Do you have a male dog or cat? Well, owning a male pet is a big responsibility and comes with a fair share of fun and excitement.
Sometimes the same pet who brings so much joy to your life can also bring some interesting behavior issues to the table when it comes to his testosterone!
These issues can be both simple and insignificant at times, but sometimes can contribute to bigger problems.
The overpopulation of domestic animals is a significant problem in the U.S., so much so in fact, that organizations such as the Humane Society have supported legislation that addresses the problem
What is overpopulation? Basically, overpopulation is the widespread issue of domesticated animals being without homes and having to live in the streets.
Some animals have no home because their owners abandon them. This happens when a pet owner loses his ability to care for his pet and abandon it to the streets. Not all owners do this: some will take their pet to an animal shelter or give their pet away.
Many animals have no home because they were born in homes where the owner had no interest or ability in taking care of the offspring of their pet. Kittens, especially, even more than puppies, often have trouble finding homes from their parent’s owners and are forced to tough it out on their own in the great wide world.
Feral cats are an issue nearly everywhere! So, how can this problem be fixed?
Options to Reduce Overpopulation
Sterilizing your male pet is one way to help put an end to this problem. In male pets, sterilization is done most often by neutering, more on that later.
Another option to reduce overpopulation is to keep your male pet fenced in and carefully guarded.
When a male pet is not neutered or sterilized, he is said to be “intact.” Intact means that he still has his testicles. Males who are intact are prone to agitated behavior around females “in heat” and will often run away to mate with such females.
If a female pet in your neighborhood has not been spayed, and your pet has not been neutered, unless you keep special care of your animal to prevent his roaming off, the chances are very high that he may meander on over to your neighbor’s yard and impregnate the female in heat.
Dogs have been known to sense a female pet “in heat” up to 3 miles away! So unsupervised animals who have not been neutered are highly prone to impregnating female pets around their vicinity.
In order to help put a stop to overpopulation in your city or town, you want to either sterilize your pet or keep him under close watch and keep.
An “intact” animal (one that still has his testicles) will be prone to male dominance activities due to the high presence of testosterone that an intact testicle makes possible.
In the animal kingdom, there is always a “top dog,” and an intact male dog will feel the need to assert himself whenever another male dog comes into his presence.
Many dog fights or exhibit poor behavior due to this assertive aspects of a male animal’s personality.
It is in the nature of animals to figure out who is “king,” so we can’t exactly blame them for their poor behavior at the dog park if we have not done something about the problem! But keep in mind when you adopt a male pet, this is something you will have to deal with at some point.
Some owners find that the act of neutering their pet is the easiest way to handle the possibility of aggression. Less testosterone in a pet will definitely calm him down!
It is also possible to give your pet good behavior training, so if your pet has not had a neutering procedure done or if you are thinking of breeding and wish to keep his testicles intact, you can still help your pet be less aggressive.
This one can be rather amusing to humankind.
But in the animal world of “top dog” behavior, the higher a dog is able to lift his leg to urinate (or spray) the better.
Marking territory in this way is common for many animals, and dogs especially seem to have an alpha code, in which the higher a dog can lift his leg when urinating, the more of a top dog he is.
This kind of alpha dog activity is heightened by the presence of testosterone. A dog with this type of chemical influence may also desire to urinate on every passing pole or post when you go for a walk. It’s all about asserting his dominance.
In addition to this problem, a dog with high testosterone levels may be prone to exhibit mounting behavior on pillows in your home or even people who visit your house! Most of us have probably seen a male dog uncomfortably behave in such a way and it makes for an awkward guest greeting to be sure! Such behavior can be trained away but does not go away by itself!
How Neutering Helps
In a neutering procedure, a male animal’s testicles are removed. When this happens, the levels of testosterone in the animal highly decrease.
Since testosterone causes animals to behave somewhat aggressively or awkwardly as mentioned above, its removal also removes the difficult behavior.
We do not want to suggest that neutering is the only way to get rid of such behavior. Dog trainers and skilled pet parents know that proper training of a male dog can help him lessen such activity on his own.
However, neutering is one of the only sure ways to help reduce overpopulation, as mentioned above.
While you as a diligent pet parent, can do a lot to keep your male pet away from females, many animals, especially cats, can still find a means of escape and impregnate a female nearby.
For this reason, many activists and veterinary doctors do suggest neutering if you don’t plan to breed, until other methods are found to help with the problem!
It’s generally recommended that neutering be done between 6 and 9 months of age but talk to your vet about the best time to do so for you and your pet.
During the month of April, we are offering a 20% discount on spaying and neutering procedures. Contact our office if you have questions about the procedure for your pet!