Spaying and Neutering
With the millions of excess dogs being put to death every year, it is inexcusable to allow dogs to breed randomly. It is just as bad for backyard breeders to be putting together two dogs just because their fittings compliment each other.
I'm often told someone wants to breed their dog because:
"Having a litter will settle her down." (Uh--No.)
"It's cruel to deny him this instinct." (Can you guess who says this?)
"He/she is so wonderful we want to make more just like her!" (Cloning is a crock.)
"We want the children to witness the miracle of birth" (Oh yeah--in all it's Disney glory--or was that gory?)
This last one is my personal vote for most incredibly ignorant--
"We paid so much for her/him, we want to make our money back!"
And yes, I do hear all of these often!!!
Spaying a bitch does not make her fat. Eating too much and not enough exercise makes her fat. (Me, too.)
Spaying does not make her less affectionate.
Spaying does not make her less feminine.
Not spaying means you will have to deal with her heat cycle twice a year for 3 to 4 weeks.
Here's how that goes: She will be messy and emotional. She will have to be isolated from male dogs, in spite of her overwhelming instinct to reproduce. You will have interested intact males developing incredibly creative strategies for ending her isolation. If they are successful, you will have increased veterinary bills to deal with her health needs and those of her puppies. Now what do you do with all these puppies???
And don't for a second think about "hybrid vigor" in this scenario--the intact male likely came from an owner not willing or educated enough to neuter his dog. You can be sure this dog has not been tested and xrayed to rule out all the hereditary defects and problems associated with his breed or breeds! A mixed breed dog is just that--a mix of purebreds with all the problems inherent to each breed. Just because a dog is not a purebred Rottie or GSD or (you fill in the breed here) does not mean he will not have to have his hips replaced at huge expense or face a lifetime of pain. (Am I right, Renee? Donna and John? Etc.)
On to the males:
Not neutering makes the intact male dog a competitor, thus a challenger, to other intact males--fighting is the unfortunate conclusion to a challenge.
Not neutering encourages the intact male to wander in search of females.
Not neutering makes him prone to certain adverse health conditions like prostate problems, which are common in intact males.
Neutering a male dog does not prevent him from attaining his full size and correct proportions. Genetics takes care of this.
Neutering does not make a male dog less of a protector. This quality is hardwired into a dog no matter the sex, temperment or whatever equipment is present. A dog will warn, and a dog will protect, because it is a dog.
For very hardcore male owners who are afraid their alter ego will become "less male" if neutered, take a look at "Indy's Page" on this website. Indiana was big and handsome, and as macho a dog as you could hope for--and he did not have all the parts he was born with!
See your vet about spaying or neutering your pet. They can answer all your questions.
There are really very few good arguments for keeping a dog intact or unspayed. Only the very best of the best should be bred, and this judgement is best left to ethical and knowledgeable professionals who are committed to creating better, healthier animals.
I see the unfortunate products of random or ignorant breeding practices in my work every single day of the week. Many of the problems I deal with could have been prevented with sound breeding practices. Many of the heartbreaks I have to witness in my work could have been prevented with sound breeding practices.
You have all heard the nightmare stories of puppy mills--the epitome of unethical, ignorant and cruel breeding. Well, don't think puppy mills are limited to the Midwest. North Carolina is littered with them.(No pun intended, but not bad!) Anytime you read an ad that advertises many different breeds for sale at the same time from the same location, you're looking at a puppy mill. And don't think just because all looks well when you visit, that these are actually the conditions under which these dogs are bred and whelped, and these puppies are raised! Who would be dumb enough to take the prospective buyer through overcrowding and filth? Who would show you a young bitch nearly worn to death by early and frequent breedings? And it's the worst possible reasoning to try to "save" a puppy from one of these places--it only encourages more breeding!
Just because the puppy has AKC papers, this doesn't mean the "breeder" is reputable, educated, ethical, responsible, or any other good thing. It means they paid the fee to register a litter they produced. Period.
It's your job to do the research, and find a reputable breeder. There are MANY out there!
If you won't do the work, then go to a rescue group and find an unwanted dog in your favorite breed, or a lovable and healthy mixed breed dog.
Don't let concern over expense prevent you from being a responsible dog owner. Most people want their own veterinarian to take care of all their pet health needs.
But there are alternatives for those who want/need them.
The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program of NC (S.N.A.P.) is one of these alternatives. They offer spaying and neutering at a low cost, which also includes any necessary routine immunizations.
For a small additional fee they perform other services, such as microchipping your pet.
These are tough economic times, and none of us are unscathed. But our pets still depend on us for their health and safety.
Click here to open their website in a new window.
"I'd rather be chasing a ball..."