For those of us who understand the benefits of spaying and neutering our dogs and cats, it can be hard to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t get their their pets fixed. Those in the know can help by sharing knowledge of the benefits, and debunking the all-to-common myths that are still believed by too many pet owners. If you are researching the pros and cons of spaying your dog or cat, or are looking for information to share with a friend or neighbor to educated them, this article will help you with facts so you or they can make a responsible, informed decision as a loving pet owner.
1. Your pet will be happier. If you care about your pet’s happiness, spaying or neutering is one of the kindest things you can do for them. See below for many of the reasons why.
2. Your pet will be healthier. In females, spaying helps prevent uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Females spayed before their first heat (4-5 months old) are the healthiest, but it helps at any age. For males, especially if done before 6 months of age, it prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.
3. Your pet will live longer. Because they are healthier (see #2), spayed and neutered pets have a significantly longer average lifespan. Also, neutered pets are also less likely to roam or fight (see #4), lengthening their lifespan.
4. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. This means you don’t have to deal with blood staining, yowling, and the more frequent urination – which can be all over your house! Female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. That’s a lot of mess and noise!
5. Your male pet is less likely to roam. An un-neutered male pet is driven by strong hormones to mate, and will often turn into a Houdini escape artist to get out of their home or yard, especially if there is a female in heat close by, or sometimes even miles away!
6. Your male pet will be friendlier. A fixed male is less likely to want to fight with other pets, even females, who may not appreciate his annoying ongoing advances.
7. Your female pet will be friendlier. When a female pet goes into heat, the hormones can make her behavior become erratic. A usually friendly pet who goes into heat can suddenly become aggressive with both people and other pets in the home.
8. Marking & humping will be reduced or eliminated. This true is for both dogs and cats, and especially for males. Also male dogs will be much less likely to ‘hump’ other dogs… or people’s legs or your couch cushions!
9. It will save you money. Fixed pets have fewer health problems so vet bills are lower. They are less likely to bite, avoiding potential costly lawsuits (80% of dog bites to humans are from intact male dogs). They are less likely to try to escape and do damage to your home or yard, or cause a car accident.
10. You are saving pets lives. You may say your pet will never get out or run away, but that’s what almost every pet owner thinks – accidents happen! Pet overpopulation is a problem everywhere. For every human born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born. There simply aren’t enough homes for all these animals.
SPAY NEUTER EXCUSES & MYTHS vs. FACTS
Here are some of the common myths, with the truths explained:
Excuse: It is more natural to leave my pet unaltered.
Fact: It would also be more natural to live in a cave and not have pets at all. But humans have chosen to domesticate dogs and cats, and with that comes a responsibility to keep them safe, happy and healthy. See above for how spaying and neutering is an integral part of that responsibility.
Myth: My pet’s babies won’t contribute to pet overpopulation.
Fact: Even if your pet is a purebred, and you can find homes for all their babies, those are homes that could have adopted a pet – there are purebreds of almost every single breed in shelters and rescues. And though you might be a lifetime pet owner, can you be sure that all your babies’ homes will never give up their pet to a shelter?
Myth: It will change my pet’s personality.
Fact: A dog’s personality is formed by genetics and environment, not by sex hormones. Ask anyone that has fixed their pet! There are some behaviors that are typically reduced by fixing your pet, but they are undesirable… unless you like a pet that territorially urinates, tries to fight more with other pets, or tries to escape to get out to find a mate!
Myth: My pet will get fat.
Fact: Just like with people, metabolism and food intake is what determines if a pet becomes overweight. Just visit a shelter to see all the overweight unfixed pets! Fixed pets can be calmer, so do sometimes need to eat less.
Excuse: My pet will never escape.
Sit at an animal shelter intake desk for 1 day, and listen to how many owner’s reclaiming their pets say exactly that. Accidents happen. Don’t let the accident be your pet escaping and causing yet one more oops litter.
Here are some more articles about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet, and the myths and facts: