Influence of Gonadectomy on Canine Behavior
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Milano, via dell’Università 6, 26900 Lodi, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mark J. Farnworth
Received: 18 December 2020 / Revised: 13 February 2021 / Accepted: 16 February 2021 / Published: 20 February 2021
Veterinarians are expected to advise the owners if and when their dog’s gonadectomy should be performed and let them know if this might affect their animal’s behavior. Unfortunately, due to the lack of unequivocal scientific evidence, veterinarians differ in their opinion, with consequent diversity in advice to owners, contributing to the lack of clarity. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of gonadectomy on dog behavior across time. A total of 96 dogs, 48 gonadectomized (15 males and 33 females) and 48 entire (17 males and 31 females), were analyzed. Their owners were interviewed at time 0 (pre-surgery) and nine months later to obtain information about their dogs’ behavior. Eating behavior and dog’s weight did not show any significant changes across time in the two groups in both sexes. Gonadectomized male dogs were reported to show less mounting behavior, pull on the leash, and owner-directed aggression. Marking behavior did not vary across time for both groups of dogs. These results may contribute to shed light on which behaviors can be modified by gonadectomy over a nine-month period. However, differences in the reduction in the various types of behavior suggest that further studies of gonadectomy’s role in behavior should be conducted.