Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners, like you, can make a difference.
10 Reasons why:
1. Unwanted pregnancies
The problem with an intact male is that it’s hard for him to resist a female in heat! An intact male can run away and follow the smell of a female in heat located miles away.
If your male procreates with somebody’s prized female, you may be liable.
If your female has an unwanted pregnancy, those pups are now your responsibility, whether you want them or not.
Suddenly, the miracle of life has a bittersweet taste, doesn’t it?
2. Pet overpopulation
This may seem more of an issue in the “shelter animal” world but we routinely see “Oops” pregnancies in our “owned animal” population that also contribute to the overpopulation issue. 3 to 4 million unwanted pets are euthanized each year. At least some of these deaths could have been prevented by neutering males (and spaying females). In the shelter world, this is known as pet overpopulation.
Unneutered pets are more prone to behavioral issues. In male dogs, the most common behavior is aggression. Of course, there are many intact pets who are perfectly sweet. Neutering, when done early in life, can make it easier to train difficult tempered dogs and thereby reduce aggressiveness and improve behavior overall. It also decreases the always-embarrassing “mounting” behavior in dogs.
Few things smell worse than intact male cat urine. Some people make their indoor cat an outdoor cat when they can’t tolerate the smell anymore. This increases the risk of fights and vehicle trauma. Neutering, when done early enough in life, virtually eliminates the odor of male cat urine and should prevent marking in male dogs.
5. Roaming and getting in trouble
Pets are rarely taught how to cross the street safely. So as they roam, searching for a partner or looking for trouble, they might get hit by a car. Neutering decreases the urge to roam or run away from home. In addition, neutering decreases the risk of getting into fights, notoriously in tomcats. They commonly get abscesses from these fights.
We regularly see wounds from dog bites, and it’s rarely pretty. We have seen many dogs die after getting attacked by another dog.
6. Roaming and getting lost
Every year, millions of pets get lost. Some are returned to their owners. Most are not. To decrease the risk of such a tragedy happening in your family, neuter your pet, pet-proof the fence in your backyard and always keep your pet on a leash during walks. In addition, invest in a pet microchip. This inexpensive, easy to administer chip is a great insurance policy against losing your pet. And no pet microchips do not listen to your conversations or let the government track your pet’s location….yet!
7. Prostate and Uterine disease
Intact male dogs can have a number of diseases of the prostate including cysts, abscesses, and enlargement. The latter is called “benign prostatic hyperplasia,” just as in older men. Neutering (of dogs!) prevents these problems.
Intact females have an increased risk of uterine infection (Pyometra) which is a life-threatening condition requiring emergency surgery and a high risk of mortality.
10. Mammary and Testicular tumors
Every heat cycle a female dog has increases the risk of breast (mammary) cancer significantly. A very common form of cancer in pets, half of all mammary cancer’s are malignant/aggressive and therefore life-threatening. Spaying significantly reduces the risk of this devastating condition.
Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. Although rare, this condition, mostly seen in intact male dogs, is believed to be due to testosterone (from the testicles). It’s simple, really: no testicles, no testicular cancer.
9. Perineal hernia
A perineal hernia is a fixable but annoying problem mostly seen in intact male dogs. Organs from the belly can slip or herniate through weakened muscles in the pelvis. The consequence is a bulge on one or both sides of the anus. The hernia can contain fat, fluid or even the bladder. These hernias classically cause constipation. This condition is believed to be due to testosterone (from the testicles). Neutering dramatically reduces the risk of these hernias.
Yet another reason to neuter is to prevent spreading bad genes. Pets with hip dysplasia, eye diseases, heart conditions, poor temperament, debilitating brachycephalic syndrome, and many other genetic conditions should not be allowed to breed.
What are the risks of spaying and neutering?
Although reproductive hormones cause mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners, these hormones also affect your pet’s overall health and can be beneficial. Removing your pet’s ovaries or testes removes these hormones and can result in an increased risk of health problems such as urinary incontinence and some types of cancer.
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is extremely low.
Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that he/she is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery, your pet is monitored throughout their procedure by expert Registered Veterinary Technicians and medications are administered to minimize pain.
You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal and they should wear a cone or T-shirt to prevent them from licking at the surgical site.
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
This is where it gets complicated. There is NO right or wrong answer here, consult with one of our friendly veterinarians about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon his/her breed, age, and physical condition.
How do I decide?
We know how much your pet means to you. We are an expert resource for you and are here to help you make an educated decision about what’s best for both you and your fur baby!
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” -Edward Everett Hale