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August 12, 2011 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

My Best Health Advice for Dogs and Cats?

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Drum roll, please! ............rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....... SPAY AND NEUTER my friends!

Yes, simple to answer and just about as easy to do! If you are a first time dog or cat owner, or are considering becoming one, I hope that you are learning everything you can BEFORE you run out to purchase a cute puppy or kitten. If you do your research correctly, you will learn and understand the importance of spaying and neutering.

I continue to hear from pet owners that do not want to spay or neuter their dog so their friends can have a dog just like theirs. In return I say "Visit their local human society or shelter and they can choose from the 50+ dogs there waiting for their new forever home!"

Seriously?!

Or, "I want my children to experience our cat giving birth to kittens." I say "Bring your children to your local human society or shelter to see all the unwanted kittens sitting in cages waiting patiently for their new forever home." Did you know that 80% of those puppies and kittens from those litters will most likely end up at a shelter and be euthanized? :(

The Benefits

Let's talk about the benefits of this Number One most important health decision you need to do for your dog or cat....

Benefits of Spaying (females):

  • No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
  • Less desire to roam
  • Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Decreases aggression behavior, including dog bites
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Benefits of Neutering (males):

  • Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking
  • Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
  • Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and decreases incidence of prostate disease
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier live

A Story - The Prized (Aggressive) Pit Bull

A potential 20-something year old client called me to inquire about training needs. She informed me of how their Pit Bull was getting aggressive. He was biting, jumping, marking indoors and guarding her. Yet, her boyfriend's desire to breed his pit was outweighing his desire to neuter his pit. Neutering would help tremendously in reducing these behavioral issues they are experiencing. If left un-neutered and untrained, this pit can potentially injure someone or another dog and this pit will end up being euthanized.

(Disclosure: I am a HUGE advocate for the Pit Bull breed, sadly individuals like this continue to give this wonderful, loving, intelligent, and out-going breed a bad name)

They Could Care Less About Being "Manly"

"I don't want my male dog to be "Emasculated" is a common reasons I hear of from owners still back paddling when it comes to neutering their male dog or cat.

First I want to address the whole "Emasculated" feeling - the only one feeling "Emasculated" is the owner. A responsible owner will get his dog neutered. Your male dog will thank you with their good behavior and temperament! They won't know the difference or feel any less male.

Thinking of Breeding for Money?

The cost of breeding a dog or cat will usually have you break even or lose money.

Your female needs to be put on the highest quality food that is out there so she can provide quality nutrition for herself and her new babies. You will need to vaccinate the puppies or kittens, provide a clean and safe whelping box (that includes a heated floor) and of course there is the unexpected cost (which can range into the thousands) of vet assistance if something goes wrong - which is very common. What if your mom dog or cat falls ill? You are going to have to get up around the clock to feed those new babies!

You've Convinced Me - What now?

The ideal age to spay or neuter is six months or younger. At around 6 months old, your cute puppy is entering their "teenage" stage, a difficult stage already, but worse if they aren't spayed and neutered. Some vets will do this surgery as early as 3 months old. Talk to your vet and get it on your calendar. Look into a low cost spay and neuter clinic. They are everywhere and they provide this important surgery at a very low cost, that is a win-win, right?!!

No excuse now!

I can't say it enough - get your dogs and cats spayed or neutered!

Resources:

ASPCA - Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

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