|Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Dog|
People like us, who spend most of our “free” time rescuing homeless dogs, always offer one big reason for spaying or neutering your dog: the appalling pet overpopulation problem that results in thousands of pets being euthanized (killed) every day.
These alarming statistics present a good enough reason, all by themselves, for preventing more pet animal births. Simply put, the widespread failure to spay or neuter dogs results in homelessness, misery, cruelty, and death. (source 1, source 2)
|What’s In It for You?|
Even though an action may be good for the community, people have a natural tendency to ask what benefits they will receive. Here are some benefits you and your dog can expect when you have your dog spayed or neutered.
Better health. A dog that is spayed or neutered has no chance of developing uterine or testicular cancer; in females, the risk of breast cancer and urinary infections is drastically reduced. Reproductive cancers are common among older dogs that have been bred.
Male dogs that are neutered when young are much less likely to roam,
mark their territory (and your belongings) with urine, and show
aggression toward other male dogs. Intact (unneutered) male dogs will
go to great lengths to get to a female dog in heat—they will dig their
way out of yards, break fences and leashes, and cross streets in heavy
traffic if a female in heat is in the area.
|Myths About Spaying/Neutering|
Some people don’t want to spay or
neuter their dog because they have heard about some bad “side effects”
of the surgery, or because they have picked up some mistaken ideas
along the way. There are a number of myths about spaying and
neutering. Here are a few of the most common, and the truth about
Altering makes a dog fat. Spaying or neutering at the youngest possible age—before the dog has reached sexual maturity—generally has no effect whatsoever on weight. Dogs who undergo the surgery after reaching sexual maturity may show an increased appetite because altering affects hormone balance. However, dogs who are fat are usually fat because they are fed too much and/or do not get enough exercise.
Altering makes a dog lazy. Neutering reduces a male dog’s desire to roam (often over long distances) to find female dogs in heat, and altering can somewhat reduce a dog’s energy level. Altering does not make dogs lazy. Altered dogs are as playful and energetic as intact dogs.
Altering changes a dog’s personality. The only personality changes that result from spaying or neutering are the positive changes described above—no roaming, less tendency to mark territory, and less aggression. Aside from these changes, your dog will be no less like himself than humans are after undergoing vasectomy or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries).
My dog has a right to experience sex. Sex, for a dog, is nothing more than the result of a powerful instinctive drive to reproduce. People who worry about this issue are usually over-identifying with their dog. This is an excuse often presented by men, who cringe at the very idea of castration—even though it is a painless surgical procedure being performed on their dog, not on them.
It’s a good thing for our children to see the miracle of birth. Bringing more puppies into a world already overburdened with thousands of homeless dogs is not the best way to show your children the birth process. You can show them videos or even let them witness live human births on the internet. You might also want to consider that if you allow your dog to have puppies so that your children can observe the miracle of birth, you should also take your children to an animal shelter, so they can observe the sad results—the thousands of dogs who are killed every day because no one will give them a home.
|What about the Expense?|
While it is true
that surgery for your dog costs money, you should be aware that the
cost of altering your dog will save you money in medical care in the
long run, because your dog is less likely to develop common diseases
that afflict unaltered animals as they age. Also, providing basic
veterinary care for the life of your dog—annual exams, required
vaccinations, heartworm prevention, and so on—will cost a considerable
amount of money, and altering is just another of those expenses.
Use any search engine on the web (Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc.) to find extensive lists of clinics by city and state. Try “low-cost neuter” to start your search.
For much more information on spaying and neutering, including a page about this issue written for children, check out www.wonderpuppy.net.
Grace was dumped in the desert, then taken in by a family who dumped her at a kill shelter when they realized she was pregnant. She was rescued, and delivered 3 days later.
Please spay and neuter your dog!