PUPPY LOVE WITH KATE WHITNEY
By: PuppyGirl Kate Whitney – October, 2010
Spaying and neutering has become “the norm” for today’s pet owners, but how many of you do it because it’s “the right thing to do” and don’t really know why it is the right thing to do? For anyone that does not know or has yet to have their dog or cat fixed, I hope this article will provide good reason.
Every day there are thousands of dogs and cats dying in shelters around the US. Spaying and Neutering not only provides health benefits, but it drastically helps to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs that are born every year.
Did you know that dogs that are fixed will have an average life increase of 1 to 3 years and cats that are fixed have an average increase of 3 to 5 years? That alone should make the decision a simple one.
Let’s discuss many of the benefits of spaying (which is for females).
First of all, if you can, get your dog spayed as early as your vet will allow; most vets will spay anytime after 8 weeks old.
If you prefer to wait a little bit, try and get it done before your dog has its first heat cycle. If your dog is spayed, there are many negatives that you will avoid. Your dog will not have a heat cycle; therefore male dogs will not be attracted to your female dog.
The dog will have less of a desire to roam, therefore keeping your dog safe. And this is the biggest one for me: the risk of mammary gland tumors. As a result of the spaying, ovarian and uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first head cycle. The facts make the correct decision clear: if you can prevent or at least reduce the risk of your dog having certain cancers, why the heck wouldn’t you?
So now let’s talk about neutering. Let’s get one thing straight…for all the guys who read this article and have male dogs…when you get your dog neutered, you are getting your dog neutered. You are not the one on the operating table. I hate when I hear people say “it will change his personality” or “he’s going to be a different dog” or “that procedure would hurt so much”. It doesn’t hurt and your dog will only change for the better! His personality won’t change, he’s just going to be healthier in the long run. Ok, now that we have that figured out, let’s talk about the benefits. Neutering your pet reduces or completely eliminates the risk of spraying or marking. We’ve all been witness to those male dogs and cats that lift there legs whenever they so choose. Well that behavior can stop, with a simple little snip.
There is also less of a desire to roam, which means that there is a decrease in the chance of your pet getting hit by a car, stolen, or in a fight with another animal. Even if you think that your dog will never get out or leave your sight, why take the chance? No one plans for an accident, but they happen. I have two indoor cats and they are both fixed. I never plan on them getting out, they live quite a great life in the safety of my house, but I don’t want to risk it, and I realize the significant health benefits that come along with sterilization.
Another benefit is that the potential risk of testicular cancer is eliminated and it decreases the risk of prostate disease. Neutering also produces a decrease in aggressive behavior like dog bites. And once again, just like spaying, it reduces the number of unwanted kittens and puppies. An unaltered male cat can produce hundreds of kittens per year. Walk into any animal shelter and you will see that there is NO shortage of cats and kittens!
It is extremely frustrating to walk down the street and see an “intact” male dog walking in front of me. Not only is it disgusting to look at but it is disappointing that people are still uneducated about the benefits of spaying and neutering, and the importance of reducing the population of dogs and cats. I believe that neglecting to get your pet fixed for breeding purposes is selfish and cruel. There are just too many unwanted dogs dying every day in shelters. Be responsible. If you breed your dog, you are taking the potential homes away from dogs in shelters that have been waiting for them, and you may even be taking away their lives..
There are many low cost spay/neuter clinics. If you can’t afford to have the procedure done at your vet, look for one of these clinics. Remember, fixing your pet is a decision that responsible pet owners make. If you can not afford to have this procedure done, please think twice before getting a pet. They aren’t cheap. Vet bills, food, etc. add up so make sure you have the means to provide all the necessities for your pet before you take on into your home.
Furthermore, have you ever thought about who pays for stray animals? Are you a taxpayer? Then it’s you who pays! To capture, house, and eventually “destroy” a stray dog or cat costs money – billions of dollars every year. Many stray animals have rabies and other diseases. We need to make an effort to help control the number of strays on the streets.
I’m part of an online dog rescue group in which we help arrange for transport of homeless dogs. One lady’s comment resonated with me. Elana said, “the day my inbox is not filled with pleas for transport and rescue from kill shelters is the day that I MIGHT believe that there is a potential shortage of shelter pets.” So remember, in addition to fixing your pets please remember to adopt, not shop. If you don’t have a dog or cat but would like to help, then spread the word about how important spaying and neutering is. You can also make a donation to a local shelter, rescue or clinic and ask that the money be used to pay for a spay/neuter procedure on a homeless animal. If you are interested in contacting a clinic, just type in “low cost spay/neuter clinic in MA” in your search engine and a list will come up.
The bottom line is simple: spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives. It is only appropriate to end with the legendary sign-off made popular by the retired Price is Right host Bob Barker: Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.
Kate Whitney is a Boxford resident and owner of the Swingrite Corporation. If you are interested in adopting a puppy or becoming a foster parent to a puppy waiting for a home you can email Kate at Kwswingrite@aol.com