What You Need To Know About Spaying and Neutering
Dogs and Cats
Spaying and Neutering
by Karen Peak
Having spent years as an animal shelter volunteer and knowing
many respectable breeders as well as many who are not, this is a
very important issue to me. I strongly urge everyone to spay or
neuter his or her pet: dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. Tens of
thousands of unwanted pets of all ages and species are killed
each year in shelters, abandoned, given to poor homes and dying
deaths that are horrible. Packs of feral (domestic animals
returned to a “wild” existence) cause damage to property, people,
livestock and spread diseases such as rabies.
Benefits of spaying and neutering
Neutering a male eliminates the possibility of testicular tumors
and greatly reduces the chance of prostate problems. Neutering
decreases the incidence of perianal tumors and hernias, which are
commonly observed in older, unaltered males. Neutered males are
less likely to try to escape a yard to find a female in season.
This reduces the likelihood of them being hit by cars, getting
into fights or lost. (Neutering is no substitute for a securely
fenced yard, however).
Females spayed before their first estrous cycle (“heat”) greatly
reduces her chance of mammary tumors, ovarian cancer and uterine
infection (all of which can be fatal and costly to treat). A
spayed female eliminates the neighborhood stray males from
camping out on your lawn trying to get at your female when she
comes into “heat.” Giving birth to a litter can be dangerous to
your female. Some breeds have a high rate of cesarean sections,
which are expensive and can be risky.
Spaying and neutering before maturity also offers a
temperament benefit. Males neutered early in life tend to be less
aggressive and less distracted. Neutered males are less likely to
scent mark (real problem when they decide to mark inside the
house). A spayed female also does not hormonally based swings and
will be more focused on you as well. A female with a litter can
become very aggressive, even to family members. Spaying also
makes your female a better companion.
Do you know that a single male and female and their offspring can
produce thousands of offspring in six years? Think, a female can
have a litter as young as six months and then have one every six
months after that. Each litter can have an average of six
offspring and each female offspring will be able to breed at
about six months of age, the math can be mind-boggling! A male
dog can impregnate as many females as he can get to in a day. Sit
down and really play around with numbers... It gives me a
headache... And just because a puppy is cute, does not mean it
will find a home. Every year, tens of thousands of dogs and
puppies, purebred and crosses are euthanized in shelters. More
die on the streets or live shortened lives of neglect, abuse and
Risks associated with breeding
If this has not convinced you, let’s look at some risks
associated with breeding. What you see on Lassie and Disney with
a loving mother dog (or cat) and her fat, healthy brood is
Hollywood. Reality is that there can be serious risks involved
with breeding. The mother may develop complications and require
immediate medical intervention. Mothers may abandon puppies
leaving you to hand rear. This include feeding a special formula
every two hours, round the clock, stimulating the puppies to
eliminate, checking weights daily, maintaining proper
temperatures and humidity, etc. Even puppies whose mother cares
for them may require supplemental feedings. Puppies can be
stillborn or born horribly deformed. I know one breeder whose
female gave birth to puppies that were no more than sacks of
tissue and visible bone. Are your prepared to deal with things
such as cleft palate, hydrocephaly or other problems some breeds
may be prone to? Are you willing to face the fact you could have
to euthanize puppies? Are you willing to make certain the mother
is up to date on all inoculations and have the puppies get
their’s as well before going to homes? Diseases such as
Parvovirus can kill puppies fast. Are you willing to risk your
wonderful female becoming a biting terror as she protects
puppies? Are you willing to risk the life of your pet?
Cost of spaying or neutering
The cost of spaying and neutering is far less than you would
spend getting a litter of puppies all their shots. It is less
than paying for surgery for testicular tumors or treating a
uterine infection. The cost of neutering is far less than having
to patch up your male who tried to cross a busy street to get at
an unspayed female. I have known males to try and cross six lane
highways! The cost of spaying or neutering is less than having
you carpets cleaned because your dog is marking his territory or
your female spotted on your beige rug.
Responsible breeders are lucky if they break even when they sell
puppies. Responsible breeders breed to improve a breed of dog,
not to make money. The costs of tests alone to see if a dog is
healthy to breed can cost more than what is recouped when puppies
are sold. A responsible breeder breeds to improve the breed in
looks, temperament, working ability and other areas. They do not
breed to make puppies for retail sale. Puppies who they do not
think fit their needs or is an improvement on their blood lines
or is a solid representative of the breed may be sold with an
agreement the puppy will be spayed or neutered to prevent
undesirable traits from passing on.
My pet will get fat and lazy.
Spay and neutering may diminish your pet’s want to roam.
Inactivity and poor feeding habits are generally the culprits in
your pet’s weight gain. Feed a good quality food, give your pet
exercise and adjust the food level to your pet’s activity level.
My pet’s personality will change.
The change will be for the better as explained above.
My children should witness the miracle of birth.
Get the videotape. It is less expensive. Plus, as illustrated
above, your children can witness far more than you wish... Avoid
We can make money selling the babies.
The cost of raising a litter properly will consume the majority
of your “profit.” There are too many puppies and kittens that
need homes. Why contribute to this? Finding good homes can be
difficult. What will you do with “surplus” offspring? Can you
afford to keep multiple animals? Are you zoned to keep multiple
I am concerned about anesthesia.
This is a common concern. There is always a risk with any
procedure that requiring anesthesia. Many vets use monitors to
kept track of heart rate and respiration during surgery. Talk to
you vet about your concerns. The medical benefits far outweigh
the slight risk involved with spaying or neutering.
I hope I have given you something to think about and you will
make the right choice. Just because a pet is purebred or cute
does not mean it should be bred. Your dog can compete in almost
all canine sports if spayed or neutered: obedience, agility,
herding, tracking, field trials, and terrier trials. Your pet
will enjoy a longer, happier life as well.
(Thanks to my vet for helping me with this)
From Karen Peak of West Wind Dog Training
Please visit Karen's site:
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