In another ‘episode’ of Ask the Jug Dog, we have an anatomical question related specifically to male dogs…
“I have a 3-year-old Labrador who has had the snip (neutered) for around 2 years now but recently he’s started getting erections at random times. I thought neutered dogs couldn’t get it up anymore? Should I be worried?”.Joseph Holden, 34, Newcastle
This is a common question we get at the Jug Dog. There are many assumptions out there about what neutering/castration/the snip actually does and what it doesn’t.
Many people have their dog neutered to calm them down or to make sure they don’t give you any unexpected visitors at your door angry their dog’s pregnant.
Generally speaking, neutered dogs can occasionally experience erections, although the frequency and intensity are typically reduced compared to pre-op. Even after the operation, some dogs may still exhibit residual sexual behaviours due to the presence of other hormones and sensory stimuli.
How can neutered dogs still get erections?
Let’s dispel the myth right here – neutered dogs can and probably will get erections.
When a dog is neutered, the testosterone factory is inhibited, and their puppy-making semen is no longer in production, but that doesn’t stop your dog from getting excited and, therefore, having an erection.
They will have fewer erections, stop humping everything in sight and won’t feel the need to mark their territory as much after neutering, but it won’t stop completely.
Erections are a physiological response that involves blood flow to the penis. Neutering primarily removes the testicles, however, some testosterone can still be produced by other tissues in the body, such as the adrenal glands.
If your dog gets excited, for whatever reason, the body can react by sending blood to the penis along with the baculum (penis bone) to produce an erection which looks a little bit like lipstick sticking out.
Neutering doesn’t remove the baculum and does not stop the blood flow to the penis, and that is why neutered dogs can and will get erections.
What is Paraphimosis in neutered dogs?
Generally, paraphimosis or “red rocket” can still occur in neutered dogs. This medical emergency can occur for various reasons, such as trauma, anatomical abnormalities, or even after sexual arousal. It can lead to great discomfort, pain and further complications if medical assistance isn’t sought.
Paraphimosis is a medical term for an erection that won’t go away, which is a genuine concern for the dog and you, the owner.
If your dog’s erection has been present for an abnormal time and looks discomfort, medical attention should be sought immediately.
In the meantime, ensure the penis stays moist with lubrication because dryness and irritation are the biggest concerns due to overexposure.
Can neutered dogs still get aroused?
According to The Kennel Club, dogs can still get aroused and display excitement or interest in mounting behaviours over bitches. However, these are often driven more by social cues and playfulness than reproductive instincts. It’s important to note that individual responses can vary, and a dog behaviourist must be consulted for further advice.
What to do if your neutered dog has an erection?
There are several reasons why your neutered dog is suddenly having an erection. Mostly, it’s not a big concern, but as dog parents, we can’t leave anything to chance, can we?
Let’s dig into the most common reasons and respective solutions.
1. Residual Testosterone
Although testosterone levels are significantly reduced after neutering, trace amounts can remain in the body for a while.
Erections caused by the residual testosterone and no external stimuli can be ignored without worry. They’re temporary and will definitely decrease over time.
2. Sexual Excitement
Dogs can experience excitement from various stimuli, leading to a temporary erection. They can still likely mate after neutering; the process reduces the overall desire – don’t forget that.
This is completely normal behaviour, albeit rarer for a neutered dog. In a case like this, distract your dog with a command or a toy to redirect their attention.
Positive emotions can trigger physiological responses, including erections. Enjoy the moment – it’s a sign of a contented pup!
Like humans, dogs might exhibit stress-related behaviours, including erections. In such a situation, you should create a calming environment and engage in relaxing activities.
It’s a medical condition that still happens as we have discussed in this article.
Can neutered dogs still mate?
The idea of mating neutered dogs might raise curiosity, but the ability and desire are significantly diminished after the surgery.
Neutered dogs cannot mate as they don’t produce sperm and cannot father puppies. The operation involves the removal of the testicles, which are the primary source of reproductive hormones. Without these, the ability to impregnate a female dog is virtually eliminated.
But what about the urge? Is that still there?
Neutered dogs may still have the urge to participate in mounting behaviour. While the operation reduces the hormonal drive for mating behaviours, it’s essential to recognise that the behaviour is often a social interaction influenced by factors such as playfulness, dominance, or establishing social hierarchy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why do dogs hump even after getting neutered?
Humping, or mounting behaviour, is a topic that often raises eyebrows among dog owners, even after neutering. While neutering can curb certain behaviours, humping might persist for various reasons, such as:
- Social interaction
- Habitual behaviour
- Exploring the territory
It’s important to note that mounting behaviour can be managed through training and redirection techniques.
2. Does a dog’s sexual behaviour change after neutering?
A neutered dog’s sexual behaviour typically undergoes significant changes. Neutering decreases the hormonal drive for mating and related behaviours. While neutered dogs may still exhibit some interest in mating behaviours, the intensity and frequency are notably reduced.
3. How long do post-neutering erections last?
Post-neutering erections are often temporary and tend to occur less frequently over time. As the residual testosterone levels decrease, these occurrences become less common. If you notice these erections diminishing gradually, it’s a sign that the hormonal effects of neutering are taking their course.
4. Can these erections cause discomfort for my dog?
In most cases, post-neutering erections do not cause discomfort for dogs. They are typically physiological responses driven by residual hormones rather than pain or discomfort. If you observe any signs of distress or if the erections persist and become a concern, consulting a veterinarian is recommended.