When you adopt a new dog into your family, one of the first questions you’re faced with is whether to have your pup spayed or neutered. While the topic can be controversial, it’s important to know the facts so that you can make the best decision possible for your family. Spoiler alert: It’s a good idea to spay or neuter your dog. Keep reading to learn why sterilizing your dog is the compassionate choice not only for your pet, but for pets everywhere.
What does it mean to have your dog spayed or neutered?
Having your dog spayed or neutered means getting a sterilization procedure done so that they’re not able to reproduce. While both surgeries have the same end goal, they differ based on your dog’s anatomy.
A female dog’s sterilization surgery is technically an ovariohysterectomy, but is commonly referred to as a spay, says VCA Animal Hospitals. When a dog is spayed, her uterus and ovaries are completely removed, so she can no longer go into heat, become pregnant, or give birth.
A male dog’s sterilization surgery is a neuter. In this procedure, his testicles are removed via a small incision, says MSPCA Angell. This surgery removes the dog’s primary source of testosterone, so his sex drive decreases and he can no longer impregnate a female dog.
What are the advantages of getting your dog spayed or neutered?
Unless you’re a licensed, professional animal breeder, it’s generally recommended that you get your dog sterilized. Not only does a spay/neuter help prevent unwanted litters, but it also has benefits for your pet’s health and beyond.
Experts at Brown University state that spaying your dog before she hits sexual maturity significantly decreases her chance of developing breast cancer, and eliminates her odds of getting uterine infections, uterine cancer, or ovarian cancer, which may prove fatal. Neutering may prevent tumors and hernias.
Neutering a male dog early in his life makes him less aggressive and less prone to wandering away from home in search of a mate, according to Brown University. And because spayed females can’t go into heat, they won’t attract stray males, and they won’t bleed twice a year for ten days at a time.
Animal overpopulation is a serious problem. The World Animal Foundation reports that there are over 200 million stray dogs worldwide. When you leave a dog unaltered — or without a spay or neuter — they are more likely to start litters. A single litter typically has five to six puppies, but can have up to 24. That’s a lot of puppies that may not have been planned for, and may not have access to a home or the resources they need to thrive. Sterilizing your dog helps keep overpopulation under control by not contributing to the amount of puppies that need homes.
Reasons You May Have Heard To Not Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Regardless of the health, behavior, and community benefits of dog sterilization, many people think it’s best not to spay or neuter their pet. Brown University provides the biggest excuses people give, and why these reasons are not valid.
We can sell puppies for profit.
Dog breeding isn’t commonly a lucrative business — at least when it’s done properly. The cost of stud fees (finding the right male dog to impregnate a female), medical care, vaccinations, and more can be exorbitant. Professionals pick a certain breed, and then raise the health of behavioral standard of the breeds that they raise. Backyard breeding — when inexperienced breeders do it for profit — is irresponsible and inhumane.
Our dog’s personality will change.
Yes, it will, but only for the better. Sterilized dogs are better pets, because they’re tamer, more docile, and don’t wander or spray (mark territory with their urine) as often.
Our dog will get lazy and gain weight.
Though sterilization may change your dog’s activity level and hormonal balances, spaying or neutering alone isn’t responsible for making a dog overweight. Any dog that is fed and exercised a healthy amount should be a healthy weight, sterilized or not.
We’re scared of allowing our dog to be put under.
When getting spayed or neutered, a dog will be put under anesthesia. While that can be intimidating, sterilization surgery is common — professional veterinarians perform them often. They also have technology and equipment to monitor the dog’s health while they are under. While there is risk involved in any surgery, the benefits of sterilization far outweigh any potential dangers.
We love our current dogs and want more just like them!
Having two dogs you love is truly a treasure. And while you may want more dogs like them, breeding them isn’t the way to do it. Not only is backyard breeding unethical, but it also doesn’t guarantee your desired outcome. With mixed breeds, it’s highly unlikely that any puppies in the litter will be just like one of the parents.
With so many dogs available for adoption from shelters and reputable breeders, it’s best to sterilize your own pet. Recovery may take some time, but it’s worth it in the long run.
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