Your puppy’s first year is full of many exciting milestones. From that initial welcome home, to their first puppy class, to the moment they finally get the hang of potty training, puppies bring a whirlwind of emotions as they grow through this important time in their life—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. One particular milestone you may address during this time is spaying or neutering—reproductive procedures that surgically remove the gonads (i.e., testicles in a male dog, or the ovaries and uterus in a female dog). Unless you plan to responsibly breed your pet, spaying and neutering are recommended for most dogs at some point in their life. Your Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital veterinarian will work with you to determine the best time for your individual pet to undergo this procedure, but the benefits are clear. Here are the top five reasons we recommend spaying and neutering dogs.
#1: Spaying and neutering eliminate the possibility of certain diseases
Intact dogs are more prone to developing life-threatening illnesses associated with their reproductive organs. Pyometra, a serious uterine infection, is one common possibility that, in one study, was shown to afflict close to 20% of intact female dogs before age 10. Pyometra necessitates emergency surgery, and can be deadly if not treated right away. Spayed and neutered pets have virtually no chance of developing cancers of the uterus, ovaries, and testicles, since these organs are completely removed during surgery. Additionally, spayed pets are significantly less likely to develop cancerous mammary tumors, especially those spayed before their first heat cycle.
#2: Gonadectomy helps pets live longer lives
Studies show that spayed and neutered pets live longer than those who remain intact, with “spayed dogs liv[ing] 23% longer than their unspayed counterparts.” Neutered pets “have a lower risk of pancreatic cancer, and their life expectancy is increased up to 18%.” Some of these statistics are likely in part because of the reduced risk of certain diseases as described above, but the decreased roaming to find a mate and other factors associated with intact behavior may also be involved.
#3: Timely spaying and neutering are associated with better behavior
It’s no secret that unneutered male dogs have a reputation for undesirable behaviors, such as increased aggression, urine marking, or mounting. But, female pets can also exhibit less-than-ideal conduct. When an intact female goes into heat, she may cry or vocalize incessantly in an effort to find a mate. She may also urine mark or dribble discharge, depending on the time of her cycle. Whether you have a male or a female dog, any intact pet will be adamant about finding a mate when the time is right. This often means they will do anything to escape—including breaking through windows or screen doors. Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates the hormones responsible for these behaviors, many of which resolve immediately after surgery.
#4: Getting your pet “fixed” may save you money—and time—in the long run
While the upfront cost of a spay or neuter surgery puts some pet owners off, considering the potential expenses of emergency pyometra surgery, cancer treatments, or behavior training is enough to convince them that gonadectomy is the way to go. Additionally, you won’t need to spend time or money diapering your female dog, or cleaning up messes associated with her heat cycle. You should also consider the time and money that raising a litter of puppies—which is a big possibility if you choose to keep your pet intact—will require. Not to mention, finding good homes for your puppies may not be as easy as you think.
#5: Spaying and neutering reduce the population of homeless pets
What better way to help your community than by taking steps to decrease the number of pets who end up in animal shelters? By spaying and neutering your puppy, you can take direct action to help end the pet overpopulation problem and limit the number of unnecessary euthanasias in our nation’s animal shelters. What better reason is there to choose to spay and neuter?
At Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital, we can’t wait to meet your puppy! Whether you recently brought home your new ball of fluff, or are looking at adopting one soon, our veterinary team is here to answer your questions about spaying and neutering. Ready to book your pet’s surgery? Contact us to set up a consultation with one of our skilled veterinarians today.