Spay and Neuter Myths and Facts
Many myths surrounding spaying/neutering exist. Consider the following:
Isn't it better to allow a female to have one litter before she is spayed?
This is a myth. The best time to spay your female dog or cat is before her first heat. Early spaying greatly reduces the incidences of mammary cancer. Both pregnancy and birth can be very stressful for the animal, and animals giving birth sometimes die from complications. Spaying also eliminates unwanted crowds of males from harassing your pet.
Doesn't an animal's behavior change drastically after surgery?
This is a myth. The only changes in behavior you’ll see are positive ones. Male cats tend to reduce their territorial spraying depending upon the age they are neutered. If neutered young enough, before they begin spraying, they may never develop the behavior. Neutered male cats and dogs fight less, resulting in fewer battle scars, contagious diseases and abscesses. And since they aren’t interested in pursuing females in heat, they also wander less, greatly reducing their chances of being hit by a car or getting lost.
Don't animals become fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered?
Fat animals are usually overfed and under-exercised. There can be a tendency for an animal to put on some weight after sterilization, but the surgery doesn’t cause the condition. Male dogs and cats, in particular, roam less and burn fewer calories. If your companion animal shows signs of putting on a little weight, reduce his calories and increase his walks and play sessions.
Can't I just find good homes for all the puppies or kittens?
Finding good homes for puppies and kittens is not easy. Many animals are discarded once they start to grow. In shelters nationwide, 6.5 million animals are euthanized each year because there aren’t enough homes for them. Further, you cannot guarantee that these dogs and cats will be spayed or neutered, much less remain in the same homes throughout their lives. For every puppy and kitten brought into the world by a well-meaning owner, another will die somewhere else, unwanted and homeless.
Shouldn't my children witness the miracle of birth?
Frequently, animals go off by themselves to give birth, or do so during the night. While the birth of baby animals may teach children a love of life and living things, this lesson can be taught in many other, more humane ways. It should not be taught at the expense of the animal and her offspring.
A quick recap — the benefits of spaying/neutering include:
- reduces or eliminates the risk of several forms of cancer for male and female dogs and cats
- may reduce cats’ tendency to spray if done early enough
- reduces dogs and cats’ tendency to fight and roam
- if everyone did it, shelters wouldn’t have euthanized 6.5 million animals last year