth and successful healing process for your Scottish Terrier.
Does Neutering Cause Scotties to Gain Weight?
It is possible for neutered Scottish Terriers to experience some weight gain due to a slowed metabolism. When a dog is neutered, their hormonal balance is altered, which can affect how efficiently their body converts calories into energy. This slower metabolism can make them more prone to weight gain if their diet and exercise routine are not adjusted accordingly.
To prevent weight gain in your neutered Scottish Terrier, it’s important to establish and maintain a proper diet and exercise regimen. Here are some suggestions to help you keep your Scottie fit and healthy:
- Monitor calorie intake: Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate daily caloric intake for your dog, taking into consideration factors such as their age, weight, and activity level. Be sure to measure out their food portions accurately and avoid overfeeding.
- Choose a high-quality diet: Feed your Scottish Terrier a balanced, high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. Your veterinarian can recommend a suitable food based on your dog’s specific requirements.
- Limit treats: While it’s tempting to spoil your Scottie with treats, they can quickly add up in terms of calories. Opt for low-calorie treats or use fresh vegetables like baby carrots or green beans as healthier alternatives.
- Maintain regular exercise: Ensure that your Scottish Terrier gets consistent, age-appropriate exercise to help maintain their weight and overall health. This can include daily walks, play sessions, or participation in dog sports like agility or obedience training.
By closely monitoring your neutered Scottish Terrier’s diet and exercise routine, you can help prevent weight gain and promote a healthy, happy life for your furry companion.
Myths About Neutering
There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding the neutering of dogs, which can sometimes cause confusion or hesitation among pet owners. Let’s address and debunk some of these common myths:
Myth 1: Neutering Alters Personality
Many people believe that neutering will dramatically change their dog’s personality, but this is not true. While neutering can have some positive behavioral effects, such as reduced aggression and a decreased likelihood of roaming, it does not change your dog’s core personality traits.
Your Scottish Terrier will still be the same loving, playful companion they were before the procedure.
Myth 2: Neutering Causes Laziness and Inactivity
The misconception that neutering leads to laziness and inactivity in dogs is unfounded. While neutered dogs may experience some changes in their metabolism, this does not automatically result in a significant decrease in energy levels.
Your dog’s activity level is primarily influenced by factors such as age, breed, overall health, lifestyle, and individual personality. Ensuring a proper diet and exercise routine can help maintain their energy levels after neutering.
Myth 3: Neutering Is a Risky and Painful Surgery
Neutering is a routine procedure performed by trained veterinarians, and it is considered safe and relatively low-risk. While any surgical procedure carries some degree of risk, the fatality rate for dogs undergoing neutering is 14 times lower than the overall rate for sedation procedures.
Additionally, pain management techniques are used during and after the surgery to minimize discomfort for your pet. In most cases, dogs recover quickly and experience few, if any, complications.
Conclusion: Neutering Your Scottish Terrier Offers Numerous Benefits
Neutering your Scottish Terrier offers numerous benefits for both your pet and the wider community. These advantages include:
- Reducing or eliminating spraying and marking
- Decreasing the desire to roam in search of a mate
- Lowering the risk of testicular cancer and prostate disease
- Improving behavioral issues, such as aggression and male-to-male intolerance
- Preventing unwanted puppies and contributing to responsible pet population control
By choosing to neuter your Scottish Terrier, you are not only promoting their long-term health and well-being but also taking an important step towards responsible pet ownership.
I hope this post has been informative, but if you still have concerns, please don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian.
Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck with your new Scottie!