Canine Neuter FAQ

Canine Neuter Surgery FAQ

Canine neuter surgery provides several health benefits for dogs. Before you make the decision to proceed with the dog neuter procedure familiarize yourself the dog neutering procedure.

You will probably want to ask how do vets neuter male dogs and should ask about any canine neuter procedure questions you might have? Most  owners usually have questions about dog neuter surgery side effects, the risk of dog neutering complications and male dog desexing aftercare instructions.

Why do People Neuter Dogs?

Dogs who are not neutered i.e. still entire are vulnerable to many health issues. One of the major worries is about the prostate gland. Testosterone can gradually cause the gland to grow bigger during the dog’s lifetime.

As the dog ages, it often becomes uncomfortable and if it grows so big, it may affect your pet’s ability to defecate. Infections can be caused when the prostate’s affected and neutering is the only way to solve this problem.

If your dog is neutered, his prostate may shrink a lot. It also prevents prostatitis and benign hyperplasia (an enlargement), both issues that occur as a dog gets older. There’s also a widely-held belief that if you neuter your dog, it will prevent the onset of prostate cancer. However, this is just a myth.

There are other benefits of having your dog neutered and they include: tumours in the anus and testicles, prevention of some forms of hernias and excessive preputial discharge.

Does Neutering Change Behaviour?

The only behavioural changes that may happen are those that are affected by changes in hormones. Your dog’s friendliness, playful nature and his social interactions with other people won’t be affected. The behaviours that generally change are the negative ones.

90% of neutered dogs lose their interest in roaming. 70% of neutered dogs will lose their desire to mount other dogs. 60% of dogs who are neutered lose their aggressive behaviour towards other male dogs. 50% of those dogs who are neutered stop urine marking.

Canine Neuter FAQ
Canine Neuter FAQ

How Do They Neuter a Male Dog?

Canine neuter surgical procedure involves the Vet cutting an incision a little forward of the scrotum. This incision is where the vet pulls the testicles through. Stalks are cut and tied and so castration is now done.

Do They Remove Testicles When Neutering a Dog?

If his testicles aren’t removed, the above-mentioned benefits won’t be realised. The vet may or may not use stitches for the incision.

Canine Neuter Discharge Instructions

Canine neuter discharge instructions will be provided by your Vet. Male dog neutering aftercare instructions will probably include the instructions for a light tasty evening meal for your dog, a warm soft bed inside, limit activity and the requirement for your dog to wear a cone to prevent damage to the incision.

Male dog desexing aftercare can occasionally include giving painkillers to your dog, which will need to be given for the first few days as per your Vet’s instructions.

Dog neutering complications and dog neuter surgery side effects are rare if the dog’s owner follows the vet’s instructions post surgery correctly.

What to Expect after the Dog is Brought Home from the Vet Hospital?

Male dog neutering recovery in younger male dogs is often very rapid. Owners should expect a male neutered dog’s scrotum to be swollen for the initial few days following the dog neuter procedure.  Some owners may think the procedure wasn’t done at all. If it’s an immature dog, his empty scrotum will flatten as he ages.

If he is as mature dog, it will stay as a skin flap. Occasionally the incision is slightly bruised.

Most dogs want to play as soon as they get home but, to ensure the incision stays intact, you need to stop him from playing boisterously.

Best Age to Neuter a Dog?

Provided that both testicles have dropped, age for dog neutering is after the age of eight weeks. If a dog is neutered before he hits puberty (around the six month mark) often grow larger than dogs who have it done after puberty.

Testosterone causes bones to stop growing so if the dog doesn’t have testosterone, the point at which the growth is stopped occurs later in his life.

The same health benefits and behaviour of the prostate can happen regardless of your dog’s age. This means no dog is “too old” to gain the benefits. Most vets say the ideal age for dog neutering is six months old.

 Side Effects of Neutering a Male Dog

Will the dog become lethargic or obese?

