Castration of a dog is not uncommon in many countries. In Norway, surgical castration of dogs is limited by the Animal Welfare Act and is only permitted under necessary health conditions or other special reasons. We tell you everything you need to know about the procedure, advantages, disadvantages and care afterwards.

Table of contents

What is castration?

Castration is the surgical removal of reproductive organs in animals, usually in dogs and cats. The procedure varies depending on the sex of the animal and can be either castration (removal of the testicles in males) or ovariohysterectomy (removal of the ovaries and uterus in bitches). Castration has several purposes and benefits, including controlling the animal population by preventing unwanted reproduction, reducing the risk of certain health problems, and influencing behavior, including aggression and wandering in males.

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Why can neutering a dog be necessary?

Castration of dogs goes far beyond mere reproductive control; it is a crucial intervention that can improve the quality of life of our furry companions in several ways. Castration of a dog may be necessary for medical or practical reasons. 

Medically, it can be justified by prostate problems, testicular cancer, diabetes or by hypersexual behaviour. Hypersexual behavior often manifests itself through reduced appetite, restlessness and constant attempts to seek out bitches in heat.

In terms of use, castration can be relevant for dogs with specific tasks, such as guide dogs. Regardless of the reason, castration should only be carried out after consultation with a veterinarian. You can book an appointment for a consultation with A-Vet on the button below!

Chemical castration

Chemical castration in dogs has become increasingly popular as an alternative to surgical castration. Chemical castration is performed by placing a hormone implant under the dog's skin. This implant has the same hormonal effect as surgical castration, but the effect wears off after about six months. One of the biggest advantages of chemical castration is that it is reversible and it gives owners the opportunity to evaluate their dog's behavior before possibly opting for surgical castration, especially when it comes to hypersexual behavior. 

Compared to surgical castration, the chemical method is less stressful. This can reduce stress and recovery time for the dog. In addition, it can help manage certain behavioral problems, such as aggressiveness and territoriality, without removing the dog's reproductive organs.

When is castration legal?

In Norway, castration of dogs is only permitted when it is necessary for the individual's health or welfare, or for special reasons. Examples of approved health reasons include testicular cancer, uterine inflammation, and treatment of diseases such as diabetes in bitches. Cryptorchid testicles, which are more prone to cancer, can also be removed in accordance with the law.

Castration can improve the dog's welfare in cases such as imagined pregnancy in bitches or excessive sexual drive in male dogs. If unwanted behavior poses a real problem for the owner or the dog itself, and cannot be solved in any other way, there may be a "special reason" for neutering.

For special tasks, such as guide dogs, castration may be necessary for "other special reasons". However, it is important to note that castration is only effective against problematic behavior caused by sex hormones. Other causes of problematic behaviour, such as anxiety or insecurity, cannot necessarily be resolved by castration.

Treatment of problematic behavior should primarily be based on training, guided by professionals such as veterinarians or behavioral therapists. Castration should only be considered after thorough advice from professionals, and the vet can only carry out the procedure if it can be justified based on health, animal welfare or special reasons.

The procedure for castration 

Castration for males is carried out by a common procedure where the testicles are removed. This prevents the production of sperm and reduces the production of sex hormones, especially testosterone.

Ovarian hysterectomy for bitches is done by a procedure that removes both the ovaries and the uterus. It not only prevents the bitch's ability to reproduce, but also eliminates the risk of certain reproductive diseases such as endometritis and ovarian cancer.

It is important to note that neutering is an irreversible procedure and owners should carefully consider all aspects of this decision before deciding to neuter their pet. We always discuss with owners to make informed decisions based on the animal's individual needs and circumstances.

Will castration hurt the dog?

Castration or sterilization is a standard operation, where your dog will be sedated to ensure that he does not experience pain during the procedure. You have the option of choosing keyhole surgery to sterilize your bitch. This is a less stressful method that only involves the removal of the ovaries. This approach reduces both postoperative pain and recovery time.

After surgery, we will administer pain-relieving injections to ease any discomfort your dog may experience. You will also receive anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication that you can give at home as part of the aftercare.

In general, male dogs only require medication during the first day after the procedure, as the operation is usually less invasive for them. Bitches, on the other hand, will need medication for about 3 days after surgery to ensure a quick and painless recovery. By choosing keyhole surgery and following your vet's aftercare advice, you can help minimize both pain and recovery time for your dog.

Advantages of neutering a male dog

  • Prevention of tumors in the testicles and reduced prostate cancer
  • Reduced risk of tumors and hernias around the rectal opening
  • Control of aggressive impulses
  • Prevents your dog from running off in search of a mate.
  • Improvement of unwanted behavior
  • Reduced risk of breast cancer in females
  • Prevention of uterine and ovarian cancer, as well as other infections
  • Elimination of the risk of unwanted pregnancy

Risks when neutering a dog 

Behavioral changes

Many people consider neutering as an option to regulate their dog's behavior, especially if it is very aggressive or restless. Although neutering can affect hormonally controlled behaviour, it is not necessarily the case that neutered dogs automatically become calmer. On the contrary, the dog may risk becoming more aggressive, and you will be able to achieve better results by training and choosing the right breed. Alternatively, chemical castration can be considered as an alternative if the dog has major behavioral problems and the owner has tried everything else. The procedure must still be carried out in consultation with a veterinarian.

Risk of obesity

The dog's hormone production affects both appetite and combustion. When the dog is neutered, the production of the hormones that suppress hunger decreases, while the burning of energy decreases. A consequence of neutering is therefore often overweight, if the owner does not take care and adapt the dog's eating habits. At the same time, the risk of other lifestyle diseases that can accompany obesity, such as joint diseases, also increases. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to prevent obesity after castration by choosing the right type and quantity of feed, as well as ensuring sufficient exercise and activity.

Incontinence and coat quality

Although the incidence is low, there is a certain risk that the dog may develop incontinence, i.e. urinary leakage, after castration. This can occur anywhere from 10 months to several years after the procedure itself. Some dogs can also have changes in their fur, particularly medium and long-haired breeds can have changes in their undercoat.

How to care for your dog after castration 

After the dog has been neutered, post-operative care is important. Usually, the dog can go home the same day as the operation, and is given a prescription for painkillers that can be taken for the first few days. The dog should not be left alone at home immediately after the operation, as it may be a little lethargic after the anaesthetic. After castration, the dog will have a wound with stitches that can be removed after 10 - 12 days. Some wounds are closed with stitches that disappear on their own and do not need to be removed. While the wound is healing, it is important that the dog wears a collar so as not to lick or tear out the stitches, and most dogs quickly get used to the collar. During the first 14 days, it is also wise to limit activity so as not to put too much strain on the surgical wound, and all air trips should take place on a leash.

Castration of dog price 

For those who want information about neutering a dog or prices, you can easily contact us for a price estimate and further information. Consider carefully before making the decision, and be sure to take your dog's individual needs and health into account.