World Spay / Neuter Awareness Month
How’s this for a staggering statistic: 1 un-neutered male and un-spayed female dog can create up to 512 dogs in 3 years!! 512!!! It’s small wonder why Bob Barker exhorted us to get our pets spayed and neutered. February is Spay / Neuter Awareness Month. At a facility like ours, we have the good fortune (?) to see all of the phases pups go through when they’re not fixed. In the spirit of the month, we thought we’d share a few.
For males, behavior changes are the biggest observation. Especially as males start to get around 8 – 12 months old, the male will “mark” everything. They can be a bit more destructive than usual too. In the playroom, they tend to be significantly more “playful” than their counterparts. It’s as if they’re saying: “I don’t need a rest, let’s play some more! Now!!!!” Typically, by the time we’ve seen the pup’s behavior become a problem, the pet owner has already scheduled the appointment for the procedure. They’ve seen it at home and can’t take it anymore!
For females, the observations are much more subtle. Group play dynamics become quickly unbalanced when pheromones are working their magic. Male dogs can smell pheromones from miles away and many will become extremely aggressive to get to the un-spayed female. As such, we don’t work with dogs that are over a year old and not spayed. Still, even for the young pups, we’re on the look out for bloody discharges and mild behavioral changes such as wanting to be more affectionate with the humans in the playroom.
The ASPCA indicates spaying the females will result in a longer life cycle: 3 – 5 years in some cases! Some of that is a function of preventing uterine cancers and the like which can be malignant in 50% of dogs. For males, neutering eliminates the threat of testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
If all of this isn’t compelling enough, please go back to that starting statistic: 512 puppies! If you’ve never had the good fortune (?) to handle a litter of puppies, know that they are eating and defecating machines! It is not easy work . . . even for small litters. The talent of professional breeders is amazing! The cost (financial, emotional, physical, etc.) of caring for a litter is intense. Be prepared for this very heavy burden if you choose not to fix your pups.
One final note: There’s a lot of debate / literature / studies / etc. in the veterinary world about when the best time to get your dog fixed is. We suggest you always consult with your veterinarian and be open / honest about what your experiences are. Ask lots of questions so you can be comfortable with the result.
If you get a puppy, please spend the time to get educated on the topic — the consequences of not doing so are significant!