Parenting a French bulldog going through its adolescent years can be challenging. Just like testosterone-packed teenagers, intact male French bulldogs are prone to certain unwanted behaviors – from periodic binges of furniture destruction to mounting strangers in the park.
The simple solution would be to have your French bulldog neutered, right? But is neutering really that simple? What are the pros and cons of neutering your French bulldog? The pros include preventing and stopping the mentioned unwanted behaviors that stem from sexual frustration and decreasing the risk of specific health issues. On the other hand, the list of cons includes arguments like temperament changes, anesthesia risk, surgical procedure risks, and of course, the possibility of postoperative complications.
If you have a male French bulldog whose sex-related behaviors drive you crazy and considering having him neutered or looking into the procedure due to medical reasons, you have come to the right article. Keep reading as we will thoroughly review to pros and cons of neutering a French bulldog.
WHAT IS NEUTERING?
Before going through the pros and cons of neutering, we should explain what neutering means. To do that, we should start with an extremely short lesson in the anatomy of male reproductive system.
The male reproductive system includes
- Testes or male gonads – responsible for producing sperm and sex hormones
- Duct system (epididymis, vas deferens)
- Accessory glands (prostate, bulbourethral glands)
Neutering is a de-sex procedure that entails removing the gonads or testes. The testes removal per se is called castration. It is also popularly known as de-sexing or fixing. However, recently there are some debates regarding the term “fixing” because it implies there was something wrong in the first place.
The neutering procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and usually patients are released the same day, following their waking up and short monitoring time.
THE PROS OF NEUTERING YOUR FRENCH BULLDOG
🐶French bulldogs and unwanted male behaviors
The four basic unwanted male behaviors in French bulldogs, and male dogs in general, include urine marking, male-to-male aggression, humping, and roaming. Some of these behaviors are funny, some are embarrassing and some have the potential to become dangerous.
French bulldogs can express their sexual frustration in a plethora of creative ways. Here is a not so short list of what to expect from your intact French bulldog:
- Periodic destructiveness, in the form of digging, scratching, and chewing
- Pacing, inability to settle down, lack of focus
- Escapism efforts – fence scratching, door dashing, leash tearing
- Wandering or roaming
- Fence fighting, barking and lunging at random people
- Barking, lunging and fighting with other male dogs
- Offensive growling, snapping and biting other male dogs
- Pushy and bossy attitude toward handlers, caretakers and trainers
- Lack of cooperation and noncompliant behavior
- Disrespect, reluctance to obey commands, ignoring basic communication
- Unusual pulling and dragging during walks, accompanied by unnecessary sniffing, and licking female urine
- Extra interest in grooming the genital area
- Exhibiting sexual excitement when petted or simply given attention
- Mounting people, other animals or even objects
- More pronounced sense of territoriality and excessive urine marking, both indoors and outdoors
In addition to eliminating the behavioral aspect the above-listed problems, neutering decreases the risk of physical injuries from fighting and due to roaming, for example, car hits.
🐶French bulldog temperament after neutering
There is a long and ongoing debate regarding the influence of neutering on the dog’s temperament.
As shown above, neutering does eliminate some unwanted behaviors, which can be classified as temperament change. However, the dog’s temperament is a bit larger concept than just its sex-related behavior.
In those terms, lately, newer data suggest that neutered males tend to become calmer and more even-tempered as they age. On the contrary, spayed females tend to become snappier and more irritable.
🐶French bulldogs and certain disease risks
- Prostate issues
Prostate problems (enlargement, cysts, and infections) occur in 80% of intact males. They are not life-threatening but require intensive treatments that come with hefty price tags. Neutering helps prevent the incidence of prostate issues.
- Testicular issues
The testes’ infections and tumors are not common, but if present, they are relatively difficult to manage. Infections require long-term treatment with strong antibiotics.
Tumors develop in around 7% of intact dogs. Their treatment requires castration and, if spread, chemotherapy and radiation.
For obvious reasons, having your French bulldog neutered removes the risk of testicular issues.
- Perianal and anal fistulas
Perianal and anal fistula starts as deeper infections but eventually form canals that link them to the outside. Usually, those canals open in the anal and perianal region in the form of carbuncles. This is a nasty and overwhelming condition that requires prolonged treatment and has a recurring tendency. Neutering significantly decreases the risk of perianal and anal fistula.
If your French bulldog is intact and develops this issue, the vet will recommend neutering as part of the treatment strategy.
- Venereal diseases and tumors
Venereal diseases and tumors are reasonably common in mating French bulldogs. They are hard to treat and sometimes require aggressive and complex treatment approaches (strong antibiotics, surgery, chemotherapy). A neutered French bulldog cannot breed; hence no venereal diseases and tumors.
