Neutering a German shepherd is one crucial topic that every German shepherd owner can’t skip. Such procedure done to remove the testicles of male German shepherds is much vital for the health of the dog and still helps control dogs population-unless otherwise, these dogs may end up in the animal shelters.
Lack of neutering or spaying German shepherds has seen a rise of unwanted puppies who end up becoming euthanized as most animal shelters become overwhelmed.
As you can see, this is one of the topics of great importance. So, what’s the best age to neuter a German shepherd? And is it wrong when it’s done early?
Keep reading to learn the appropriate time to fix your German shepherd.
What Is Neutering a German shepherd?
Neutering is a term that describes the surgical removal of the gonads or testicles of the male German shepherd.
Such a procedure needs to be done by a qualified person. First, the vet has to put the male GSD under general anesthesia and spot the location of the testicles in the dog’s scrotum. Next, the vet makes an incision in front of where the testicles are located.
The incision will be made large enough to allow the passage of these gonads. Next, the inguinal canal, blood supply, epididymis are tied to prevent excess bleeding, and then the testicles are chopped off.
Such dogs will need a few weeks of inactivity to allow the healing process to occur.
What Is the Best Age to Neuter a German shepherd?
The best age to neuter a male German shepherd is when they are done with their growing phase. Such phase in big dogs like the German shepherds occurs between 18-24 months. There are various health issues associated with neutering a German shepherd before this age.
According to a study done and published in 2016 in the journal veterinary medicine science, German shepherds neutered before the age of 1 year were reported to have high CCL injury or rapture incidences compared to dogs fixed past this age.
This retrospective study was done to evaluate the long-term effects of spaying and neutering a German shepherd.
What are the other risks involved with neutering a German shepherd before this age
Risks of Neutering a German shepherd Before One Year
Growth Plate Deformity
Testosterone controls the closure of the growth plates. And neutered dogs have lower testosterone levels.
With less testosterone and still in the growth phase, the growth plates don’t close in time, leading to in-proportioned-sized dogs having badly formed body skeletons.
The Dog May Become Lame
Your dog’s paws are mandated to carry the burden of your dog’s weight. However, with the increase in growth, these paws may be overpowered by your dog’s weight, and they may give in, leading to lameness.
With your dog growing in-proportionally and weight adding up, the joints are always on the receiving end. In addition, with the joints being stressed by the dog’s weight, they may become inflamed, leading to osteoarthritis.
What Are the Benefits of Neutering a German shepherd?
When male German shepherds are on heat, they will display lots of behaviors. For example, with high testosterone levels, male German shepherds will hump inanimate objects, mount you or even turn aggressive to other people and dogs.
However, neutering can put all that to a stop. With reduced testosterone levels, your male German shepherd will not display any negative behaviors.
No Inherited Disorders
Males with health issues like dwarfism, cryptorchidism, and hip and elbow dysplasia can transfer their defective genes if they are not neutered.
However, all this can be controlled by surgically removing the gonads, thus removing these risks.
Dogs with high levels of testosterone are at great risk of contracting testicular cancer. However, when there are neutered, there are reduced levels of testosterone in the body. Thus neutering your male German shepherd reduces the chance of your dog having this type of cancer.
Decreased Dog Population
According to aspca.org (*), 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year. This number contains 670000 dogs, and unfortunately, German shepherds make a massive number of these dogs.
Often such happens when the pet parents don’t control how their dogs breed. And one of the ways as a German shepherd dog parent you can help reduce the number of GSDs that have to be euthanized is by neutering your dog.
With that, you will have a hand in controlling dog overpopulation and still reduce the number of dogs that have to be put down.
Not unless you are a breeder, you are always advised to control the movements of your male German shepherd, or if impossible, you can neuter your German shepherd.
Such measures will help stop unwanted pregnancies that may occur. If you neuter your male dog, you will have a peaceful mind, not worried that your dog may mate with other females.
Intact dogs are more prone to perineal hernia than neutered dogs. Often this condition is painful and occurs when internal body organs herniate through the weak pelvic muscles.
Such a condition can be controlled by surgical procedure, but it can be prevented by neutering your German shepherd.
Prostate cancer is a condition prevalent for dogs with high levels of testosterone. However, dogs that get neutered have less testosterone levels, thus at less risk of contracting prostate cancer.
When the dog’s testosterone levels are high, it will probably wander off as it tries catching the scent of females on heat. Such escapades can put your dog at risk of getting attacked by other dogs, people, or even being knocked down by vehicles. But with low levels of testosterone, your dog will have a reduced sex drive, thus at no risk of getting injuries.
Are There Any Exceptional?
- Showline GSDs-Showline German shepherds don’t need to undergo neutering. The reason being, their ability to breed is one conformity that has to be examined by judges.
- Competition GSDs- German shepherds undertaking herding trials, obedience competitions can undergo this procedure as their breeding potential is not one of the conformity that judges use.
- Working dogs-Police and military dogs can be neutered or not. It all depends on whether the testosterone levels are affecting the dog’s working ability.
- Companion to German shepherds- if you want your German shepherd to be more of a companion dog, it’s crucial you consider neutering it. The reason being, you don’t want any unwanted pregnancies, not unless you are a dog breeder.
Are There Other Alternatives Other Than Neutering?
If you are not comfortable with surgically removing the testicle of your dog, you can consider other alternatives like a vasectomy. Often this condition involves cutting and sealing the vas deferens. Such dogs will still produce testosterone like other fixed dogs. However, the difference comes in that these dogs can’t sire.
When Will My German shepherd Calm Down?
Some people have this perception that neutering will help calm their dogs entirely and instantly.
Some dogs may calm down after 4-8 weeks after this procedure, whereas it may take longer for other GSDs. However, if you had a poorly socialized dog or trained, don’t expect sudden behavioral change. Such dogs can even take years before you notice any significant behavior change.
What Are the Disadvantages of Neutering a German shepherd
- An effect in reproduction
Neutered dogs cannot sire any more
- Bone disorder
Dogs neutered before the age of 1 year may get joint disorders
- Tend to be aggressive
According to a study done by the University of the Pennsylvania School of veterinary medicine-neutered dogs are more aggressive towards people and other dogs than intact dogs (*). This is against a belief that most people believe that fixed dog breeds are calmer than intact dogs.
Is Neutering Painful For German Shepherds
No, neutering is not a painful procedure if done by qualified personnel. Often the dog has to be under general anesthesia. The dog will not feel any pain during this whole procedure and for the next 12-24 hrs.
After the vet is done with this procedure, the dog will get some antibiotics to prevent any infections and some pain relievers.
How Much Does It Cost to Neuter a German shepherd?
It’s not expensive to neuter a German shepherd. The price can range from 30 to 300 dollars for this neutering procedure.
However, some factors can affect the price of this whole procedure, for example, the locality, age of the dog, the complexity of the procedure, or any underlying condition.
Can A Neutered Dog Be Reversed?
After your dog has been neutered, it cannot be reversed. For that reason, when making such an important decision for your dog, you should do it after consulting with your veterinary and when you have completely made up your mind. This is a decision that you should not rush to make.
Final Thoughts on the Best Age to Neuter a German shepherd
It would be best if you neutered your German shepherd when it’s done with the growth phase from 18 to 24 months. It’s at this age all the growth is coming to a halt. If done early, you risk predisposing your dog to a host of health issues. Again, when choosing whether to neuter your German shepherd, consider discussing it with the veterinarian.
*CCL- Cranial Cruciate Ligament