If you’ve had your dachshund pup for a few months, you may be thinking about getting him or her neutered. But how old should they be when you get it done? And should you even get it done at all? Can’t it put them at risk of IVDD? Don’t worry, we’re going to answer all your questions about dachshunds and neutering.
When should my dachshund be neutered? A dachshund should not be neutered until they’re at least 12 months old, and you should think carefully about doing it at all. Neutering could increase a dachshund’s risk of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), especially if done before they are fully mature.
Are you wondering if your dachshund is old enough to be neutered? Perhaps he’s getting a bit boisterous or starting to hump his bed, and you’re wondering whether neutering will help? Well, it’s not quite as clear-cut with dachshunds as it is with other breeds, so read on to find out if it’s the right choice for your dog.
Table of Contents
- What is neutering?
- What does neutering a dachshund involve?
- What does the research say about neutering dachshunds?
- Does neutering a dachshund cause behavioural changes?
- Are there any positives to neutering a dachshund?
- Should I neuter an older dachshund?
- What if I have another dog?
- How much does it cost to neuter a dachshund?
- Is neutering covered under standard pet insurance?
- Will neutering make my dachshund fat?
- Will neutering stop my dachshund humping?
- How do I train my dachshund to stop humping?
- What happens if I don’t neuter my dachshund?
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet or qualified dog behaviourist.
What is neutering?
Neutering is a surgical procedure that stops your dachshund breeding. Male dachshunds are castrated by having their testicles removed. Female dachshunds are spayed by having their ovaries and (usually) their uterus removed.
What does neutering a dachshund involve?
The procedure is normally carried out by your vet. Your dachshund would need an anaesthetic so won’t be able to eat on the morning of the operation. They will need stitches but most dogs are up and about within a few hours and ready to come home.
Over the following days, your dachshund would need to rest and take it easy (no jumping or running around). In 2-3 days you should be able to go out for some gentle exercise and, within about 10-14 days, things should be back to normal. All surgeries carry some risk but, in general, this procedure is routine and regarded as safe.
What does the research say about neutering dachshunds?
Most vets recommend you neuter (or spay) your dog when they’re around 6 months old. But, it’s not so straightforward with dachshunds. Research has shown neutering a dachshund could put them at increased risk of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
Because dachshunds have uniquely long backs and need their sex hormones to make sure their bodies develop properly. If you neuter your dachshund before his bones, joints, ligaments and muscles have fully formed, research shows he’s more likely to get IVDD and suffer long-term, irreversible damage to his back.
The DachsLife study said neutered dachshunds are nearly twice as likely to get IVDD when they’re 3 or over. That’s girls and boys (it looks like the risk is actually higher with girls). The study also showed dachshunds who are neutered at 6 months or less are 12 times more likely to suffer from IVDD by the time they’re 4, compared with non-neutered dachshunds. Those are pretty scary odds!
So, if your vet is pressurising you into neutering your dachshund, don’t feel like you have to do it right away. Tell them what you know about IVDD and neutering, and ask lots of questions to see what they say.
A scarily low number of vets are actually aware of the latest research into the risks of neutering dachshunds. They may advise you to go ahead to reduce the risk of cancer or tumours, but dachshunds aren’t generally prone to these diseases, so it’s not a good enough reason to rush ahead.
If you do decide to neuter, wait until the 12-month mark to give your dachshund’s body time to develop properly, and speak to your vet for further advice. Neutering could increase your little sausage’s risk of IVDD, and may do more harm than good.
Does neutering a dachshund cause behavioural changes?
Yes, neutering can cause behavioural changes. Some dachshunds become less confident, more anxious and stop weeing on walks or digging. Others simply settle down, become less boisterous and less distracted by other dogs (which is handy when you’re training them!).
If you know other sausage dog owners or can join a Facebook group online, you could ask the daxie community about their experiences of neutering and the effect it’s had on their dachshunds. It really helps to hear real-life stories from other owners, as well as reading studies and talking to your local vet.
Are there any positives to neutering a dachshund?
Yes. There are many reported health benefits to neutering including a decrease in testicular cancer, prostate disease, mammary tumours and infections. Even though dachshunds aren’t prone to cancer and tumours, neutering could prevent these diseases.
Neutering could also make a male dachshund less boisterous and less aggressive towards other dogs. It should calm any roaming behaviour, so he’s less likely to dig his way out of the garden to follow a female scent. And, because focus and concentration improves, he’ll probably settle down a lot more in the home too.
Spaying a female dachshund has similar benefits and should also calm her down. She won’t have any unplanned pregnancies (and you won’t have any unwanted vet bills relating to the accidental litter!). Plus, you wont have to deal with her messy heat cycle where she’ll bleed for weeks at a time.
