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Pet Care » Your Dog's Health

What You Need To Know About Spaying and Neutering

Why it's so important to have your dog spayed or neutered

Maybe you're one of the lucky few pet owners who can say that when their female dog is "in heat" it's not a big deal. No extra male dogs wandering the property, no urine "accidents" in the house, and no blood spots on the new couch. But for many dog companions, Daisy the Doberman's estrous cycle can seem like a three-week long nightmare.

Maybe you justify your decision not to spay your dog by thinking, "Oh well. A heat cycle is only going to happen every four to seven months on average and sometimes it only lasts for a week. No problem. It's better than risking surgery or its potential side effects." If you own a male dog, you might not see the reasoning behind neutering him when he's not the one who's going to be "having" the puppies. Let the female dog owners of the world take care of the situation you think.

Maybe you'd change your mind if you knew the following statistics cited by the Humane Society of the United States (www.hsus.org) and SPAY/USA (www.spayusa.org):

  • Dogs are fifteen times more "prolific" than humans are.
  • The average number of litters a sexually mature fertile dog can have each year is two.
  • The average number of puppies born in each litter is six to ten.
  • In six years, one unsprayed female dog and all of her unsprayed/un-neutered offspring can potentially give birth to 67,000 more dogs.
  • Even with a more conservative estimate of an average of one litter per year producing four puppies each, after seven years the total would still be more than 4,000 dogs.
  • Having your dog spayed or neutered can increase his or her life expectancy by an average of one to three years. Some reports are substantially higher.
  • Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to have a significantly lower incidence of mammary gland, ovarian, prostate, testicular, and uterine cancers, as well as fewer mammary gland tumors, tumors of the perineal area (the region that contains the anus and sex organs), and uterine infections.
  • Surveys that have been taken reveal that upwards of 85% of dogs that are hit by cars are unsprayed or un-neutered. This is probably a result of the increased "roaming behavior" that is often associated with unaltered animals.

If you have concerns or questions about the actual surgical procedures or the reported mental and physical "after-effects" of it on your dog, take the time to discuss these important matters with your veterinarian or refer to the above-mentioned web sites for more information. If cost is a concern, you should contact SPAY/USA, "a program of The Pet Savers Organization (www.petsavers.org), [that] is a nationwide network and referral service for affordable spay/neuter services."

Spaying or neutering your dog isn't just about doing your part to reduce the animal overpopulation crisis. It's about enhancing the quality and duration of your dog's life. Isn't that the very least we can do for our furry friend? Get the facts and have your dog spayed or neutered as soon as possible. You'll be glad you did and so will Daisy the Doberman.

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