Your dog’s appetite and level of activity won’t change after the procedure. Nor should he gain weight.

Will he still like females?

His interest will drop but he’ll be aroused if he’s near a female dog in heat. Mounting is sometimes a sign of dominance and a male that has been neutered may mount for many reasons, not all motivated by sex.

Can male dogs still mate after being neutered?

Male dogs who are neutered as adults may retain the ability to mate with a bitch in season. There is no chance of puppies resulting from such a mating.

Canine Neuter FAQ
Canine Neuter FAQ

What if his Testicles Haven’t Dropped?

Tumours are more common in dogs with undescended testicles. They might get twisted on the stalks and cause potentially life-threatening inflammation. Neutering is strongly recommended for dogs if their testicles haven’t dropped.

However, the procedure is more complicated. The testicle might be under the skin along the path it would have taken to descend to his scrotum or it might be in his abdomen. The vet may need to do some exploring to locate it, so he may have two incisions.

The other testicle will be under-developed and sterile. If one has descended, it will be fertile. However, because retaining a testicle is genetic, it’s usually fertile and the dog shouldn’t be bred until after he has been neutered.

Are you Legally Required to Neuter your Dog?

Check with your local government office or council as some places do make it illegal not to neuter a dog because they’re trying to control the population of the pets.

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Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.

Cocker Spaniel and Rottweiler

Canine Hypothyroidism Information

Can dogs get thyroid problems? Unfortunately the answer is yes, dogs and thyroid issues are common. If your dog seems sluggish and has a puffy-looking appearance, it may mean he has problems with his thyroid.

What is Hypothyroidism in Dogs?

The thyroid gland produces various hormones including T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine) that help to maintain a normal metabolism canine hypothyroidism occurs when there’s a deficiency of the thyroid hormone.

Hypothyroidism happens to people as well as dogs. The thyroid hormone (also called thyroxine) affects virtually all organs in the body. The deficiency happens generally when your dog’s immune system destroys his thyroid gland. More than 95% of all cases occur as a result of the destruction of this important gland. This vital gland sits just under the throat. The technical name for this problem is autoimmune hypothyroidism in dogs.

Sometimes the gland simply wastes away with no known cause. This condition may be present when the puppy is born, in which case it can lead to a type of dwarfism. Cats may also face this problem but it’s much rarer. It may happen if the cat has been treated for hyperthyroidism with too high a dose of medication. Dwarfism is extremely rare in cats.

Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Dogs who are middle-aged are in a much higher risk category for autoimmune hypothyroidism. Females are twice as likely to contract this problem. This problem can affect all breeds of dogs but there are many breeds in a higher risk group and these include: Old English Sheepdogs, Pomeranians, Airedales, Chows, Boxers, Dachshunds, Poodles, Bulldogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Cocker Spaniels, Great Danes, Irish Setters and Miniature Schnauzers.

Toy or miniature breeds are in a low risk category for hypothyroidism. No specific breed of dog (or gender) has been linked to the dwarfish form of hypothyroidism. Dogs that suffer from this type are smaller than others in their litter and have short legs and larger heads. They tend to keep their puppy hair as well.

Dog Breeders shouldn’t breed dogs that have any type of canine hypothyroidism because there is a strong possibility the condition is be hereditary.

Dog Hypothyroidism Symptoms Checklist

The first sign of this problem is usually loss of hair on the tail, trunk and on the back legs. Other signs of hypothyroidism in dogs include:

