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Schedule Your Dog’s Appointment To Get Fixed During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month!
Having your dog spayed or neutered can prolong your pup’s life and prevent bad behavior!
It’s currently estimated that 80% of dogs within the United States are spayed or neutered. Most veterinarians recommend that dogs be spayed or neutered as puppies before they reach sexual maturity, but fixing our pets is always beneficial for their health and behaviors at any age. Because of this, you may also notice that some animal rescues and shelters will also spay or neuter older dogs before they release the pet for adoption. And every year in the month of February, veterinarians, animal shelters, and animal welfare organizations celebrate National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month to educate the public about the many benefits of sterilizing our pets.
National Spay/ Neuter Awareness Months always takes place in February so pet parents have time to schedule their dogs’ procedures before the weather gets warmer and puppies are most likely to be born. It’s also an annual reminder to pet parents that fixing our dogs can prolong their lives by keeping them healthier and can prevent unwanted behaviors. In some counties or cities, most dogs may actually be required by law to be sterilized with some exceptions.
Even so, there are always some people who are hesitant to have their pet spayed or neutered. This could be because the owner has plans to show or breed their dog, which is fine as long as they are doing so as safely and responsibly as possible. But in the majority of cases, pet parents don’t fix their dogs out of financial concerns, fear of putting their pet through surgery and under anesthesia, or a lack of understanding of all the benefits.
Prevent Unwanted Litters
According to the ASPCA, almost 400,000 homeless dogs are euthanized in overcrowded animal shelters each year because they are deemed unadoptable or don’t get adopted in an allotted time frame. Animal shelters are already overcrowded, and the world doesn’t need more litters of unwanted puppies. By sterilizing your dog, you are doing your part to not add to the population of stray dogs or increase the strain on overcrowded and overwhelmed animal shelters. In addition, you won’t incur the veterinary costs of supporting your female dog through a healthy pregnancy, or the costs of caring for newborn puppies. Plus, who wants to deal with the hassle of an unwanted puppy pregnancy?
Protect Your Pet’s Health
Science and research have clearly shown that sterilizing your dog can help protect your pet from potentially fatal health conditions, and therefore prolong your furry friend’s life. For example, fixing your dog lowers its risk of being diagnosed with certain cancers. Sterilized females are significantly less likely to develop uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and mammary cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs with this diagnosis. Meanwhile, males are less likely to develop prostate or testicular cancer. Neutering also decreases the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias, which are common in older, unaltered dogs
Unspayed female dogs also have an additional risk of developing a secondary infection in their reproductive tract called Pyometra. When female dogs do not get pregnant after several cycles, their uterine lining becomes thicker and thicker until cysts form, which is a condition called cystic endometrial hyperplasia. When this occurs, an ideal environment for bacterial growth is created. If female dogs do develop Pyometra, they can become extremely sick and require hospitalization or an emergency spay procedure to recover. With this in mind, it may just be better to spay your dog from the get-go instead of waiting until she’s seriously ill.
Mitigate Behavioral Problems
Sterilizing your pet may help eliminate and prevent unwanted behaviors. For example, unspayed females go through a heat cycle twice a year, during which they may cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, and attract unwanted male animals. In general, unspayed females will be in heat for 21 days. Spaying your female dog will prevent her from going through heat cycles and exhibiting the unwanted behaviors.
In addition, spaying and neutering pets can curb unwanted aggressive behaviors, such as fighting and biting. Fixed dogs are also less likely to mark their territory or have accidents inside the home. Lastly, your pet will not have an instinctual urge to go roaming in order to look for a mate, which lowers the chance of your fur baby running away and getting lost.
Sterilizing Your Pet Can Be Affordable
Your dog’s spay or neuter surgery could cost anywhere from $50 to $515 depending on your dog’s size, age, gender, and the animal hospital in question. But don’t let the sticker shock cause you to wait on this important procedure! Instead, focus on ways to save money, acquire pet insurance that can reimburse you for the procedure, or look into payment plans that will let you pay for your dog’s surgery over time. In addition, do some research into non-profit veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and animal rescue groups in your area. You may be able to find free spay and neuter clinics for low-income pet owners in your area or discounted procedures through these groups.
Spaying & Neutering Are Routine Procedures
The last reason people hesitate on sterilizing their dogs is the thought of their pup going through surgery and being put under anaesthesia makes them nervous. We want to reassure you that the surgery to spay or neuter your dog is a minor, routine surgery that vets do all the time. It is generally a very quick and safe out-patient procedure, and your dog will feel no pain. Your dog should be fully recovered with stitches removed (if any are used) around two weeks after their procedure, and return home with you the same day as their operation. Your vet will give you easy-to-follow instructions to help keep your pet comfortable in the first few days after surgery.
Of course, there are always inherent risks with any surgery and your vet should go over any possible complications with you before your dog’s procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about your pet. While spaying and neutering are generally safe and easy procedures, every dog and situation is unique and your vet will be able to address your concerns or help you make an informed decision on if sterilizing is right for your pet.