Spaying and Neutering: Myth Versus Fact
MYTH: Spaying and neutering is too expensive.
FACT: Your pets will live longer, cost you less in veterinary bills, and be healthier if they are spayed/neutered. In the Sacramento area, many low-cost spay/neuter clinics and programs are available help you afford the procedure.
MYTH: A female should have a litter before being spayed.
FACT: Medical evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Each heat cycle a female goes through will increase her risk for developing breast cancer. A non-spayed female is at risk for developing uterine infections, a potentially life-threatening problem that requires immediate surgery.
MYTH: We don’t need to neuter males because they can’t give birth.
FACT: It takes two to make a litter! Plus, many animals who are hit by cars are unaltered male dogs and cats out looking for unaltered females. Neutering males also has many health and behavior benefits (links to 2.4: Benefits of Spaying and Neutering).
MYTH: Neutering my male dog or cat will make him feel like less of a man.
FACT: Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity. Neutering will not change a pet's personality. He doesn't suffer an emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
MYTH: My pet is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like him/her.
FACT: Your pet's puppies or kittens have an unlikely chance of being an exact copy of your pet. Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee. You have a better chance of finding pets who are just as special as yours by adopting one from a shelter, where you can interact with them before bringing them home.
MYTH: My pet never leaves the yard.
FACT: Gates can get left open and fences can blow down. Your pets can get out even if you don’t intend them to.
Myth: My dog won’t protect me if I neuter him.
Fact: A dog’s willingness to protect comes from being part of the family “pack.” If anything, neutering your dog will make him less interested in roaming to look for a mate, thus focusing his energy on pleasing you.
MYTH: Neutering will make my pet fat and lazy.
FACT: Too much food and too little exercise make a pet fat and lazy.
MYTH: I can find homes for all the puppies or kittens of my female pet.
FACT: Finding good homes is not easy. Even if you can, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. Then their offspring have offspring and so on and so on. By fixing your one pet you can help save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
Myth: There is no need to spay/neuter a purebred.
FACT: Purebreds and their offspring end up in shelters too. In Fact, as many as 25% of shelter pets are purebreds.
MYTH: My children should see the miracle of birth.
FACT: Pets often have their litters in a secluded area in the middle of the night. Also, the birthing process can be traumatizing to watch. A female in labor is often anxious, and may bite or snap. Kittens and puppies can become “stuck” in the birth canal and need surgical intervention. Stillborn and deformed offspring are common. Instead, teach your children humane treatment and kindness to cats and dogs by educating them about the importance of spay neuter.