Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why should you spay or neuter your pet?

As a pet owner, spaying or neutering your pet is an important decision. While some may hesitate at the idea, feeling that the surgery is painful to the animal, there are many benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered.

What is it?

By definition, spaying is the surgical removal of a female animal's reproductive organs. Neutering is the surgical removal of a male animal's testicles. Both types of surgeries are done while an animal is under anesthesia and animals are usually ready to go home later that day.

Why should I spay or neuter my animal?

Although the main reason for spaying or neutering your animal is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in the United States, there are many health benefits to spaying or neutering your pet. Animals that have been spayed or neutered have no chance of developing uterine or testicular cancer due to the surgical removal of the reproductive organs. Females that are spayed before their first heat also have a lower risk of breast cancer and urinary infections.

How is spaying or neutering my animal helpful to me?

Although the surgery is simply the removal of the reproductive organs of the animal, the behavioral changes that occur when a pet is spayed or neutered at a young age are worth the price of surgery. A male animal that is neutered is less likely to roam and mark his territory (which no urinating on your furniture). Also, a male animal will cross busy streets, break leashes and dig under fences to get to a female which leads to not only the chance of being hit by a car, but structural damage to yards and materials.

Females dogs that are not spayed bleed for approximately 10 days when in heat. This blood can get on your carpet, your furniture, your clothes and the ground outside. The scent of a female in heat will bring intact males from all distances to try to mate with her.

Most importantly though, is spaying or neutering your animal will stop accidental pregnancies. The cost of any medical care and the expenses of finding a home for the offspring (ranging from 3-13 on average) is now your responsibility.

Myths about spaying and neutering.

Altering my pet will make it fat and lazy. Pets altered at a young age (before sexual maturity) generally have no change in on their weight. However, pets altered after sexual maturity may show an increased appetite due to a change in the hormone balance because of the altering process. A pet that is fat is usually fat because it is fed too much and/or not exercised enough.

My children should experience the joy of birth. Although the miracle of childbirth is a life-changing thing, allowing your pet to give birth to puppies may not be the best medium to portray this miracle. While new puppies are brought into this world from allowing your pet to give birth, many dogs in shelters must be euthanized because they cannot find a home. This fact alone should be considered when deciding whether you should let your pet give birth.

While the cost of surgery can be expensive, the medical costs are far lower than leaving your pet unaltered. There are many clinics, like Friendly Animal Hospital, that offer affordable spay and neuter services.

So please help control the overwhelming pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.