  •  Constipation.
  •  Lethargy.
  •  Gaining weight without eating more than normal.
  •  Flaky or dark skin.
  • Dog thyroid hair loss, generally on his sides and/or tail, and no itchiness as a result.
  •  Vomiting.
  •  A change in his voice.
  •  Dragging his feet or toes that knuckle under.
  •  Brittle, dry hair-coat.
  •  Poor regrowth of hair after being shaved.
  •  Muscle and nerve problems including facial paralysis.
  •  Recurring ear and toenail infections.
  •  Recurring skin infections (often causing itchiness).
  •  Seizures. There is often a link between hypothyroidism and seizures in dogs.
  •  Diarrhea.
  •  Greasy skin.
  •  Tilting of the head.
  •  Anxiety.
  •  Skin odor.
  •  More aggressive behavior.
  •  Joint swelling and pain.
  •  Intolerance to cold weather.
  •  Problems with reproduction in females that haven’t been spayed. E.g. irregular or absent heat cycles.
  •  Females may fail to become pregnant, or if they do, they may have a small litter or they may even miscarry. False pregnancies are also common.
  •  Males may have a reduced libido and a low sperm count.

This is a long list of canine hypothyroidism symptoms and it’s impossible to know what ones your dog may have without closely monitoring him regularly. There may only be a few symptoms or a lot. Canine hypothyroidism symptoms may be caused by something entirely different to hypothyroidism.

Cocker Spaniel and Rottweiler

Canine Hypothyroidism InformationTo officially diagnose your dog’s condition, the vet needs to carry out a full physical exam of your dog. He may see things you missed, such as: dry eyes, slowed reflexes, deposits in the corneas of his eyes, a reduced heartbeat and a lower than usual body temperature.

The vet will keep an open mind while examining your dog because there are other medical issues that can cause similar symptoms. Sex hormone tumors and Cushing’s syndrome can cause non-itchy loss of hair. A heart abnormality or Addison’s disease may cause weakness, lethargy and a slow heartbeat.

The vet will take some blood samples to test and see the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4). If readings are not within normal parameters, your dog might have a high TSH reading, a low T4 reading, high cholesterol and mild anemia. He’ll also rule out any other factors that can cause false low readings of T4.

Canine Hypothyroidism Treatment

There’s currently no known way to prevent hypothyroidism. However, treatment usually causes positive results and produces the normal thyroid range for dogs.

Thyroid Support for Dogs

Your dog may need to have a pill form of thyroid supplementation (synthetic L-thyroxine) twice daily for the rest of his life. Your vet would usually take another blood sample 6-8 hours after your dog has been given his first pill. The dose may not be high enough and hyperthyroidism symptoms may start to manifest themselves. These may include: an increase in appetite and thirst, more frequent urination, nervousness and panting. Once the dose is adjusted, these symptoms quickly disappear.

Your vet will continue to monitor your pet’s levels of thyroxine within the first 6-8 weeks of starting the treatment and then a few weeks after that, just in case the dose isn’t right. Then he’ll need a check-up 1-2 times per year in case the dose needs to be changed.

After a week of treatment, your dog’s energy will come bouncing back. His skin will improve and within the first couple of months, he’ll lose a little weight and his hair will grow back to what it was prior to these issues. Dogs who receive treatment for hypothyroidism will lead a normal, healthy life, as long as the treatment continues.

Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.

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Canine Hypothyroidism Information
basset hound

Dog Ear Infections

Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Dog Ear Infections
If your dog whines and scratches his ears fiercely, sometimes causing them to become red raw, it may be due to an ear infection; something that’s common in dogs.

There are three major types of ear infections, all starting with the word “otitis” (meaning inflammation): internal, media and externa. Each type affects a different part of the dog’s ear. Ear infections are very common in dog breeds with big floppy ears such as Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds.

Approximately 20% of dogs have one or more ear infections at some point in their lives. There are ways you can decrease the severity and incidents of ear infections, which can affect one or both ears at the same time.

Interna and media are the types that affect the inner and middle ear passage and often are caused by an infection that starts in the outer part of the ear.

Externa refers to the outer ear. Inflammation can affect the cells that line the outer part of the ear passage.

Dog Ear Infection Symptoms:

There are many possible symptoms a dog may exhibit if an ear infection exists. Due to the extreme sensitivity of a dog’s ear canal, some symptoms are very obvious. Symptoms include:

• Shaking of the head.
• Scaly skin.
• Whining.
• Pawing at the ear.
• Odours.
• A smelly, dark discharge.
• Itchiness.
• Swelling and redness.

