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The term “neuter” is actually unisex, though some refer to altering as “spaying” a female and “neutering” a male. Altering your pet is important a wide variety of domesticated animals, which is sometimes unknown by pet owners. For instance, it is extremely important to neuter rabbits that are kept as pets, to prevent ovarian and prostate cancer which is almost always fatal to animals. In fact, only 50% of dogs that get ovarian, breast or prostate cancer are able to recover with treatment, and only 10% of cats. The numbers are far fewer for rabbits because it is not as closely monitored or treatable. If you want to know whether you should have your pet neutered, please consult your veterinarian, or send us an email to juliet.parrish@gmail.com. If I don’t know the answer, I will be more than happy to find out for you. Now, here are the Top 10 reasons EVERYONE should neuter their pets (that should be neutered).

10. Your pet does NOT need to have a litter for your child to enjoy the “miracle of birth”.

Letting your pet produce offspring that you have no intention of keeping is a terrible lesson to teach your children. Our youth needs to be taught about the importance of responsible pet ownership, and what better way to teach them than to explain what altering is- and even taking them to a shelter to show them how vital it is.  Showing your kids that you respect your pet is a lesson that will stick with them much longer than witnessing a live birth. There are lots of books and movies that can teach them that- and it’s much cleaner, too!

9. Spaying or Neutering will NOT make your pet fat.

Over-feeding and under-exercising your pet will, though. And chances are if your pet isn’t getting enough exercise you aren’t, either! Monitor your pets food intake, and take your dog for walks daily. Also, talk to your vet about what types of food you should be feeding, and how much. Many people buy a food bowl and assume they should just fill it to the top. Your vet will be able to discuss your pets activity level and assess how much food you should be giving them based on how much they burn. For example, a dog who helps a farmer herd cattle needs far more food that our bulldog who spends his days lounging on the sofa (although the bulldog would tend to disagree).

8. It will likely help the behavior of your male.

Unaltered males have very high levels of testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that makes George of the Jungle beat his chest. By neutering your male, you lower those levels, which lowers his sex drive and can lower his prey and aggression drive. Please be aware, this does NOT mean you do not have to properly socialize your dog if you have them neutered. You still much socialize your pet starting at the youngest age possible to ensure they will react well to other dogs they may meet. But, altering does help to lower that level of sexual frustration and aggression.

7. Your spayed female will not go into heat.

A female in heat can be a huge pain for pet owners. Female dogs will bleed which will result in a) Ruined sofas, chairs and bedspreads or b) your dog wearing diapers (which are NOT easy to get on). Female dogs will also urinate more frequently, which increases the risk for even a house-trained or litter-trained animal to relieve themselves elsewhere in your house. Female cats in heat are known to “meow” intensely, mostly at night, and female cats will howl to attract a mate.

6. Your male dog will be less inclined to roam from home, and your Tom cat will be less likely to get into fights with the neighborhood stray.

The only thing that will keep your dog in your yard is a fence, but if your dog does not have so much sexual frustration- he won’t go sniffing out that female dog in heat. Male dogs can actually smell a female dog in heat from up to 2 miles away! November is the worst month for automobile accidents involving whitetail deer in the northeast part of the US. This is not coincidental. It is because nearly 50% of the whitetail rutting season is in November. Rutting is the season of heat for whitetail deer, and bucks have been known to run right onto highways because they can smell a female on the other side. This same scenario could happen to your dog if he goes running after the scent of a female in heat.

5. It is highly cost-effective.

Go to http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/spayneuter for a comprehensive spay and neuter database. The cost of even a full price spay or neuter through a private veterinarian is very small in comparison to the cost of having an unwanted litter, caring for them and then finding them homes. Altering is a one-time fee that saves the money from having an unwanted litter and the cost of medical problems that can be avoided with altering. When considering whether to get a pet, this is one cost you should remember when deciding whether you can afford to care for a pet properly.

4. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.

Uterine infections, breast cancer and ovarian cancer can all be prevented through spaying your pet. Spaying your pet before her first heat cycle provides the best protection from these diseases. Your female does NOT need to have a heat cycle for any proven medical reason, contrary to popular myth.

3. Neutering provides health benefits for your male.

If done prior to 6 months of age, neutering eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer.

2. Neutering your pet is good for the community.

Stray animals can cause serious problems in our community. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, spread disease to household pets and cause harm to humans.

1. Spaying and Neutering helps to fight pet overpopulation.

Pet overpopulation is a huge and growing problem in our country. Shelters are full of homeless animals, which is a huge moral and financial burden on our country. It costs local governments up to $100 to catch, feed and ultimately destroy a homeless animal through animal control. It costs on average only $50 to spay a female dog and $45 to neuter a male dog. The prices fluctuate based on the dogs weight, but it is still lower than it costs to destroy a litter of unwanted pups. One cat and her offspring can produce up to 400,000 kittens in 7 years.

And Hey, it’s not that bad. Check out Baxter at 6 months old. He just got neutered today, and aside from the funny looking collar to keep him from licking, he is feeling great! (Frenchies always have that expression).

Baxter the French Bulldog, 6 months old.

Baxter the French Bulldog, 6 months old.

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