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For those of us who understand the benefits of spaying and neutering our dogs and cats, it can be hard to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t get their their pets fixed. Those in the know can help by sharing knowledge of the benefits, and debunking the all-to-common myths that are still believed by too many pet owners. If you are researching the pros and cons of spaying your dog or cat, or are looking for information to share with a friend or neighbor to educated them, this article will help you with facts so you or they can make a responsible, informed decision as a loving pet owner.

Here are just some of the great reasons to spay or neuter your dog or cat, and myths below that, courtesy of HSUS and the ASPCA:

1. Your pet will be happier.  If you care about your pet’s happiness, spaying or neutering is one of the kindest things you can do for them. See below for many of the reasons why.

2. Your pet will be healthier. In females, spaying helps prevent uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Females spayed before their first heat (4-5 months old) are the healthiest, but it helps at any age. For males, especially if done before 6 months of age, it prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.

3. Your pet will live longer. Because they are healthier (see #2), spayed and neutered pets have a significantly longer average lifespan. Also, neutered pets are also less likely to roam or fight (see #4), lengthening their lifespan.

4. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. This means you don’t have to deal with blood staining, yowling, and the more frequent urination – which can be all over your house! Female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. That’s a lot of mess and noise!

5. Your male pet is less likely to roam. An un-neutered male pet is driven by strong hormones to mate, and will often turn into a Houdini escape artist to get out of their home or yard, especially if there is a female in heat close by, or sometimes even miles away!

6. Your male pet will be friendlier. A fixed male is less likely to want to fight with other pets, even females, who may not appreciate his annoying ongoing advances.

7. Your female pet will be friendlier. When a female pet goes into heat, the hormones can make her behavior become erratic. A usually friendly pet who goes into heat can suddenly become aggressive with both people and other pets in the home.

8. Marking & humping will be reduced or eliminated. This true is for both dogs and cats, and especially for males. Also male dogs will be much less likely to ‘hump’ other dogs… or people’s legs or your couch cushions!

9. It will save you money. Fixed pets have fewer health problems so vet bills are lower. They are less likely to bite, avoiding potential costly lawsuits (80% of dog bites to humans are from intact male dogs). They are less likely to try to escape and do damage to your home or yard, or cause a car accident.

10. You are saving pets lives. You may say your pet will never get out or run away, but that’s what almost every pet owner thinks – accidents happen! Pet overpopulation is a problem everywhere. For every human born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born. There simply aren’t enough homes for all these animals.




Here are some of the common myths, with the truths explained:

Excuse: It is more natural to leave my pet unaltered.
Fact: It would also be more natural to live in a cave and not have pets at all. But humans have chosen to domesticate dogs and cats, and with that comes a responsibility to keep them safe, happy and healthy. See above for how spaying and neutering is an integral part of that responsibility.

Myth: My pet’s babies won’t contribute to pet overpopulation.
Fact: Even if your pet is a purebred, and you can find homes for all their babies, those are homes that could have adopted a pet – there are purebreds of almost every single breed  in shelters and rescues. And though you might be a lifetime pet owner, can you be sure that all your babies’ homes will never give up their pet to a shelter?

Myth: It will change my pet’s personality.
Fact: A dog’s personality is formed by genetics and environment, not by sex hormones. Ask anyone that has fixed their pet! There are some behaviors that are typically reduced by fixing your pet, but they are undesirable… unless you like a pet that territorially urinates, tries to fight more with other pets, or tries to escape to get out to find a mate!

Myth: My pet will get fat.
Fact: Just like with people, metabolism and food intake is what determines if a pet becomes overweight. Just visit a shelter to see all the overweight unfixed pets! Fixed pets can be calmer, so do sometimes need to eat less.

Excuse: My pet will never escape.
Sit at an animal shelter intake desk for 1 day, and listen to how many owner’s reclaiming their pets say exactly that. Accidents happen. Don’t let the accident be your pet escaping and causing yet one more oops litter.

Dog spaying is the surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus and the ovaries. The medical term used for spaying is ovariohysterectomy. Spaying refers only to the procedure of sterilization of a female dog.

A female dog has her first heat cycle when she is 6 to 9 months old. The heat cycle occurs twice per year, and this is when the dog can get pregnant. Spaying can prevent pregnancies.

What’s the Best Time for Spaying?

Spaying is recommended at any age of your dog. However, the best time for the procedure is before your dog has her first heat cycle. This will make the procedure less complicated.

It’s not recommended to spay the dog while she is in heat or pregnant. The procedure may lead to complications.

How Long Does Surgery Take?

Spaying surgery is an uncomplicated procedure. The vet will make an incision and remove the uterus and the ovaries. In the least complicated case, prior to the dog’s first heat cycle, the procedure takes up to 30 minutes.

Are There Sterilization Surgery Complications?

Sterilization may have complications including infections or hemorrhage. The anesthesia may create complications, especially if the dog is older or has a medical condition.

The dog may experience recurrent heat cycles if the ovaries are not properly removed.

How Do I Care for the Dog Post-Surgery?

The dog will be released from the vet hospital on the day of the surgery. She will feel no discomfort and can put up with the pain. However, she should be less active for the following 2 weeks. Make sure she doesn’t lick the wound and check the wound to make sure it’s not red or swollen.

What Behavioral Changes Can I Expect?

Spaying will change your dog’s behavior. She will be friendlier and less active. You will no longer have to put up with the behavior changes related to the heat cycles. Dogs with aggressive and dominant behavior may also become more quiet and obedient.

What Are the Spaying Health Benefits?

After the removal of the ovaries and the uterus, your dog will not be able to have any more litters and she will not have heat cycles. She won’t be at high risk for reproductive system or mammary cancers and uterine infections.

What Are the Drawbacks of Sterilization?

Spayed dogs are prone to joint problems, cancers and thyroid disease. A sterilized dog is more likely to suffer from bladder incontinence.

What is Spaying through Laser Surgery?

Spaying may be performed with a laser beam as well. The surgery is faster, less painful and the bleeding is minimal. However, the surgery wounds will take longer to heal.

What is the Spayed Dog’s Diet?

There is no special diet recommended for spayed dogs. However, your pet is susceptible to weight gain, so you will have to take care of her diet to prevent other health complications related to heart conditions or joint problems. Feed her 1/3 of the amount of food you used to feed her, and make sure she gets some exercise. Remember that spaying alone doesn’t make your dog fat.

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