Spaying Dogs: Why it's Important
And What You Should know

Why it's important.

6-8 million unwanted dogs enter shelters each year and 3-4 million of these dogs are euthanized, many within days of entering.

That means that approximately 11,000 dogs are being euthanized each day (every 9-11 seconds), in the United States alone.

25% or more of these doomed creatures are purebreds. That's a staggering number of young, healthy, loveable, perfectly good animals dying needlessly.

Shelter dogs are NOT damaged goods, undesirable mutts or sickly strays... The truth is that nearly all of these healthy, intelligent and loveable dogs are just the unfortunate products of irresponsible owners... like the cocker spaniel in the picture above I saw at my local, small-town shelter. She was abandoned when her "family" decided she wasn't getting enough attention. Can you see the irony?

Your puppy's puppies...

I'm sure you think of yourself as a responsible pet owner. If your 'inside dog' should become the unfortunate "victim" of a roaming male dog in your area, I'm sure you think you'll be able to find homes for all the puppies.

But will you be able to find homes for all the puppies of those dogs, then their puppy's puppies and all the offspring who comes after them? The answer is no, you won't.

Dogs are companion animals. Humans domesticated dogs 16,000 - 32,000 years ago. Meanwhile, they've given us their unconditional love, protection, companionship and unwavering loyalty. Yet humans, as the "so-called" intelligent species, haven't yet found a way to do the same for them.

Spaying Dogs: Other Benefits

Controlling the population of unwanted dogs is vital, but spaying your dog also means that she will no longer "come into season" (have a heat cycle, known as estrus). She will no longer be attracting neighborhood dogs... and in case you've wondered, female dogs do feel the biological urge to seek out male dogs when they're in heat.

They can and do find ways to escape. Stasticially, more than double the number of intact dogs (male and female) are lost every year compared to "fixed" dogs. And too many of these animals are never recovered.

The health benefits are also undeniable. Unspayed female dogs die an average of 2-3 years sooner than spayed dogs. Here are just a few of those reasons.

  • Cancer- 1 in every 4 un-spayed female dogs will eventually developed mammary tumors! And at least half of these will be malignant! The longer you wait to spay, the higher the risk. 
  • Pyometra- If you've never heard of this condition, your chances of hearing it in the future rises to about 66% if you choose to leave your dog "intact". Dogs can and do die from this common uterine infection, even with treatment.
  • Behavioral and hygiene problems- Unspayed female dogs will try to escape. Once gone, her chances of becoming a neighborhood nuisance, fighting with other dogs or getting hit by a car skyrocket. Un-spayed female dogs also pose a hygiene threat to you, your family and other pets.

We've heard the nonsensical arguments against spaying...

  • "We want our children to see the miracle of birth before we spay our dog."
  • "We feel it's better for the dog's health and emotional well-being to have a litter before we have her spayed."

Both of these arguments are completely without merit.

Dogs are not like humans. Female dogs do not feel the need to procreate when their biologic clocks start ticking. They are driven by pure instinct to seek a male while they're in heat, but it's certainly not because they want to fill a void that only 6-12 puppies can bring.

They do not benefit in any way from having litters before being spayed, period.

As far as wanting your children to experience the miracle of birth... Let me just say this. As parents, it's far more important for us to teach our children responsibility. Controlling the population of unwanted dogs and cats dying in shelters is a responsibility we all share.

Instead, give your child the gift of good character by taking them to a shelter for a day of volunteering. Let them feel good about themselves for doing something that really matters, like walking or feeding the homeless dogs and cats. That, my fellow animal lovers, is a gift you can give your child that will definitely keep on giving.

But if (for whatever reason) you still find it extremely important for your children to see the "miracle of birth", ie, your beloved dog chew the messy embryonic sac from a newborn puppy... please just YouTube it.

Is Spaying Safe?

Dog spaying is one of the most routine surgeries in vet clinics worldwide. In fact, having your dog spayed is far more safe than not doing so.

For healthy dogs, it's very rare for any complications to occur during surgery. As long as all post-operative instructions are followed once your dog is home, the chance for any complication after surgery is also very low, especially compared to the risk of not spaying.

Spaying a female dog (or cat) is a very common and routine process of removing her uterus and ovaries through a small incision in her abdominal wall.

Aside from being low risk and high benefit to the health of YOUR dog, you will also be saving the lives of potentially thousands of unwanted and homeless dogs dying in shelters everyday.

The Risks of Not Spaying

Most countries have a vast overpopulation of unwanted companion animals. In the US, that number is staggering and includes a lot more than just the animals dying in shelters. If we consider all the strays running the streets, the number of unwanted and homeless dogs jumps into the tens of millions!

In Detroit alone, 50,000 to 100,000 dogs are roaming the streets. They are flea infested, many are starving, fighting for food, dumping trash cans and being poisoned (by residents) for doing nothing more than trying to fill their basic need for food.

Spaying Dogs While They're Young

The younger, the better. The sooner a dog is spayed, the lower her chance of developing any disease.

Their is not a 100% consensus (on the vets we polled) for the best age to spay, but the most logical number seems to be about 4-5 months old.

Spaying before the age of 3 months old seems to increase the likelihood of developing urinary incontinence, if only by a very small number. Since most dogs will have their first heat cycle around 6 months of age and spaying before their first heat cycle all but eliminates the risk for disease, 4-5 months old seems to be the magic age for spaying according to several of the vets we've spoken to.

Spaying Dogs: You CAN Afford It! And There Is Help Available.

There are several national organizations that provide financial help for those who seek to do the responsible thing. Click on the link above to find one in your state. If you live outside of the United States, do a google search for your country to find financial help that may be available to you.

On top of the financial help available to you, there are more than likely several low-cost spay neuter programs/facilities in your area. This link can help you find one!

Click here for information on neutering.

There may be even more benefits of neutering when it comes to your male dog. Click the link above to find out why.

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