One of the most recommended, and most argued areas of preventative medicine is spaying and neutering your dog. Many dog owners feel that they would be stripping their dog of its man/woman hood if they were to have them altered. This simply isn’t the case.
There are several reasons why it is recommended to have your pet spayed or neutered. Lets start with female dogs:
The number one reason is population control. Our local shelters are overflowing with unwanted dogs, many of them puppies who may never know the joy of belonging to a family. A female dog goes into heat 1-2 times per year, or about every 6 months. Depending on breed, litter sizes can range from 1-2 pups from a Chihuahua, to 10-15 from Labradors. Studies show that close to half of those puppies will end up in a shelter.
Having your female dog spayed before her first heat cycle drops her likelihood of developing mammary cancer to less then 1%. With each heat cycle that risk grows. Once she’s had 3 or more cycles, then the risk of mammary cancer is very high, even if you do decide to finally have her spayed. This surgery also eliminates the dogs risk for uterine cancer.
Female dogs are also at risk for developing a pyometra, or infection of the uterus. This condition causes the uterus to fill with puss to the point of rupture. If this happens, the dog will become septic and the results are fatal. A pyometra turns a fairly routine surgery into an emergency surgery. Having this type of infection creates many complications with anesthesia. The dog’s immune system is already compromised from fighting the infection, and now it has to clear out anesthesia from the body. The surgery itself is a spay surgery, with a ticking bomb waiting to explode, literally. The veterinarian has to be extremely careful not to let the uterus rupture and spill the contents into the body cavity.
On to male dogs: Having your male dog neutered does not change his personality. He will be the same dog, minus some unwanted issues. One of which being “marking”. If you have an intact male dog that seems to never want to be house broken, have him neutered and see if this behavior changes. One of the most common reasons for an owner turning their dog over to a shelter is for house braking issues.
They will also be less likely to try to run away and roam the neighbor hood if neutered. Male dogs will do whatever it takes to get to an intact female. This results in several pets lost each year, never to be reunited with their owners. Some end up in shelters, others taken in by kind hearted good Samaritan, others struck by cars, ending their young lives. And having your male dog neutered will also eliminate his risk for developing testicular cancer.
Please consider these facts when choosing a pet. Unless you are planning on showing your dog and therefore keeping it intact to better the breed by selected mating, it is of your pet’s best interest to be altered.