Should I neuter an older dachshund?
There’s no age limit on neutering a dachshund, it just depends on the health of the dog, and so it’s best to speak to your vet. Operating on an older dachshund with existing health issues, or one who is overweight, does carry more risk.
What if I have another dog?
If you have another dog, whether that’s a dachshund or another breed, neutering will be something to seriously consider. You don’t want to risk any unwanted pregnancies or the huge expense that comes with it. Just wait until the 12-month mark before you make your decision so you minimise any potential health risks.
How much does it cost to neuter a dachshund?
The cost of neutering a dachshund varies greatly depending where you are in the world. A rough guide for a small dog would be between £100 ($125) – £200 ($250) but it’s best to speak to your local vet to get a more accurate cost.
Check exactly what’s included in the price too, because things like painkillers and antibiotics (which may be needed) are normally an additional expense.
Is neutering covered under standard pet insurance?
No, neutering isn’t normally covered under standard pet insurance. In general, ‘neutering’ is considered a routine expense that you plan and prepare for, and therefore isn’t insured. Check your individual insurance policy to see what’s covered.
Will neutering make my dachshund fat?
There’s no definitive answer on whether neutering makes a dachshund fat. Most experts say ‘no’ and some owners say ‘yes’. Generally, once neutered, dachshunds don’t need quite as much food. This is due to a slower metabolism and not being so active any more.
Dachshunds are prone to obesity so it’s definitely something to watch out for. Weigh your dachshund regularly to check he’s the right weight for his size, and look for any visible signs he’s putting on weight by checking him over yourself.
Make sure you’re feeding him the right amount of food each day too. If you’re overfeeding, gradually cut down his portions a little. And look at the quality of food you’re giving him, as this’ll also impact his health. Dachshunds love raw veggies so he won’t mind if you swap-out fatty treats for healthy snacks like carrots, cauliflower and cucumber.
Exercise is important too. Giving him enough walks and playtime should help to keep the weight off. This’ll be good for both of you and have so many knock on benefits.
Will neutering stop my dachshund humping?
No, neutering won’t stop your dachshund humping completely, but it should decrease it. Dachshunds don’t always hump because they’re sexually aroused. They might just be over-excited or even stressed. If this is the case, neutering isn’t going to solve it.
It can be a bit embarrassing when your dachshund jumps on another dog in the park, so try to figure out why he’s doing it. Next time he starts humping, look around at his environment. Could he be overwhelmed or over-excited because he’s around lots of new dogs or people? Could he be stressed because he’s in a new place? If so, try to calm him down. Pop him in his crate if you have one nearby, or distract him and move his attention elsewhere. He may naturally grow out of this behaviour as he gets older and settles down.
Some dogs hump to burn off energy, just like running around or jumping up. If you think this could be the case for your dachshund, try upping his exercise and playtime each day. Tire him out so he doesn’t take out his pent-up energy on your new cushion or another poor dog! For the record, girls are just as guilty of this as boys, so it’s nothing to do with that. But, if it’s out of control and driving you insane, you could train him to stop.
How do I train my dachshund to stop humping?
Catch him in the act and interrupt him. Say a firm ‘No’. If he stops, give him a treat. If he doesn’t stop, remove the object (or, if the object is an unfortunate guest, remove your dachshund). Be consistent with this and, eventually, he’ll learn.
What happens if I don’t neuter my dachshund?
If you don’t neuter your dachshund, males would still be able to impregnate fertile female dogs, and females would still be able to get pregnant. A male needs to be kept physically separate from any non-neutered female dogs, and a female in heat needs to be kept separate from any non-neutered male dogs.
This sounds easy but isn’t always that straightforward. Keeping your dog contained at all times can be hard work. Dachshunds are diggers and runners and, if there’s a way out, they’ll find it. Females in season will also attract males from around the neighbourhood, so you’ll have to watch her like a hawk.
If you decide not to neuter, you must be a very diligent and responsible pet owner. You have to make sure your dachshund is under control when around other dogs (e.g. keeping them on the lead in the park or when you’re out walking). And, if your dachshund goes to a dog-sitter, you must make them aware of the situation. Unwanted pregnancies cost a lot of money and breeding should be left to the professionals.
So, now you know the risks and what the research says, it’s time to decide whether neutering is the right option for your dachshund. And remember, if you do decide to neuter your dachshund, consider waiting until they’re at least 1 year old – and question your vet if they insist you do it sooner. Your dachshund’s safety and wellbeing is the most important thing, and the last thing you want is to rush into the decision and regret it when they’re older.
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