Population control is the primary reason for spaying and neutering your pet. Unneutered or unspayed dogs are likely to breed and, in a lot of places, this has led to countless unwanted puppies. It is a sad fact that many animal shelters or pounds have to put down or euthanize numerous healthy animals every week because of this.
Taking a more responsible approach to their dog’s reproductive lives, pet owners that don’t plan to breed their dogs should have them spayed or neutered. Less puppies born would mean fewer dogs would end up being killed in dog shelters.
Improved health of the individual animal is another reason why pet owners should have their pets spayed and neutered. For each type of animal, there is a different rationale behind this.
Spaying a female dog not only eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and but also prevents the physical and behavioural changes associated with the six-monthly reproductive cycle. It also dramatically reduces the risk of mammary cancer and removes the risk of pyometra (an infected womb) which occurs in 23% of intact females and kills approximately 1% of intact females.
Spaying also eliminates the risk of uterine, cervical and ovarian tumours, as well as reducing the risk of perianal fistulas, a common problem in some breeds.
Neutering a male dog prevents testicular cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among male dogs. Neutered dogs are also protected from other non-cancerous conditions of the mature prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, prostatic cysts and para-prostatic cyst.
Neutered dogs have also less risk of developing tumours of the perineum, such as perianal adenoma and perianal fistulas. They also show marked improvement in behaviour, such as decreased aggression, reduced sibling rivalry, reduced incidence of roaming or straying.
On the flip side, spayed and neutered dogs are more likely to become overweight and obese. This is because reductions in sex hormone levels after the procedure slow down metabolism. However, with proper diet and exercise, neutered pets can stay lean and healthy.
For most pets, spaying or neutering is best done in the first two years of their life. It will most likely lead to a long, healthy life for the animals and a hassle-free life for their owners. As with all matters relating to pet care, it is always important to discuss this topic with your vet before taking any action.