How do dogs get infections in their ear(s)?

A dog’s ear passage is in an “L” shape and more vertical than that of a human ear. The shape causes a certain degree of fluid retention as a result, thereby increasing the likelihood of ear infections happening.

Ear infections can be caused by many things including:

Mites (less frequent in adult dogs than puppies).
• Viruses.
• Bacteria.
• Fungus/yeast.
• Reactions to drugs.
• Thyroid disorders.
• Moisture (a good breeding ground for yeast and bacteria).
• Build-up of wax.
• Autoimmune disease.
• Injuries.
• Encephalitis.
• Meningitis.
• Excessive cleaning.
• Foreign matter.
• Tumours.
• Hormone issues.
• Plant material.
• Diseases of the endocrine system (for example, diabetes).
• Allergies (50% of dogs with skin problems and 80% of dogs with food allergies will have ear infections at some point).

Advanced cases of ear problems can be extremely serious and may cause facial paralysis, deafness, vestibular disease (poor coordination, dizziness, circling and head tilting). Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in avoiding ear problems becoming worse.

Your vet needs to precisely diagnose the ear infection.

Dog Ear InfectionsAs soon as you notice any problems with your dog’s ears, you must visit the vet as a matter of urgency. Ear problems may be very painful and can spread and get worse quickly. Don’t attempt to treat such problems yourself.

Provide your vet with as complete a history of your pet as possible. If you’re seeing your regular vet, he’ll have the history already. However, if you visit an emergency hospital or vet you haven’t seen before, he won’t know anything until you give him the relevant information. Ear infections can hit at any time of day or night. Your dog may wake in the middle of the night, scratching his ear violently and whining loudly. So get him straight to the vet or hospital.

Information you’ll need to give your vet:

• Duration of, and type of, symptoms.
• What food you have given your dog.
• If he’s on medications for any reason.
• How often you clean his ears.
• If he has allergies or other health issues.
• Any previous ear infections (when, what type and how were they treated)?
• Recent activities such as a groomer’s session, a bath, swimming or walking in a dog park.
• If you have trimmed his ear hair.

The vet will need to examine your dog’s ears. He may use sedation if the ears are too sore to be handled. Even if one ear is the problem, he’ll always check both anyway.

His exam would generally include:
• Visually looking for any symptoms such as redness, rawness, inflammation, crustiness, blood or other oozing matter or anything else that shouldn’t be there.
• A gentle ear massage to test pain levels.
• Tissue cultures and examination.
• Biopsy and/or x-rays (in more severe and chronic cases).
• Using an Otoscope. This looks into the ear to see if foreign objects, waxy build-up, ear mites or damage exists.


It’s only after an exam is done that a vet can decide on the best treatment plan. Usually he’ll clean both ears properly and prescribe either oral or topical medication that you’ll keep on using at home. He’ll also usually prescribe painkillers to help reduce inflammation.

You’ll need to take him back to the vet to be checked again within the following week or so, to ensure the ears are healing or have healed. You’ll need to keep a close eye on his ears until they’re fully healthy.

Easy cases can be settled within 10-30 days. However, some may become chronic and other times it might be months before the ears come good.

Do everything your vet tells you to do, without any detours, or your beloved pet may suffer more, have the same problem again or it may last longer. Use all of the medication, even if the ears look ok half way through the treatment.

Tips to help you prevent your dog from having ear infections.

Dog Ear InfectionsPrevention is the best medicine. Learn the right way to clean your pet’s ears. If moisture causes his problems, ensure you dry his ears fully after he has had a swim and avoid water getting in his ears while bathing him.

Here’s a good way to clean your pet’s ears.
Fill his ear canal with a special cleaning solution. Massage the outer part of the vertical ear canal. Wipe it dry and clean with absorbent gauze. Avoid cotton and paper towels as they can leave fibres in the ear which can cause irritation.
Be aware that dogs would normally scratch their ears or shake their head after you have applied the cleaning solution so let him do it.

Cotton buds can be used to clean the ear’s folds but never slide them inside the canal or you may push debris in deeper and it can end up being in a clump. It may even rupture the ear drum itself.

When cleaning your pet’s ears, have some treats handy, especially if he’s being good and keeping still. Praise him for being a good dog and perhaps do something fun with him afterwards.

Part of caring for your dog is managing his overall health, and that includes his ears. It’s important to have a good vet because you can rely on him for help if your dog needs him. Prevention is always best, although it’s not always possible.

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pomeranian dog

What To Feed Your Senior Dog

What To Feed Your Senior DogWhen do you think of your dog as being senior? A vet will say this is when a dog is in the last third of their life expectancy. A poodle generally lives to 15 years and becomes a senior at age 10. A golden retriever has a life expectancy of 13 years so he’s a senior at 8-9 years old.

However, these facts don’t always ring true because dogs can die earlier or later than predicted. Your dog may have health issues such as partial hearing or sight loss. Other dogs may become clumsier than usual, sometimes for the above reasons but they may have bone or muscle issues. If you notice any odd behaviour in your dog, take him to the vet for a check-up.

As your dog ages, he’ll become less active because his energy levels have decreased. You may have to reduce the volume of food you give him to prevent weight gain in his older years. You may wish to buy special diet food made especially for senior dogs. Ask your vet before trying such food as some of the foods have a lot of protein and you can’t give more protein to your dog if he has renal failure.

As a dog gets older, the risk of constipation is higher. His digestive system and stomach aren’t as efficient as they were when he was younger. Ensure there’s lots of fibre in his diet (3% – 5%). Make sure he drinks lots of water because that helps with constipation as well. Watch him when he is doing potty to see if it’s easy or hard to do. If it’s harder, talk to the vet about what you can do to ease the problem.

As dogs become seniors, many are more prone to arthritis. Your dog needs daily supplements to help prevent this. Golden Retrievers are notorious dogs for developing hip joint and arthritis issues as they grow older. Keep his joints healthy so your dog can move around freely. Vets generally suggest a supplement containing chondroitin and glucosamine as these help with arthritis.

Vitamins help because as your dog ages, he can’t absorb as many electrolytes and vitamins and so they get lost. Many senior dogs eat less food so they don’t get sufficient nutrients. Your dog also needs lots of essential fatty acids that also help with the side effects of arthritis.

Owners of senior dogs often have problems with feeding their dogs. The dog will stop eating suddenly and the owner rings the vet desperately seeking advice. It may be a sign of something more serious BUT it’s usually a result of the dog’s mouth and teeth. As a dog grows older, his teeth also age and he may have difficulty chewing food in the way he did as a youngster. Moisten his kibble, or use smaller pieces. Moisten other food with water to soften it for him to eat easier.

Older dogs may stop liking foods they used to love. Try different things. Warm his food. Add boiled eggs or broth and chicken. Your vet may allow you to give him a small amount of bacon dripping or hamburger grease for moisture and flavour.

As your dog grows older, he deserves the best food you can find for him. Don’t be stingy in that aspect of his care. Many people use the BARF (bones and raw food) diet because it’s easier to chew raw food and the vegetables are generally pureed.
This diet has loads of nutrients and sometimes gives your dog some of his old energy.

Other benefits include: helping prevent weight gain and easing arthritis symptoms common in many seniors. However, not every senior will like the BARF diet so you can just try it and see because the benefits greatly outweigh the possibility he may not like eating it so you have nothing to lose.

Some owners give their senior dog more table scraps because they feel a little guilty that he won’t be around for too much longer and so they’re happy to indulge him for his remaining years. The idea may be fine but it may trigger extra problems your dog may not have yet.

Watching a beloved dog age is tough. Giving him the best possible diet to help him enjoy his senior years is one way to make him feel more comfortable.

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