Benefits and risks of neutering pets – what is the evidence – Behaviour

spotlight topic:


Published 26 November 2020 | Updated 23 September 2022

While neutering can be helpful in the management of some problem behaviours, such as urine marking in the house, mounting and roaming, the effect of neutering on other behaviours is less easy to predict and careful assessment of the problem and discussion with the owners of the risks and benefits should be carried out. In cases of uncertainty it may be appropriate to consider temporary (non-surgical) hormonal control to assess the effect on behaviour.

  • Moxon, R. et al. (2022) A prospective cohort study investigating the behavioural development of bitches in a guide dog training pogramme neutered prepubertally or post-pubertally. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9, no. 902775.
  • Neilson, J.C., Eckstein, R.A., and Hart, B.L. (1997) Effects of castration on problem behaviors in male dogs with reference to age and duration of behavior. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 211 (2), pp. 180-182.
  • Farhoody, P. et al. (2018) Aggression toward familiar people, strangers, and conspecifics in gonadectomized and intact dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5, p. 18.
  • McGreevy, P.D. et al. (2018) Behavioural risks in male dogs with minimal lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones may complicate population-control benefits of desexing. PLoS One, 13 (5) p. e0196284.
  • O’Farrell, V. and Peachey, E. (1990) Behavioural effects of ovariohysterectomy on bitches. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 31 (12), pp. 595-598.
  • Kim, H.H. (2006) Effects of ovariohysterectomy on reactivity in German Shepherd dogs. The Veterinary Journal, 172 (1), pp. 154-159.
  • Starling, M. et al. (2019) Behavioural risks in female dogs with minimal lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones. PLoS ONE, 14 (12), p. e0223709.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.