Today is the day. I’m taking our nearly 15 month old black lab puppy, Hercules, to the vet for surgery. This decision is not one that we’ve taken lightly, we’ve weighed the pros and cons. And whole heartedly believe this is the right choice for us and Hercules in the long run. There’s not just one surgery today there is 2, Neutering and Entropion Eyelid Surgery.
If you’re a dedicated reader and/or follow me on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter then you’re already very familiar with Hercules & his story. You also know how very important he is to us and that we equally prioritize his healthy through nutrition.
Entropion Eyelid Surgery
Hercules is “Handsome Challenged” at just a few weeks old his momma attacked his face 🙁 no, we don’t know why. His story immediately drew me to him and our bond was instantaneous when I went to pick him up. He’s proven to be a perfect fit for our little family. We’ve always known that most likely he would require entropion surgery to address the scaring around his eye, he can see out of it but the lower eyelid scaring causes it to roll in a the little hairs rub on his eye.
We’ve researched and researched what is best for him. We’ve opted out of all vaccines except rabies, feed him a nutrient dense raw diet and are raising him as a member of our pack. The one area that’s given us the most difficulty has been the question of neutering.
When it comes to neutering – I understand many of you are going to have a hard time with our apprehension toward something that the vast majority of pet owners blindly assume is healthy and necessary. Both are totally wrong.
Neutering is NOT healthier for a male dog (especially pediatric neuters under 1 year of age) and with RESPONSIBLE pet ownership neutering is not necessary. To understand WHY — Read THIS article and watch the video.
Our first dog, Max, was a XL lab/rottie mix who was neutered just before 6 months old. At just over a year old he tore his ACL and required surgery to fix it at 18 months old. [pediatric neutering is linked to ACL issues — read THIS] Later Max required surgery to remove a perianal tumor (which is said to be prevented by male neutering) And as a senior citizen he had prostate area tumors (again the neutering were said to prevent) So although I can’t say that neutering 100% caused these issues, it didn’t offer the protection we’re told it does for our guy and definitely INCREASED the odds of an ACL injury in our opinion.
Logically, when you think about Neutering it’s easy to understand why it would have a negative impact on health of the animal – especially when done at an early age (under 1 year old). Neutering is DESEXING an animal, it removes parts that produce male hormones – ALL OF THEM. And when done on a baby animal that the parts haven’t produced those hormones yet, their body NEVER gets essential hormones at all. Those hormones do more in the body than make dogs chase girls or hump your leg, they are vital to their healthy development.
From my research there is NO health benefit to neutering and from a behavioral standpoint I no longer feel that intact male dogs are any more behaviorally problematic than any other untrained dog.
Why we ARE Neutering Hercules
HOWEVER, despite all of these things we have decided to neuter Hercules. We believe that whole-heartedly responsible pet owners SHOULD keep their male dogs intact for their health.. and I’m not saying that we are irresponsible pet owners in any-way-shape-or-form..
Based on our lifestyle and the safety of Hercules we’ve decided that neutering is the BEST decision. There is only one reason we’re neutering him.. Girls.
We are avid hikers and from an early age Hercules has been an off-leash dog. We are frequently in different areas with varying surroundings and are unable to know the status of the local female dogs. No amount of training can GUARANTEE that Hercules will be able to resist the urge to go after “bitch in heat” that may be miles away. All of our love and caring can be negated if he is injured or lost in his effort to procreate.
The single thought of him running away from us after a girl and getting hit by a car is the most motivating factor for us to neuter him.
And yes we’ve considered other options like leaving him at home, keeping him on a constant leash, $800 electronic shock collar with GPS tracking, etc
We specifically choose a dog that would be an ideal companion in our active lifestyle (labs require activity) and leaving him at home is just plain ridiculous. As for idea constant leashing, obviously you’ve never really HIKED before! Of course when we’re out in public settings, in parks on paved/gravel paths with other people we always keep him on a leash – but imagine a robust, strong 80# year old lab on a leash going up a rocky hillside that’s covered in jagger bushes – Yeah we’d spend all day untagging the leash around tree, bushes and ourselves.. now imagine doing that for 5 miles while carrying a basked of wild foraged morel mushrooms, no thank you. And we just don’t have the money to spend on the state of the art electronic gps collar (and I’m sort-of opposed to shock treatment in general).. but if you have a rich aunt or something that want to send me a present we’ll gladly accept THIS as a gift for Hercules.
All along it’s been our plan to do both surgeries together. I didn’t want to put him through surgery any more often than necessary. In an effort to minimize the healthy risks with neutering we’ve delayed as long as we can, Hercules is nearly 15 months old.
Late March is when we start aggressively foraging & hiking – an early March surgery gives him enough time to heal and be ready to join us in the woods in a few weeks.
Both the Entropion & Neutering are taking place at the Beaver Animal Clinic on Tuesday, March 4th around 1:00 pm and I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures of him & his recovery here on my blog & on social media – Send us your hugs, thoughts and prayers .. I’m a nervous dog-momma.