My friend just got a female puppy and he’s considering either 1. Letting her come into “heat” one time before spaying or 2. (worse) Letting her have “just one litter” before fixing her. Please give me some ammunition to convince him that both of these ideas are horrible and that he should have her spayed as soon as possible so as not to contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.
Frustrated with a Foolish Friend in Forest West
It sounds like your friend is operating under some out-dated assumptions about spaying a pet. However, you can tell your friend this: Spaying or neutering your dog is part of responsible canine care. Not only does it help with the overpopulation problem–saving lives of countless animals–but it also has many benefits for the individual pup who has the procedure done.
Here’s how your friend, your friend’s dog, and even our whole community can benefit from this procedure.
1. Your dog will live longer: Spaying can help to prevent female dogs from having many serious health problems, such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Breast cancer is particularly dangerous, resulting in death for about 50% of canine cases. However, the rate of breast cancer goes down to almost zero if the spaying is done before the first heat cycle! It also eliminates the chance of developing a serious and potentially fatal infection of the uterus (pyometra) experienced by many mature unspayed animals. The most effective way to provide this protection is to ensure that a dog is spayed before her first heat.
2. A better behaved dog: Typically, after about six months of age, un-spayed females go into heat for two to three weeks at a time, (usually twice a year) although this varies with size and breed. This period of time can bring about a number of troublesome behaviors, such as howling and even urinating more often (and in the house). It will also attract the attention of every unneutered male within smelling distance.
3. It will save you money: Wait…but doesn’t surgery cost money? It can, but the cost of caring for a litter of puppies is much more, and so is handling the medical and behavior issues that you can prevent by having the procedure done. You can help keep the price down even further by looking into low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area. Many animal shelters also require spaying or neutering before they will release an animal, and the cost is built into the adoption fee. Additionally, check with your vet for any specials that they’re running on spay/neuter surgery and shop around for the best price.
4. He’ll be a hero in his community: Spaying or neutering a pup means fewer dogs being euthanized and also fewer unwanted animals roaming our streets. Strays are more likely to cause trouble, such as destroying property, causing car accidents, and scaring (or even biting) children and adults. Issues like these can negatively influence an entire community’s opinion about dogs, even though it’s only a few strays causing the problem. If we can ensure that every dog has a responsible owner to care of it, we’ll be more likely to see support and positive changes in our communities for our pups.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at dear firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet of the Week
Meet June Cleaver. Just like her iconic namesake, this lady was a super-star mother, raising her puppies (Wally and Beaver, of course) on the mean streets of Houston. June protected and nurtured them until they were all picked up by animal control. Luckily, they found a foster home. To learn more contact K-9 Angels at: www.K-9AngelsRescue.org or www.facebook.com/k9angelsrescue.