By LuAnn McLain
When is the best time to spay or neuter your dog or cat? Now!
Why do people sometimes hesitate to spay or neuter their pets? Lets examine some of the reasons given by pet owners. Some people think a male dog will be more protective if it is left intact. The truth is that a neutered dog will be more attentive to his owner and less likely to be down the street chasing a female in heat. Generally, neutered dogs are easier to train.
Pets get overweight when they are not adequately exercised and are overfed, something quite common these days. Spaying or neutering has nothing to do with weight gain.
Many believe a pet makes a better pet if she has just one or two litters. Research has proven this untrue. Research has shown that spaying a cat or dog greatly reduces her risk of many health problems.
What does it mean to spay or neuter a pet? Spaying is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus of the female animal. Neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles of the male. All healthy dogs and cats can be safely altered at any age over eight weeks. Some veterinarians, however, recommend waiting longer.
Female pets can be spayed at any point in their heat cycle and even during pregnancy but veterinarians will charge more for these surgeries. Neutering is a general term used to talk about both kinds of surgeries.
Some may believe it is unnatural. Dogs and cats dont suffer any social stigma due to absence of testicles or ovaries.
The things eliminated by having a pet spayed or neutered include spraying and marking territory by males, fighting between males, odd behavior in females during heat cycles, staining of carpets, moodiness and escaping to search for a mate.
The risk of cancer and infection of the reproductive tract and related organs are greatly reduced in both males and females when neutered. Fighting and roaming can result in injuries that can be prevented. The complications of pregnancy can be expensive and even fatal to the female cat or dog. The younger the animal is when neutered or spayed, the greater the health and behavior benefit.
If you have thought of these surgeries as unnatural, think again. These are domesticated animals and not meant to live in the wild. Reproductive cycles of domesticated animals occur more frequently and that is not natural. Even more important, it is unnatural to euthanize millions of dogs and cats each year because we just dont have enough homes for them all.
Finding homes for all the puppies or kittens your animal produced decreases the number of homes available to animals already in shelters. And each of those young animals is capable of producing thousands of offspring when mature.
If the surgery is too expensive for your budget, many communities have low-cost spay/neuter clinics. In the Havre area, the Sands Foundation sponsors a spay/neuter program that pays the veterinarian a portion of the expense of the surgery. For more information, ask your veterinarians office about help.
Have a safe and healthy week with your pets. If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, send letters to P.O. Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.