The Puppy Diaries – The Ninth Month
This is the sixth instalment of our puppy diary, featuring Murdock the lurcher puppy, with candid insights and practical tips on welcoming a dog into your home. You may have noticed that we’ve missed a few months as Murdock has begun to settle into family life and there have been less milestones to report. He is nearly ten months old now, still growing, still very playful and chewing everything but he has now reached the age when we have had to make the tough decision of whether to get him neutered.
Why neuter your dog?
As well as preventing unwanted pups, neutering has numerous health benefits for both male and female dogs. According to Battersea Dogs Home, the age at which you choose to neuter your dog will vary depending on their breed so it’s a good idea to consult with your vet before booking an operation. Neutering a male dog puts them at lower risk of experiencing testicular tumours and prostrate conditions. Neutering a female dog also reduces their risk of developing certain types of tumour, plus serious womb infections.
As well as health and welfare benefits, neutering also offers behavioural benefits. Un-neutered dogs may experience hormonal changes which can alter their behaviour. It can also prevent some undesirable behaviour such as scent marking or humping in male dogs, although it should be noted that it is not a cure-all for other behavioural problems, which can only be sorted with a good training routine.
There are a few myths surrounding neutering – for example some people say it’s good to let a female dog have a litter of puppies before having them spayed but Battersea Dogs Home say there is no evidence to support this. Pregnancy presents more of a risk than neutering - a young dog is at greater risk of complications during birth and with so many dogs already needing a home, it is also quite irresponsible to make more puppies for this reason alone.
Some people also believe that a dog will get fat if it is neutered but again, there is no evidence to support this. It is possible that your pup may need less food after neutering and your vet will be able to advise you on this, but with the right diet and plenty of exercise, there is no reason that your dog should put on weight just because they are neutered.
After weighing up the pros and cons it was clear that however bad we felt about taking him in, neutering would be the kindest thing to do for a dog like Murdock. We have been lucky enough to remain in contact with his littermates’ owners via a group chat and 2 out of his 3 brothers have also been neutered and we agreed it was the right thing to do.
Murdock was 9 months old when we decided to book him in for his op. I’ve recently switched vets to a smaller, family pet practice rather than the large, impersonal farm vet that we were using before. The new practice is located in a house and the team there seemed more approachable and friendly.
Murdock after the operation
We had to make sure that we did not feed Murdock after 7pm on the night before the surgery as he was going to have a general anaesthetic the next day. We dropped Murdock off at 9:30am and after much fretting, We rang up at noon to see how he was doing after the op. The vet nurse said he was doing well and that she had been cuddling him a lot and did not want to give him back. We picked him up at 3:30pm and he looked very sorry for himself indeed– like they had taken his soul! The nurse said they didn’t like to put a cone on a dog (to stop them from chewing or licking) unless it was absolutely necessary as it could be very distressing and suggested if he was licking it a lot to cover it up by dressing him in an old t-shirt or something similar. They gave me an aftercare sheet and told me to bring him back in ten days to have the stitches out.
Murdock was a little sleepy that evening and didn’t seem to want to speak to me much. He was also starving having not had any breakfast! We gave him a light meal and some space and he was very good and did not chew his stitches or lick himself excessively. After a couple of days he was back to normal and bouncing around and harassing the cats again. We have to walk him on the lead until the stitches are out and it has fully healed but other than that he is doing really well and although it was a tough decision, we know it’s going to be best for him in the long run.
Getting a puppy in lockdown has proved a little challenging, in terms of socialising him and he definitely needs to get out and meet more dogs as soon as restrictions ease. Want to read more about Murdock and his progress? You can find all of our puppy diaries here. Got any tips for raising a puppy in lockdown? Let us know in the comments section below.