Spay & Neutering Myths

In honor of Spay Day 2010, let’s debunk some of the common spaying and neutering myths out there.

MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: It’s better to have NO litters before spaying your female pet. Females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier, according to veterinary experts. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.

MYTH: I want my children to experience the miracle of birth.
FACT: This won’t accomplish that. Show them a video of puppies being born, instead. Teach children the miracle of life. Tell them that all life is precious, and show them this by spaying and neutering your pets, and then adopting your next pup from a shelter or rescue group.

MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.
FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters.

MYTH: I don’t want my male dog to feel like less of a male.
FACT: A dog’s sense of self is not tied up in his genitals. Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered. This is more about the owner feeling less of a male. If the sight of a testicle-free dog bothers you, check out Neuticals. These are testicular implants that are inserted after sterilization. I’m not wild about the idea, but if it gets someone to neuter his or her dog, then it’s good by me.

MYTH: My dog will get fat and lazy.
FACT: No, overeating and lack of exercise makes pets fat and lazy.

MYTH: But my dog is so special/cute/loving, I want a puppy just like her.
FACT: Are you just like your parents? Puppies are offspring, not clones. There is no guarantee that a pup born to the best dog in the universe will be just like her. It’s not all about genetics, but also environmental factors that create great dogs.

MYTH: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: Not at all. Many low-cost options exist for spay/neuter services, most under $100. If that seems like a lot, think about how much it will cost in vet care to treat your dog through pregnancy, testicular cancer, uterine problems. If the cost still seems too high, look into free clinics around the Southland.

MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies.
FACT: I’m sure you will. And those three, four, five or six families you give your puppies to will then not go to a shelter and adopt three, four, five or six dogs off of death row. So then three, four, five or six more dogs will die. And besides, how do you know that these puppies of yours will not wind up in a shelter someday themselves?

The Humane Society