- Stronger immune system
Recently, there have been some studies and anecdotal evidence supporting the claim that neutered dogs, due to unknown underlying mechanisms, have stronger immune systems and are less susceptible to infectious diseases.
🐶French bulldogs, neutering, and the bigger picture
It may seem like stating the obvious, but neutering helps decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and consequently helps manage the dog overpopulation problem.
Over 3 million stray and shelter pets are killed each year due to overpopulation issues. In those terms neutering your French bulldog saves lives. No matter how careful you are accidents happen, and your Frenchie can get a female pregnant.
THE CONS OF NEUTERING YOUR FRENCH BULLDOG
🐶French bulldogs and certain disease risks
- Hypothyroidism and weight gain
Neutering affects the body’s overall hormonal balance to which the thyroid gland responds by producing lower levels of thyroid hormones.
The inadequate thyroid levels lead to increased appetite and fast weight gain. In fact, neutering and its potential hormonal imbalance triple the risk of dog obesity.
This issue, combined with the French bulldog’s natural fondness of food weight-gaining tendency, is a good reason to reconsider the neutering decision.
- Prostate cancer
Neutering decreases the risk of all prostate problems except one – prostate cancer. Unlike in humans, in dogs, prostate cancers are not testosterone dependent.
Therefore, contrary to widespread belief, neutering does not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
In fact, studies show neutering fourfold increases the risk. Bottom line, prostate cancers are generally rare in dogs but statistically more common in neutered dogs.
- Joint and bone issues
Joint issues such as cruciate ligament rupture and hip dysplasia are more frequently reported in neutered dogs, especially dogs neutered while less than one year of age.
Early neutering is also associated with an increased risk of osteosarcoma – an extremely severe type of bone cancer.
- Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS)
The canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease is a specific form of age-related cognitive impairment. Statistically, CDS is prevalent among neutered dogs.
🐶French bulldog neuter complications
The procedure itself is routine and generally not associated with significant complications. However, anesthesia is always risky. In fact, one in five dogs may react poorly to the anesthetic agents and develop further complications due to the anesthesia.
Given your French bulldog’s brachycephalic anatomy, you should definitely take the risk of anesthesia-related complications into consideration.
🐶French bulldog neuter recovery time
French bulldogs go back to their old self usually one to two days after the surgery. However, you should limit their physical activity for at least seven to ten days or until the sutures are removed.
Your support and presence are important during your French bulldog’s recovery time. And you should be prepared for some unusual but temporary behaviors.
🐶French bulldogs in dog shows
This is not a medical argument, but it is definitely something you need to consider if contemplating the idea to neuter your French bulldog. Neutering means the end of your French bulldog’s show career as show competitions prefer dogs with all their body parts present.
THE TIMING OF THE NEUTERING PROCEDURE
The general recommendation was to neuter French bulldogs and generally dogs when between six and nine months old. Recently, as more and more evidence emerges, it is becoming clear that the incidence of specific health issues is linked with early castration.
Basically, unless there is a reason for urgent castration, and honestly, there are not many situations in which neutering is considered an emergency, vets advise to wait until your Frenchie is at least one year.
However, this proposed timing is not set in stone. New discoveries and new researches are constantly molding the scientific aspect of neutering and providing new insights. In those terms, the ideal timing is something that needs to be discussed with your vet.
ALTERNATIVE NEUTERING SOLUTIONS
Today, there are specifically formulated medications that offer so-called “chemical castration”. These medications can decrease your French bulldog’s testosterone levels – something like a temporary and reversible neuter procedure.
If you are happy with the behavioral changes the temporary solution offered, you can arrange for your trusted vet to perform the surgical and permanent neutering procedure.
However, this is useful only if you want to stop your French bulldog’s hormone-related shenanigans temporarily or if you want to know what to expect after a surgical procedure.
If considering the procedure due to physical issues, the alternative chemical castration is not ideal for your French bulldog because of its limiting effects.
CONCLUSION: SHOULD I NEUTER MY FRENCH BULLDOG
Today, spaying and neutering are the accepted mainstream for dogs. Statistics show that around 80% of the dogs in the USA are de-sexed. In fact, unless you are a breeder, leaving your dog intact will probably earn you an “irresponsible dog owner” label.
However, things are not always black or white. While it is true that neutering solves some severe behavior issues and prevents others from developing in the long run, lately, there has been a growing body of research suggesting neutered dogs have a higher risk of developing certain conditions.
Therefore, there is no universal answer to the neutering conundrum. The decision about whether to neuter your French bulldog should be based on objective reasons thoroughly discussed with your trusted vet.