As someone who has worked in the animal industry for many years, this is a topic that is of great importance to me. I am a HUGE advocate for spaying or neutering your pet. Here are some great facts and myths to illustrate why.
MYTH: It is more expensive to spay or neuter a pet than to take the chance of that pet having a litter.
FACT: The average cost to raise a litter of six puppies is about $1000 (estimating on the low end). It is much less expensive to spay or neuter.
MYTH: My pet should not be fixed because they are purebred.
FACT: One out of every four pets brought to a shelter is a purebred. Honestly, there are just too many pets brought to shelters, both purebred and mixed breed alike. About half of all animals brought to a shelter will be euthanized.
MYTH: It is best to let your female dog have one litter before spaying.
FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. Evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many vets across the country now spay and neuter cats and dogs as young as eight weeks old. Check with your vet about when the best recommended time for this procedure would be for your pet.
A USA Today article cites that pets who live within the states with the highest rates of spaying and neutering also live the longest. According to this report, male dogs who are neutered live about 18% longer than those who are not. Even better, female dogs who are spayed live an average of 23% longer.
A large part of the reduced lifespan of non-fixed pets can be attributed to their urge to roam. This exposes your unaltered pet to fights with other animals, getting hit by cars, and other possible mishaps.
Altered (fixed) pets also have a much lower risk of developing certain types of cancers.
MYTH: I want my dog to be protective of my family.
FACT: A dog’s personality is not formed by sex hormones but by genetics and environment. It is also a dog’s natural instinct to protect his family and home.
MYTH: I do not want my male pet to feel like less of a man.
FACT: Spaying or neutering a pet will not effect the pet’s basic personality. Pets do not have any concept of sexual identity. Your pet will not suffer any kind of identity crisis or emotional reaction after being fixed.
MYTH: My pet will become fat and lazy if fixed.
FACT: The hard truth is that most pets that become fat and/or lazy do so because their owner does not provide proper exercise and/or feeds them too much or a poor diet.
MYTH: My pet is so fantastic…I want another just like him/her.
FACT: It is very unlikely that your pet’s offspring will be just like your current pet. Even professional breeders are unable to make this guarantee. The shelters are full of pets just as smart, sweet, loving, and cute as your current pet that also need homes.
MYTH: I’ll find fantastic homes for each and every single offspring of my pet.
FACT: You may be able to control the decisions you make with your own pet and their offspring, but you can not control the decisions to be made about these new animals in the future. Their future owner will control these decisions and may not make the correct decision to fix their new puppy. This can easily result in even more unwanted animals over-loading the already filled shelters and rescues.