Myths And Facts About Spaying And Neutering


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Are you having trouble deciding whether you should spay or neuter your dog? There are plenty of myths out there that could influence your decision. It’s important to get down to the truth about spaying and neutering.

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to these important procedures.

Here are some myths about spaying and neutering and the facts to help you make the right decision.

MYTH: My Dog Will Get Fat And Lazy

FACT: The only ways your dog will get fat and lazy is if you do not provide enough exercise, you feed them an inappropriate diet, or they suffer from a medical condition that causes obesity or lethargy.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, talk to your vet about formulating a healthy diet and serving sizes. Avoid junk food and table scraps, and keep treats to a safe amount.

Exercise with your dog. Go for walks, and actively play. It’s not just good for keeping your dog in shape, it’s also good for keeping them happy and improving your bond.

Keep up with vet visits so your doggy doctor can catch and treat any medical conditions that may result in weight gain or low energy.

If a dog is fat and lazy, it is almost certainly the fault of the owner and has nothing to do with spaying or neutering.

MYTH: It’s Better For My Dog To Have One Litter Before Spaying

Yorkie lying down on her back, hanging her head, looking at camera surrounded by daisy flowers and wearing pajamas

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FACT: Medical evidence has shown that a dog who is spayed before her first heat cycle is typically healthier than dogs spayed after the first heat cycle or after having a litter of puppies.

Most animal shelters and adoption facilities, as well as many veterinarians, now sterilize female dogs before the first heat cycle. This significantly reduces the risk of mammary tumors.

You should consult your vet about the appropriate time to spay or neuter your dog.

MYTH: Children Should Witness The Miracle Of Birth

FACT: The likelihood of your human child actually seeing a dog give birth is slim. Most births occur at night and in a secluded area. The only lesson the child learns is that dogs can be created and discarded as humans see fit.

The real miracle your child should experience is this: preventing your dog from having babies potentially saves the lives of hundreds of other dogs.

If you want your child to witness birth, there are plenty of educational videos online that you can show them without having to deal with the real-world consequences of forcing your dog to go through it or adding to pet overpopulation.

MYTH: My Dog Is Purebred And Must Carry On The Lineage

Line of purebred dogs in obiedience class

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FACT: We don’t mean to imply that your dog isn’t special and unique. However, at least one out of every four dogs turned in to animal shelters around the country are purebred.

Take a look at shelters or breed specific rescues in your area if you want proof.

There are just too many dogs, both mixed-breed and purebred, left in shelters. Your dog is not the last in a pure bloodline. Their breed will be just fine without your dog passing on their genes.

MYTH: My Dog Will Feel Like Less Of A Male Or Female

FACT: Dogs have no concept of gender identity or ego, and spaying or neutering does not change that fact. They don’t suffer a blow to their gender identity in any way when spayed or neutered because they don’t have it to begin with.

Moreover, dog personality traits are not exclusive to either sex, altered or intact. Believe it or not, there are female dogs who hump. There are male dogs who are submissive. Aggression, energy, gentleness, and any other trait you can think of can be found in male or female dogs.

Spaying doesn’t turn your female dog into a male, and neutering does not turn your male dog into a female. To think otherwise is just silly and projecting your own human constructs.

MYTH: I Want A Puppy Just Like My Dog

Litter of puppies in animal shelter. Australian Shepherds

(Picture Credit: GeorgePeters/Getty Images)

FACT: A professional dog breeder, whose dogs’ bloodlines stretch back for generations, has no guarantee of getting a particular characteristic from a litter. A regular dog owner’s chances are even slimmer.

In fact, a whole litter of puppies might wind up getting only the worst characteristics of your pet dog and their mate.

If you want a puppy like your current dog, visit a shelter and interact with the pups there. Find one with a similar personality. That’s how you can guarantee you’ll get a dog like your own, and you’ll be saving a pet in need, rather than contributing to the number of dogs in shelters.

MYTH: Spaying Or Neutering Is Too Expensive

FACT: The cost of spaying or neutering is based on the age, size, and sex of the dog, your vet’s fees, and other variables. However, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost, and if you factor in the many benefits, such as improved health throughout your dog’s lifetime, it’s a relatively small charge.

It’s a bargain compared to the costs associated with raising a litter of puppies, such as exams for the mother dog, puppy checks and vaccinations, the extra food you need, etc. If complications arise and you need emergency veterinary services, the costs could rise into the thousands.

There is also the amount of time you will need to devote to the mother dog and her babies; two months of pregnancy followed by two more months before the puppies are weaned and ready to go to new homes.

Most importantly, the price is small when compared to the satisfaction of knowing that you are not contributing to the very real problem of too many dogs in shelters and too few homes available for them.

You can also check with your local animal welfare organizations. Many of them offer low-cost spay and neuter services.

MYTH: I Have Good Homes Available For All The Puppies

dog eagerly awaits adoption from the animal shelter

(Picture Credit: DanBrandenburg/Getty Images)

FACT: True, you may have homes for your puppies. However, for every home you find, there is one less home available for a shelter dog.

Moreover, do you have guarantees that the people who take your puppies will not breed them and, thus, add even more dogs to the overpopulation problem? Remember, overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

What other myths have you heard about spaying or neutering? Will you help spread knowledge during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month? Let us know in the comments below!

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