Busting 8 spaying and neutering myths

These days when adopting a dog, whether purebred or rescue, the animal should be spayed or neutered before you collect him. However, there are cases where this has not happened for whatever reason, and in case you were wondering whether to spay or neuter, or not, herewith are a few facts busting the myths about these procedures.

Myth 1: My animals don’t wander around, so I don’t need to neuter them

Fact: People who call themselves ‘responsible owners’ may have good intentions, but just one small mistake can result in an accidental pregnancy. What if your dog slips past your child into the yard on the same day that the gardener leaves the gate open? Before you know it, you’ve added six (or more) additional baby animals to the overpopulation problem. The only way to be truly responsible is to spay and neuter.

Myth 2: My pet will get fat and lazy

Fact: Actually, most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.

Myth 3: It’s better to have one litter first

Fact: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilise dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

Myth 4: My dog is so special, I want a puppy just like her

Fact: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn’t mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeds who follow generations of bloodlines can’t guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet owner’s chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies might receive all of a pet’s (and her mate’s) worst characteristics.

Myth 5: It’s too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered

Fact: The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size and age of the pet, your veterinarian’s fees, and a number of other variables. But whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost – a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It’s a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop. Most importantly, it’s a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

Myth 6: A pet’s behaviour changes dramatically after surgery

Fact: The only changes in behaviour you’ll see are positive ones! Here are the facts: male cats tend to reduce their territorial spraying depending on the age at which they are neutered. If neutered young enough, before they develop the habit of spraying, they may never develop it. Neutered male cats and dogs fight less, resulting in fewer battle scars, contagious diseases and abscesses. They also wander less, since they aren’t interested in pursuing the female in heat. Therefore, their chances of being hit by a car or getting lost are greatly reduced.

Myth 7: Dogs and cats should not be spayed until six months of age

Fact: While this was the recommendation several years ago, it is no longer recommended to wait until a dog or cat is six months of age to spay. In fact, early spaying and neutering is being routinely performed at animal shelters throughout the United States as early as six to eight weeks of age without ill effects.

Myth 8: Dogs and cats should be allowed to come into heat before being spayed

Fact: Spaying a dog or cat after the first heat cycle actually increases the risk of mammary cancers developing later in life. Spaying prior to the first heat cycle is the most current recommendation.

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