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Department of Premier and Cabinet

De-sexing FAQs

De-sexing is not compulsory for ordinary dogs under the Dog Control Act. However, de-sexing can have many positive benefits for the community, those who must handle dogs, and dogs themselves.

All dog owners should consider the benefits of having their dog de-sexed.

Why should I have my dog de-sexed?

De-sexing is an important step in avoiding unwanted pregnancies in dogs. Much of the pressure faced by our Dog Homes is created by the litters resulting from unplanned breeding. Unfortunately, not all dogs placed in Dog Homes can be found new owners and many have to be euthanised. De-sexing can help minimise this problem.

De-sexing generally reduces behavioural problems in dogs such as roaming, aggression and territorial scent marking by male dogs. It can reduce mating behaviour and false pregnancies in female dogs.

What benefits can de-sexing have for my dog?

It is generally recognised that de-sexing provides some health advantages to dogs.

De-sexing can reduce the incidence of diseases and illnesses.

For example, female dogs will be less likely to suffer from mammary cancer and uterine infections. Heat cycles in female dogs are also eliminated.

Similarly, male dogs can be expected to have lower levels of cancer and prostate problems.

As a result, de-sexed dogs usually live longer and have healthier lives.

When should I have my dog de-sexed?

It is generally accepted that dogs should be de-sexed before they are five to six months old. Most dogs are de-sexed between three and six months of age.

RSPCA Australia recommends early age de-sexing from the age of eight weeks.
The RSPCA says early age sterilisation is simpler and recovery is rapid and straightforward.

There is no evidence to support the commonly held view that dogs should be allowed to have a litter before being de-sexed.

Will de-sexing hurt my dog or have long lasting effects?

De-sexing is a surgical sterilisation procedure carried out by a veterinary surgeon. Veterinary surgeons have all the facilities and training needed to carry out this surgery safely and effectively.

As de-sexing generally reduces the incidence of diseases and illnesses, de-sexed dogs can be expected to have longer and healthier lives.

I have heard that a female dog should have a litter before being de-sexed. Is this true?

No. This is a myth - there is no evidence to support the commonly held view that whelping will have a calming effect on, or improve the behaviour of, female dogs.

On the contrary, it is de-sexing which is more likely to have a calming effect on behaviour.

Where can I have my dog de-sexed?

De-sexing must be carried out by a registered veterinary surgeon.

De-sexing is a surgical procedure requiring proper skills, equipment and facilities.

Veterinary surgery carried out by a person who is not a registered veterinary surgeon is on offence under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1987, punishable by a fine of up to $6,500.

What other benefits result from de-sexing?

Dog owners have several responsibilities under the Dog Control Act. These include keeping a dog under effective control and confining a bitch on heat. Failures to carry out these responsibilities are offences punishable by fines of up to $650 and $260 respectively.

De-sexed male dogs are less prone to territorial marking and therefore straying. The owner of a de-sexed male dog may therefore be less susceptible to being fined for having a dog at large.

As heat cycles are eliminated in spayed females their owners would no longer have to ensure their confinement while on heat.

There are also often financial benefits from having your dog de-sexed as many councils offer discounts on registration fees for dogs that have been de-sexed.

Can my dog be compulsorily de-sexed?

If your dog is declared a dangerous or restricted breed dog after 1 July 2010 it must be de-sexed and micro-chipped within 28 days. Dogs declared a dangerous dog prior to
I July 2010 will also have to be de-sexed. The owner is responsible for these costs.

After 1 July 2010, failure to ensure that a dangerous or restricted breed dog is de-sexed and microchipped will be an offence punishable by a fine of up to $2,600. A dangerous or restricted breed dog that has not been de-sexed and microchipped may also be seized and detained.

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