Unless you plan to show or breed your dog, you should strongly consider having it spayed or neutered. There are many reasons to opt to spay or neuter. Most veterinarians agree that spayed or neutered dogs live longer healthier lives. Male dogs that have been neutered have a lower incidence of prostrate cancer than those who were not altered. Female dogs that have been spayed have a lower incidence of uterine and ovarian cancer.
Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are far less likely to bite. They show less aggression than animals that have not been altered. For this reason, they often make better companions.
Spaying a female dog eliminates its heat cycle. When a female is in heat, she will often attract male animals, act as if she is nervous and cry for hours at a time. Spaying will stop all of this.
Altered animals are also far less likely to wander away from home. By keeping them close to home, the risk of them contracting a disease or becoming lost is greatly reduced.
Additionally, altered pets cannot contribute to the overpopulation of dogs. More than 30,000,000 animals are euthanized each year, because there simply are not enough homes for all of them. Mixed breeds and purebreds alike are euthanized at shelters every day. Spaying or neutering your dog guarantees that he or she will not contribute to this problem.
With so many compelling reasons to have your dog spayed or neutered, the next question is when should the procedure be done?
Ideally, your dog should be altered before the first heat cycle. This normally occurs between five and six months of age. While each dog is different, a general estimate is that most dogs should be altered somewhere between four and six months of age.
By having the dog altered prior to its first heat, you will get the maximum benefits such as preventing diseases as well as avoiding certain behavior problems. Also, the surgery is performed more easily on a young pup, and the dogs tend to recover more quickly.
The reduction in the incidence of certain cancers, as mentioned earlier, is even greater when the dogs are spayed or neutered before their first heat cycle. This helps to give your dogs the best chance at living a long life.
Many people choose not to alter their pets in spite of the many good reasons to do so. Sometimes, that choice is based on some common myths involving spaying and neutering.
My Dog Will Get Fat
Spaying or neutering your dog is not going to, on its own, cause your dog to gain weight. While it may reduce the dogs overall activity level, that can be taken care of with an extra walk or a little more time spent romping in the yard. Whether the dog is altered or not, the formula for a healthy weight remains the same: burn more calories than you eat.
My Dog Will Act Differently
Any changes in personality are likely to be positive ones. Many pets become less aggressive towards other animals, are less likely to wander and will stop that endearing practice of spraying furniture to mark their territory.
Its Better for My Dogs Health to Have at Least One Litter
There is no medical evidence to support this myth. Most research shows that animals spayed or neutered before the first heat cycle are healthier. If you are concerned about this, talk to your vet.
My Dog Will Not Be as Protective
Your dog’s natural instinct to protect his home and his ‘family’ is not changed when spayed or neutered. He will still be as interested in looking out for you as he has always been. He will be less aggressive towards other dogs, but will act much the same towards other people.
I’m Worried About My Pet Having Surgery
While there is no such thing as ‘minor surgery’, this is one of the safest and most common surgeries that vets perform. The vet will monitor the vital signs of your pet, just as your doctor would do for you if you were having surgery. It’s normal to worry about the well-being of your pet, but the benefits of this surgery far outweigh the minimal risks.
I Shouldn’t Spay or Neuter a Purebred
Unless you plan to become a professional breeder or make your dog a show dog, the fact that it’s a purebred is not a good reason to decide against altering. Animal shelters are full of purebreds as well as mixed breeds, and the health benefits for altered animals are the same for purebreds as for mixed breeds.
While having your dog spayed or neutered before the first heat cycle is ideal, if you adopt your animal after it has gone through its first heat cycle, spaying or neutering your animal will still reap most of the positive benefits and should be done as soon as possible.