Authored by: JoAnn Lutmer-Paulson
There are common myths about “fixing” our pets through spaying (for females) and neutering (for males). Frequently, pet owners allow these myths to determine whether or not they choose to pursue the operations. Great pet parents, however, pay more attention to facts than myths; these five myths are expelled now.
Myth: Spaying and neutering is expensive.
Fact: One of the most common myths, this simply isn’t true any longer. There are programs all throughout the United States and many other countries that help offset costs. Overpopulation of common pets like dogs and cats has become such a massive problem that many cities and organizations now offer discounted or even free spaying or neutering of your pet. Contact your local animal control or Humane Society to find out where to get discounted services or check out http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/spayneuter.
Myth: Spaying and neutering will cause my pet to gain weight.
Fact: Although many younger pets do put on weight within a year or two after being fixed, such weight gain is unrelated to their operation. Dogs and cats, just like people, will gain weight if they eat a high fact diet, if they eat too much, if they don’t get enough exercise, and/or if they are genetically predisposed to being overweight. As puppies grow older and have less energy, responsible owners should adjust the dog’s diet as needed and be sure to keep them exercised through walks/runs and playtime. For cats, diets should also be adjusted as necessary and great cat owners can encourage more play to keep their cats in shape.
Myth: My pet will feel less masculine/feminine or will mourn the loss of their reproductive capabilities.
Fact: Neither cats nor dogs reproduce to enjoy fatherhood or even motherhood; they essentially want to ensure survival of their species. While female cats and dogs do nurse for a few weeks and teach their puppies some things, males do not even recognize their own offspring as such. Dogs and cats simply don’t have concepts of parenting, sexuality, gender roles, or reproduction in any of the same ways as people. While you may mourn the loss of your masculinity or ability to reproduce, your pet simply has no understanding or emotional attachment to these issues.
Myth: Sterilization (as an operation) is an unnecessary risk to the health and safety of my pet.
Fact: Your pet is at a far greater risk if they remain intact reproductively. For females, being spayed eliminates such concerns as ovarian and uterine cancer. Some females can develop uterine infections that can be fatal and spaying reduces the risk of breast cancer in female dogs. For males, the likelihood of prostate cancer is greatly reduced. Without the possibility of sex, cats and dogs will enter into fewer conflicts with other animals which also benefit their health by minimizing potential injuries.
Spaying and neutering your pet is part of being a responsible pet parent. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian to discover what is the best choice for your pet.
Photo: Courtesy of Abdulsalam Haykal via Flickr (CC by 2.0)