Regarding Spaying and Neutering your Dog, There’s a lot More to it

In her new column, North Bend resident and dog trainer extraordinaire for Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant, tackles the topic of “fixing” her puppy Bee…. and learning A LOT more than she anticipated.

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When I decided to get a new female puppy, I didn’t have any doubt that I would spay her. In fact, I had no doubt I dog gownwould do it exactly when everyone is told to fix their puppies – at six months.

It is the opinion of most all vets and humane associations that all dogs and cats should be fixed to help reduce the number of unwanted pets – and I agree with that opinion. However, while in the past I took that advice and asked no questions. This time I asked questions.

The suggestion that all dogs and cats should be spayed and neutered over time has evolved into they should be spayed and neutered before puberty because it is healthier.

But is this true? I wondered what would the impact of removing all human reproductive organs before puberty would be? Would anyone agree that was healthy? What would the impact be on the animal’s bone, brain and organs?

To fix an animal means to remove all reproductive organs. The pros of doing so are many:

  • Prevention of unwanted litters
  • Reduction of stray and feral animal populations
  • Reduce the spread of genetic disorders and traits
  • Prevention of reproductive organ and hormone induced diseases
  • Prevention of hormone induced behavioral issues

What I learned while doing my research is that there are reasons why people choose to not fix their animals. Things I had never really considered before. Some research shows that:

  • Dogs who are fixed are more prone to being obese
  • When female dogs are fixed early they can experience a loss of feminine characteristics and it can cause urinary incontinence
  • Some think dogs can be emotional immature into adulthood
  • While it can prevent reproductive cancers, research also shows that fixing can contribute to diabetes, hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism and Cushing’s.

Huh? I never considered these things. I didn’t really want to know,  but now that I have the information I have to make an informed decision based on everything I learned and the lifestyle I (we) lead.

Do I want to deal with a female going into season twice a year? Can I take the necessary steps to ensure that she will not become pregnant? Will our lifestyle allow for her to be confined twice a year?

In the end I made the decision to go ahead and spay Bee. For me the benefits outweighed any possible risks and I made the appointment for the surgery.

Talk to your vet and do your research. Short-term and long-term health risks for each animal should always be assessed and discussed. Understand that there are options.  Educate yourself and take the approach that best suits you and your pet.

*Full disclosure I took a wee bit too much time to make that all important decision and I noticed the day before her spay surgery that she was in season…whoopsie.

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