Can Dogs Live Without Mating?

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Introduction

Birds do it, bees do it - dogs definitely do it! Every living thing that's placed on the earth to repopulate has the ability to mate and reproduce!

This is, obviously, a beautiful and useful characteristic as we need new organisms to continue a species. But can dogs live when that characteristic is taken away from them? With the amount of spaying and neutering we talk about with our animals, is it possible that we're actually hurting them? 

While dogs are able to - and should be permitted to - mate with each other, your doggo can definitely live without mating! In short, it will never harm your dog if he or she can't mate, and it's important to recognize that spayed and neutered dogs can live just as long as other pups who have not been fixed.

Now that we've got that out of the way, it's important to recognize when you should fix your animals. If you're confused about this topic, you're in luck. We've constructed a go-to guide to give you all the details

What are some signs that it's time to spay or neuter your dog? Does your dog know that they can't mate when they're fixed? How can you train your dog to deal with being fixed?

Signs Your Dog Should Be Fixed

As a society, we preach responsible pet ownership, and a big part of that is making sure your animal does not reproduce to cause more unwanted pets in a country that's full of them. Because of that, we focus our attention on spaying and neutering our pets as an act of responsible ownership. But how do you know when it's time to get your doggo fixed? It's likely that they'll give you all the signs you need to determine it. 

For example, if your dog (male especially) starts showing specific behavior issues, it might be time to get him fixed. If your pup starts to develop aggression, getting him fixed could make training for this unwanted behavior easier, as it lowers the amount of testosterone in his body. 

Additionally, if your pup starts to take on roaming behaviors, it's possible that he's looking for a mate - a natural reaction, but an inconvenient, and potentially dangerous one. Fixing your dog will typically solve this issue. An unfixed male can also go through an especially undesirable mounting phase during puberty.

Body Language

Here are a few body language cues your dog might be giving you to let you know its time for him or her to be fixed:
  • Growling
  • Howling
  • Whimpering
  • Biting
  • Wiggling

Other Signs

Of course, there are other signs to look out for! If your dog is exhibiting any of the following signs, it might be time to get him or her fixed:
  • Marking
  • Leg Lifting
  • Aggressive Behaviors
  • Roaming for Mates
  • Mounting

Historic Reasons for Fixing Your Pup

Sure, we fix our dogs to be responsible pet owners, but there are other reasons to get your doggo neutered or spayed. For starters, yes, it does help solve the unplanned pregnancy issue. 

Typically, female dogs in heat who are unspayed are irresistible to male dogs (who are not neutered) during their breeding season. If you leave your pet unfixed, you can be sure that unwanted doggos will be coming to your yard to attempt to mate with your unfixed girl. In times passed when neutering was not yet commonplace, this was a major issue that dog owners had to face. 

If you're not prepared to deal with the cost and responsibility that comes with caring for a pregnant pup - and the litter that comes with her - fixing your dog is one of the most effective things you can do.

Additionally, fixing your animals to avoid health risks has been a historic reason for the procedure. Unspayed females were thought to be at a much higher risk of developing mammary tumors, although recent studies seem to counter this thinking. Removing a dog's testicles eliminates the chance that these organs will develop cancer. 

That being said, forward-thinking vets are now looking to new studies that tell us dogs may benefit from the natural hormones that their reproductive organs provide - and that these hormones can actually lower the chance of certain cancers. This is especially the case in giant breeds. 

That doesn't mean you should simply allow your dog to mate, however. There are still sterilization procedures you can opt for that continue to prevent unwanted pups from being born.

The Science Behind Dogs Mating

Your dog, just like all other living organisms that are set up for reproduction, has a natural inclination to mate. However, if your dog doesn't mate, his life isn't at risk. In fact, your dog, like humans and other animals, is not required to mate to live. 

We know what you might be thinking. What about the loss of hormones when you fix your animals, can that hurt your dog? If you're concerned about these valid concerns, you can talk to your vet about an ovary-sparing spay or a vasectomy for your animal. 

The urge to reproduce is higher in animals, especially in dogs. Even though it's essential for the survival of the species, it is not essential for the survival of your dog. Typically, these sexual behaviors and drives will be absent in your young dog's life, but when puberty hits and early adulthood begins, a dog's survival genes will kick in. 

Keep in mind that this is a natural and normal urge, and dogs are able to live normal, healthy, and long lives without ever mating.

How to Train Your Dog to Deal with Getting Fixed

Getting your pup fixed is a routine procedure that many owners choose to have done. The actual procedure is quick and efficient, and the healing process doesn't take too long, either. Still, you'll need to train your pup to deal with this process effectively. 

Make sure your animal is trained to take medicine. While he might not need it, your dog-tor could prescribe medicine for your pup to take while he or she is healing, especially if there are signs of infection at the incision site. Teach your dog a throw-and-catch game for his pills, teach him how to eat pills out of your hand, or simply mix them in with his food. 

Additionally, make sure you train your dog to be responsive to commands like "no" and "leave it." When healing-time comes around, your doggo will likely want to lick or nip at his stitches. Making sure he's trained to do what you say will help reduce the risk of infection during healing time. 

How to React to Your Dog Wanting to Mate

  • Unless you are an experienced breeder, take steps to prevent this from happening!
  • Look into procedures to sterilize your animal.
  • Keep your dog in a secure place until they have been sterilized (and during the recovery period, too).
  • Do not allow your unfixed male to roam.