Spaying or Neutering Your Dog: The Facts

According to The Humane Society of The United States in 2009, over four million dogs and cats are euthanized every year and that number has grown. Overpopulation among animals continues to be problematic across the board and spaying or neutering your pet is one way to grapple with this epidemic.

Unless you plan on mating your animals for specific reasons (many purebred owners do so for show purposes or financial gain) there are no negatives associated to having them spayed or neutered; as a matter of fact, this procedure not only decreases overpopulation, it also contributes to the overall health and well-being of your dog. A dog in heat can make for a miserable time for both them and you. Additionally, particularly in males, neutering helps reduce aggression and masturbation and also lowers their risk of testicular and prostate cancers. In female canines, spaying rids of unwanted menstruation and decreases the risks of cancers such as breast and ovarian.

As with any surgical procedure, there are dangers associated with it. Most recognized are the general concerns with the anesthesia used for the procedures, however risks for healthy and young animals are extremely low. Secondly, many dogs, male and females experience weight gain. With male breeds bleeding into the scrotum; in female breeds’ infection and damage to the abdominal wound can offer, but again, these cases are rare and often easy to solve.

Be knowledgeable about common myths associated with neutering and spaying one of which is that you should allow your pet to have at least one litter of pups prior to the procedure. Medicinally there is no reason why your pet has to have one litter first and in fact, studies show that pets live healthier lives the younger the procedure is done.

Another common myth is that neutering and spaying will cause your pet to gain weight and influence their activity level. This is not so. Lazy and overweight pets are a direct result of their owner’s behavior and dedication to activity routines and feeding protocols.

Once the decision has been made to spay or neuter your pet there are a few things to consider. Medically speaking, your pet should have at least one in-heat cycle prior to having this procedure done. For females, depending on breed and size, their first cycle is typically between the first six to twelve months of life. Males experience their first heat cycle anywhere between six and twenty-four months after birth.

Research various clinics before making an appointment and consider the cost as this will vary considerably. Clinics often require a wellness check prior to having a surgical procedure and this may or may not be included in the surgical price quoted. Most states offer low cost neutering and spaying services. Call your local shelters for information.

Animal overpopulation is a serious social and humane issue and every pet owner should make responsible decisions when choosing to become a pet owner.