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Does My Retriever Need a Vasectomy?

  • 8 min read

The following information is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice.
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Is a dog vasectomy necessary? Do some people really think it’s animal abuse? What are the facts about it?

Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about. People have their own opinions about pet procedures, and those opinions are theirs, but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself the hard questions: do I need to do this for my dog, or is it something I want to do?

We’re going to break it down in every way imaginable so that you can be better prepared when a difficult decision rears its head.

It’s important to know the benefits, drawbacks, and mood changes that come with a dog vasectomy, so let’s talk about that and help you make your own decision, one way or another.

What is a Dog Vasectomy?

Dog vasectomies are performed with the same intention as vasectomies on humans: to eliminate the travel path that sperm takes from the testicles to the penis, called the vas deferens.

By removing a very small portion of this tube, sperm cannot travel properly and the dog is therefore rendered unable to produce children.

Vasectomies aren’t the opposite of castrations, they’re just a different way of going about the same result. You want your dog to not be able to breed, especially if they get out and get loose in the neighborhood.

Castration vs. Vasectomy

For some reason, people always seem to mix these terms up, or assume that they mean the same thing. I can assure you that they’re far from being the same. Castration is complete removal of the testicles, while a vasectomy is when you cut the vas deferens.

Castration has a very big problem attached to it: hormone production. This is where a lot of hormones in the body are created, chief among them being testosterone. Castration is too far.

A vasectomy is often a very safe procedure which doesn’t affect hormone production in the slightest. These hormones are used to regulate more in the body than just sex drive, especially in dogs. Castration almost always leads to hypothyroidism.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Dog Vasectomy Operation

Neutering, a vasectomy, getting fixed – whatever you want to call it – has its ups and downs. We’re obviously considering this as an operation for a reason, but it’s not black and white. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know before making a final decision.

Pro – Eliminating the Risk of Pregnancy

You have a male and female retriever, and the mood strikes. Okay, who wants to deny their dogs of that natural function?

Not many people, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with the consequences of it by housing two to four puppies and then finding a home for them.

Neutering a girl removes her risk of pregnancy, and getting a vasectomy for a male will eliminate their chances of getting a female pregnant. That means if your dog mingles with the neighbor’s dog, there’s no real ramifications to worry about.

Con – No Future Generation

Your dog’s generation ends right then and there when you have the procedure for them. There will be no fourth or fifth gen of their breed, so breeding for money or to maintain the same dog family will not be a possibility.

While this seems obvious when you’re looking up dog vasectomies, I mention it to stress the point that there is no going back after this. If you are okay with that, then by all means, you may proceed.

Pro – Calming Your Dog Down

If your dog gets fixed, then they’re going to be calmer, plain and simple. Not during the procedure, mind you, but in their general demeanor after it’s been completed.

This can take some time, but when they aren’t releasing semen during intercourse, the need dies down.

This is something that is mostly drawn from firsthand accounts of retriever owners, and does not have much medical information to back up this claim (since usually, removing the testicles entirely will guarantee a calmer dog, so some of this is up in the air).

Con – Weight Gain

For whatever reason, dogs who have received vasectomies are more likely to gain weight than those who haven’t. This could be because they’re finding a coping mechanism in food where they cannot produce, but it’s uncertain.

Your dog may be more prone to overeating in this instance, which is why you need to maintain their weight immediately following the procedure.

Pro – It’s a Stepping Stone

If you’re trying to lower your dog’s aggression and ensure that they can’t reproduce, then I have news for you—a vasectomy is the way to go. You basically come in with a middle-of-the-road option over castration.

If your dog still exhibits extreme attention loss, over-sexual behavior (humping pillows, furniture, etc.), and they are still highly aggressive, you can always go back later and opt for a castration.

While it’s generally perceived as a bad thing by many dog owners, sometimes it’s necessary to ensure your dog doesn’t become overly aggressive towards a stranger, and then have that lead to you forcing to put the dog down due to later problems.

Con – It Doesn’t Work Right Away

That’s right – it’s not an immediate solution. I know that sounds odd, but for the first two months after your dog has a vasectomy, they still have a small chance of impregnating another dog.

It seems odd, because you would assume something like that would be immediate, but it’s not that simple.

Your dog’s body wasn’t meant to have this happen to them, so it finds ways around it until everything heals properly (internally). Do not, under any circumstances, let your dog interact with a female dog in heat. After sixty days, play ball.

Average Cost of a Dog Vasectomy (US)

Actually, it’s not a highly expensive procedure like you would think.

You can expect to pay up to $3,000 in outpatient procedure expenses for an adult human male vasectomy. While the surgery is more complex than a dog, that’s not exactly pocket change that people have jangling around.

Thankfully, veterinarians make it a lot more affordable by keeping the costs down to about $40 up to around $300. This can depend on several factors.

Your Vet’s Experience

When someone has twenty years of experience, that’s what they want to get paid for.

I would rather have a 20-career-year professional handle something like this than a brand new vet (no offense to you aspiring veterinarians out there), and they’re going to cost more money.

They have to continually learn more about veterinarian technologies and procedures every single year as well, so you know you’re getting someone who puts in the time to be as close to perfect as possible.


Pet insurance does exist, but it’s usually not the best option for people to get unless you have a sickly pet. The reason behind this is because they’re generally high premiums versus the cost of out-of-pocket procedures and appointments for more vet appointments.

However, insurance would bring this cost down significantly, especially if your vet can determine that it has medically-backed reasons and isn’t just because you don’t want them to breed.

Slide Fee Programs

If you don’t know what a slide fee is, it’s basically a program that’s run by a veterinarian clinic that allows you to pay cheaper prices for the same level of services based on your income.

This requires you to provide proof of income, and might also require you to bring in documentation on your dog.

The After Cost

Pain medication. Thankfully, for dogs, it’s not as much money as pain medication for humans is.

You can expect to pay between $15 and $40 for dog pain meds for about a thirty-day supply. That ends up being about 15% of the cost of standard pain meds that you or I would get after a procedure or a dental issue.

You can also find discount neutering services from your local ASPCA or Humane Society.

They want your dog to have everything that they need taken care of, so they’re going to provide the most inexpensive services that they possibly can. If you’re rescuing animals, they might even find a way to wave the fees for you. You just have to get in contact with them.

It’s Up to You

At the end of the day, it’s your dog, and it’s your decision. There are benefits to a full vasectomy, and plenty of drawbacks as well. Nobody can tell you what is right for you, which is why we’re just trying to arm you with as much information as possible before going into this with different expectations.

It’s important to know what the difference between castration, neutering and vasectomies are, as well as what you can expect during the post-surgery days. You’re ready to make the call.


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