Facts About Spaying and Neutering
Almost all pet owners would admit they have heard about things like pet overpopulation, crowding at animal shelters, the need for humane societies to help animals who don’t have homes and the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. The problem is, there are quite a few “myths” out there which can make deciding whether or not to have your pet altered very difficult. Here are a few common misconceptions as well as some great reasons to consider spaying or neutering your furry family members!
#1- If I neuter my male dog his “parts” won’t develop properly and he will chronically have problems with urination.
We hear this one quite a bit and it can be a little confusing. It is true that a male dog who is neutered at a young age (before a year of age) will often times have a male part that is somewhat smaller than a dog who has not been neutered. What isn’t true, though, is that this presents a problem for the dog with regards to urination. Aside from a few sideways glances by other male dogs at the dog park, this poses no problem for your male dog. These dogs are no more likely to develop urinary tract infections, urinary stones which can lead to blockages or difficulty passing urine.
#2 – If I spay my female dog she will get fat.
Again, this is a very common reason people will give for not wanting to have their female dog spayed. Although there may be some truth in that spayed female dogs can be more prone to weight gain than non-spayed female dogs, it isn’t true for the majority of dogs. Spaying your dog will not slate her to a life of obesity and health problems. In fact, the vast majority of dogs who have been spayed do not have problems with weight gain. And for those dogs who do have a tendency to put extra weight on, not only is it manageable, but the fact that they have been spayed may well have nothing to do with the weight problem. The risks of not spaying your female dog far outweigh the very small chance your dog will gain a pound or two if you do spay her.
#3 – I want our cat to have kittens so my family can experience raising baby kittens. Besides, I’m not contributing to pet overpopulation because I will find homes for all the kittens.
There is nothing as precious as a bundle of newborn kittens! They are furry, adorable and it seems nobody could resist taking one home. Taking responsibility for finding homes for kittens can be tough though. One must also consider the fact that there are so many kittens at the humane society and animal control during kitten season (spring and summer) that many are often euthanized because there aren’t enough homes. These same friends and family that might be convinced to take home one of your kittens might have found a wonderful kitten to rescue from the shelter! A great alternative for a family to experience the joy of kitten rearing is to volunteer to foster orphaned kittens. The animal shelter and humane societies are always in need of volunteers to raise kittens that have been orphaned and/or are too young to be placed in the shelter for adoption. When there aren’t enough volunteers, these young kittens are often euthanized. By fostering kittens, your family can experience feeding, caring for and raising kittens while knowing you are helping to save furry lives that might have otherwise been cut short.
#4 – I’m worried about the risks of surgery for my pet. It would be safer to leave them intact.
Certainly no surgery is without risk, and surgery to spay or neuter your pet is no exception. Although anesthesia and surgery can be performed the vast majority of the time with no complication, it can’t be said that problems never arise. That said, it is also important to consider the risks of NOT having your pet altered, for these far outnumber the risks of surgery. Here are some major risks associated with pets that have not been spayed or neutered:
· Greatly increased risk of mammary cancer (breast cancer) in females who haven’t been spayed before their first heat cycle
· Pyometra – an infection in the uterus of female dogs that often requires emergency care and surgery and can result in death
· Prostate problems – intact male dogs often suffer from prostatitis, prostatic cysts and prostate cancer
· Marking behavior and “yowling” in male cats who have not been neutered
· Problems with confinement – many unaltered pets tend to wander out of yards in search of love!!
· Aggression and fighting in male dogs and cats who have not been neutered
#5 – Breeding my dog will be a great way to make some money.
Now here’s another common thing we hear as a reason to not spay or neuter and there’s quite a bit to consider. We’ve all seen ads for puppies for sale for upwards of $500 dollars. It seems that letting your yellow lab have a litter of puppies would be a great way to make money! There are a few problems with this. We’ve seen numerous families absolutely heartbroken when the costs associated with caring for their pet rapidly exceed what they were hoping to make on the sale of any puppies. There can be thousands of dollars in cost associated with breeding your dog that most people don’t consider not to mention how “sellable” your puppies will be. Puppies that are not from registered parents can be much more difficult to find homes for and won’t always bring in as high of a dollar amount. Consider these costs:
· $1500-$2000 for a C-section if necessary. This can be very breed dependent too so be sure to find out if your pet falls into a category of breeds at high risk for need of a C-section
· Vaccinations and care for the puppies once they are born
· Care for the mother if there are complications after birth (eclampsia, mastitis, etc.)
· Increased food costs both for the mother while she is gestating and nursing and for the puppies
· Medical care for any puppies who become ill or have congenital problem.
The decision of whether or not to spay or neuter can be a tough one. Don’t be afraid to do some research, ask your veterinarian questions and become as well informed as you possibly can!
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