As a responsible pet owner, you may be aware that spaying and neutering your pet is highly recommended.
Spaying is the surgery where a female dog or cat’s uterus and ovaries are removed. Neutering involves removing the testicles of a male dog or cat. Both of these surgeries ensure that the pet cannot reproduce, and ideally the surgery is performed before sexual maturity (roughly between 4 and 6 months of age).
An intact pet is one who has not been spayed or neutered.
There are many reasons why we recommend spaying and neutering…
Not only does spaying and neutering control the pet population, but it is medically important in the life of an individual pet. There are many cancers and other diseases related to the reproductive tract. If the pet’s reproductive tract is removed, the chances of developing these medical issues is greatly reduced.
Intact males can develop prostate enlargement and testicular cancer, while females are at risk for mammary and uterine cancer, as well as pyometra – a life threatening infection of the uterus. Neutering can greatly decrease the risk of these diseases.
COMMITMENT OF TIME AND MONEY
Many people want their pet to have “just one litter”, not knowing that there is a lot of care involved with a litter of puppies or kittens:
- The mother needs special food and care
- Ultrasound or x-ray to determine size of the litter
- Risk of emergency cesarean surgery if there are problems in birthing (emergency fee, surgery cost, hospitalization)
- Extra food and care for the litter
- Vet visits for vaccines and dewormer before the puppies or kittens go to their new home
- Potential extra care needed if the mother rejects any babies (such as bottle feeding every 2 hours for 8 weeks)
There is a misconception that a female who has a litter with become more “motherly” toward the family members, especially children. A pet’s attitude and behavior is based more on training and how that pet is treated as it grows up.
It would be more beneficial to expose your pet to many different people and animals when it’s young; this promotes tolerance in the pet, which becomes more accepting of any new people or animals later in life.
HEALTH OF THE BREED
Most people who have only one litter will not pick the mate based on genetic soundness and who will produce the healthiest offspring. They often breed their pet and their friend’s pet because “they would make such cute puppies/kittens”.
Responsible breeders, however, research their animals thoroughly and have a long-term goal in mind that ultimately will benefit the breed as a whole. They base their choice of mates on very specific criteria.
Finding appropriate home for all the puppies or kittens can also be difficult, with all the animals in shelters needing homes desperately.
Ultimately it is a medically and socially responsible decision to have your pet spayed or neutered.