There are 3 main reasons why you may wish to have your Beagle spayed or neutered:
1)To prevent unplanned breeding. A female that is spayed with be unable to become pregnant and a neutered male will not be able to produce sperm.
2)To stop or at least lessen certain negative behaviors. Both female and male dogs will be more territorial if un-fixed. This can cause marking issues and also increase territorial barking.
3)To increase expected life span. There are health benefits to spaying and neutering pets that can greatly increase life expectancy rates.
Health Benefits and Risks
It is a widespread mistaken belief that this is only done to stop dogs from mating. While this is one of the end results, there are also other significant ways in which this will help your dog live a healthier and longer life.
When a female Beagle is spayed, the benefits to the dog include:
Eliminating her chances of developing ovarian cancer
Diminishing her odds of developing uterine cancer
Significantly reducing her chances for developing mammary cancer
Stopping the chance of an unplanned pregnancy
When a male Beagle is neutered, the benefits to the dog include:
Eliminating the chance of testicular tumors
Greatly reducing the chance of infections
Reducing the risk of prostate cancer – This is a very common and serious health issue for the male Beagle. Roughly 62% of male dogs, that are older than 5 years old and not neutered, show indications of an inflamed prostate.
Note, the #1 leading cause of death for the Beagle breed is cancer. This includes all types of cancer; however having your dog spayed or neutered does rule out or lessen the risk the above listed cancers, which will increase your dog's overall chances of living a longer, healthier life.
The improved behavior related benefits include:
Less of an urge to run away and roam - Both genders will have urges to seek out potential mates; this will happen to females during the heat cycle and to males at all times. When spayed or neutered a Beagle's urge to run away will be great diminished.
Due to strong hormones causing territorial behavior, both genders may mark if un-fixed. After the procedure, marking issues are either eliminated or greatly reduced.
Will behavior be negatively affected?
Some worry that neutering a male dog will affect his behavior in a negative way, including making him depressed, lose strength and decrease his activity level. There are also owners who have some concerns that a male dog will be disturbed and frustrated if his ability to mate is taken away.
You should know that clinical studies have shown that male dogs do not act out any mating behavior unless they are moved by their own hormones in reaction to a female dog that is in heat. When neutered, it does not trouble a dog that he cannot mate.
When a male dog is neutered, his body can then use its energy for other things besides mating, including endurance and strength. A male dog will be just as good of a "watch dog" and act normally in all regards of activity and strength to exercise.
Some owners worry that spaying a female will cause that dog to gain weight and decrease activity. Again, this is not true. When given the proper amount of food and exercised suitably, a female dog will not become overweight or lethargic.
Even with all of the benefits of spaying and neutering, there are some risks involved.
• Urinary incontinence for females. This is the only proven risk. Studies have shown that about 20% of female dogs that have been spayed with develop incontinence at some point during their lifetimes. This may be shortly after the procedure or for many years later. It is suggested that refraining from very young spays (less than 3 months old) can reduce the odds of this.
These are risks that are thought to exist; however, there is not enough research to prove the claims.
• Cardiac tumors. Only one study found this to be a possible concern (Ware and Hopper - Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, March/April 1999). Their study suggested a 4 times greater risk for female and a marginally greater risk for males.
• Increased rate of other cancers. This may sound counter to the proof that spaying and neutering reduces the odds of cancer. However, some studies have shown a possible increase in the risk of developing osteosarcoma (a bone cancer), bladder, prostate, and lymphoma. Again, there is not enough research to back up these claims.
• Delay in growth-plate closure. This refers to growth plates closing later than they would otherwise, theoretically causing a dog to be larger than he would otherwise. This one is highly debatable because studies that showed a delay of 1 to 1.5 years also showed that this equated to a difference of just millimeters.
The Best Age to Spay or Neuter
When it comes to health, the earlier the better. Clinical studies show that a female dog’s best chance of good health is to be spayed before her first heat.
The odds of developing mammary cancer increases as she enters each heat. To offer her the best chance of a long and health life, a female Beagle should be spayed at the age
of 4 to 5 months old. However, even if an owner waits, having this done at any age will help to increase the life span of the dogs.
For males, it is also suggested that the earlier the better.It is best if a male is neutered at a young age before habits are formed.
How This is Done
When a female Beagle is spayed, the dog’s uterus and the ovaries are surgically removed.
Spaying female dogs is done by giving the dog general anesthesia. A tiny incision is made in the dog's abdomen. The uterus is then taken out from that small incision. The ovarian ligaments and blood vessels are securely tied. The abdominal tissues are stitched back together in layers internally. Outside (external) stitches are not always required.
When the male Beagle is neutered, the dog's testicles are surgically removed.
Neutering a male dog is done by making an incision in front of the dog's scrotum. The testicles are then taken out through this small incision. The blood vessels are tied off and cut. The incision will have either have stitches that dissolve or ones which will be removed 10 days after the procedure.
For the female Beagle, it is vital that she be allowed to fully rest for 10 days. If she shows any signs of vomiting, tremors, pale gum or bleeding, this can be a sign of a complications and the dog should be brought to the veterinarian right away.
This is, however, rare. A female dog may try to lick her stitches and this can cause infection; for that reason steps may be taken to stop her from doing so. In about 2 weeks, she will have a checkup to make sure all is well and stitches will be taken out at that time.
For the male Beagle, there is usually swelling for 3 to 4 days. There may be slight bruising. Discomfort is usually minimal and most dogs do not need pain medication. The majority of male dogs are ready to play, exercise and run around as usual even just days later; however to ensure that the incision heals properly, it is best to limit these exercise and play activities for 2 weeks.
Some owners to not see a reason to spay or neuter an older,senior dog. Nevertheless, doing so can significantly help to extend the life of the dog. There are several reasons why:
• A female may have heat cycles for her whole life. With most dogs, this does not stop as it does with humans. Having puppies in the senior years can be very risky for both female dog and impending puppies.
• Spaying significantly reduces the possibility of developing mammary cancer and eliminates the chances of ovarian cancer as well as uterine infections. Infections are very frequent in older dogs and can often be life-threatening.
Thus, having this done to a senior dog, can be very helpful in allowing her to live as long as possible.
• When a female dog is spayed, this decreases hormone changes in her body. These changes can affect other health conditions a dog may have including diabetes and epilepsy.
• For the male Beagle, neutering a senior dog eliminates the possibility of developing testicular tumors, infections and reduces the risk of canine prostate disease. These are all canine health conditions in which the chances of developing them increase as the dog ages.
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