The Truth About Fixing Your Pet

Many reputable breeders sell the “pet quality” puppies with the agreement that the animal will be spayed (female) or neutered (male).These puppies are sold at a lower price that the “show Prospect” puppies. Even thought they have the same excellent pedigree and have received the same care and attention (hopefully), the breeder has already determined in these cases that the animal should not be used for breeding stock.

The basic disposition and temperament of your dog will not be changed by removing his or her reproductive capacity. Neutering a male can make him more tolerant of other males but neither neutering or spaying will by itself turn your dog into and obese lazy animal- that is the result of excess food and inadequate exercise.

Some veterinarians like to do the spaying or neutering at a relatively young age (5 or 6 months), but this is dependent upon breed and will vary from dog to dog. Some bitches that are spayed at a young age can develop urinary problems later in life. Occasionally, with male it would be better to wait until the dog is a year old to ensure better development and appearance. A male altered before he learns to lift his leg will probably not learn to do so later and will be less likely to mark his territory. The age that your dog should be spayed or neutered is best determined by your veterinarian.


Benefits of Fixing your Dog

There are several advantages to neutering your dog. Neutering your dog decreases penis-sheath discharge and floor spotting. Male hormones can also male a dog more likely to jump up on people and engage in dominant behavior. Neutering reduces this behavior as well as preventing the big urge to “roam.” Dogs that are less likely to roam are less likely to get hit by a car. Unaltered males can also tend to me more overly protective and aggressive. Additionally there is a dramatic reduction or anal cancers (adenoma), Prostate cancer, prostate infections testicular cancers and sheath infections. Also Neutered males will not be stressed and upset by the scent of bitches in season, be less likely to show aggression towards family and friends and are less tempted or be distracted from their work. The neutered male will not develop testicular cancer and the risk of prostate cancer is greatly lowered.

Benefits of spaying include not having to worry about accidental breeding, the stress and unconvincing of confining a bitch in season, risky mis-mating shots and unwanted puppies. The spayed bitch will not develop uterine infections or tumors of the reproductive system as do so many older unspayed dogs. These can be potentially life threatening if not caught in time. Additionally many of these conditions have symptoms which resemble a season and are difficult to tell apart with out veterinary assistance – the problems is some owners think their bitch is in season and do not seek veterinary care until it is to late.


Fact and Fiction

Fiction: Dogs that are spayed or neutered cannot be shown in any akc shows/events

Fact: The American Kennel Club permits spayed or neutered animals to participate in all phases of obedience, tracking and field work but not in confirmation classes

Fiction: Once a dog is spayed or neutered he or she will get fat

Fact: Weight is primarily a result or proper feeding, exercise and heredity

Fiction: Surgery is expensive and unnecessary

Fact: the surgery cost approximately 100$ for a neuter and anywhere from 90-130$ for the spay procedure. The cost of the surgery depends on mainly the age and the size of the dog. This includes hospitalization, general anesthesia, medication and suture removal. The surgery has many benefits and can significantly increase your dog life expectancy

Fiction: The operation is extremely painful

Fact: Not really. The procedure utilizes general anesthesia and for males apparently causes little to no discomfort.

I want my dog to breed at least once before I have him neuter. Besides he’s too young to have the surgery.

Read below considerations of a stud dog owner

If you are considering breeding your dog there are several things that should be taken into consideration. In most instances a prospective breeder should work with an experience breeder in determining if their dog is the proper representation of the breed and in proper health condition for reproduction.

Prospective breeders should take into account the pedigree, temperament and the breed standards and overall health of the animal. Failure to take all of these variables into account may very likely result in puppies that have intensified faults and defects. The following guidelines should be considered in you evaluation.

Pedigree: a four or five generation pedigree on the proposed litter should be researched and interpreted by person with extensive knowledge of the breed and the dogs involved. Titles alone are no guarantee of a genetic value. Pedigree research or consultation will also help prevent inexperienced breeders from accidentally inbreeding.

Temperament: Dogs should be bred to a standard temperament which varies depending on the breed. The dog behavior and that of the mother and father of the dog should be evaluated. Dogs that are overly aggressive, overly submissive, neurotic or display undesirable genetic traits should not be considered.

Breed Standard: The dog should be a perfect or near perfect representation of the breed standard before it is allowed to reproduce. You should have your dog evaluated for his confirmation by an expert or even show in the confirmation ring for evaluation.

Overall health and congenital defects: Any inheritable defects including but not limited to: off color, undescended testicles, over- or under-shot jaw, congenital heart defects, moderate to severe displasia, recurrent skin problems, thyroid deficiency, immunological problems, recurrent seizures or epilepsy occurring in either parent are all reasons not to breed regardless of other qualities.

Additionally, a breeding animal must be fully mature, in the prime of health and in lean muscular condition. All inoculations should be up to date and the animal should be free of both internal and external parasites. Acquired problems such as a narrow birth canal from previous injury, transmittable venereal tumor, venereal disease, anemia, any disease or infection of the reproductive organs, concurrent disease of other organ systems or any contagious disease are all reasons not to breed.

Considerations of Owners of Un-spayed Females

Many pet owners decide to have a litter or puppies before spaying their dog. Intent for this can be anywhere from a desire to make money to showing their children the birth process to the belief that all bitches should have at least one litter.

“Making Money”- While pup-raising may seem to be an easy way to make money, it is usually quite expensive. Puppies have to be seen by the veterinarian: after birth; for dew claw removal and tail-dock; and for shots depending on the age at placement. Additionally, unexpected medical expenses such as health concerns or emergency (or even planned), cesarean sections can become quite costly.

“Teaching the Birth Process”- Having a litter of puppies can be an eye-opening experience to most children, however as whelping, raising and placing puppies in a new homes frequently is an expensive proposition. It can be an expensive lesson, a lesson that can also be seen at your local zoo for the small price of admission.

Additionally, if all the puppies cannot be places, the left-over pups are yours to raise. Potentially, if all the puppies are not placed into homes, you may have to turn the remaining pups over to the pound, where they may be destroyed. As a result, this could be a negative experience for your children.

“One Litter First”- It is not medically, or behaviorally, beneficial for a bitch to have a litter prior to being spayed. It can however, be detrimental to the bitch’s attitude at home. After having a litter, the bitch may become overly protective of her puppies- after the litter is gone, she main remain over-protective. She may then be more likely to be toy- food-or bed- possessive which can, in some cases, be dangerous if directed towards children in the household.

Considerations of the Stud Dog Owner

If you are thinking of using your male stud, you are no less responsible for the quality of the litter than the owner of the dam. You have the obligation of thoroughly screening every owner that makes an inquiry for stud services, including information about the bitch to be bred; traveling to and from the airport to pick-up and return bitches sent to you for breeding; boarding and caring for bitches in your care; actual breeding; supplying pedigrees, photos and examination reports; and keeping meticulous records. This is all done as circumstances dictate and not necessarily at your convenience.

Once male dog has sired a litter, you will notice an increase in attitude problems as well as an increase in the urge to roam. Dogs can smell a bitch in season up to ten miles away.

Consider the Current Dog Population

Bringing about the creation of new life should never be taken lightly. The problem of unwanted dogs has reached overwhelming proportions. If, at this point you are still considering breeding your dog, visit the dog pound in the city nearest you. Ask how many dogs are put down monthly and how many were pure-bred dogs.

Andrew Fraser is president and training director for Canine Obedience Unlimited, a full-service training and boarding facility located in Urbana. Fraser is a Master Trainer graduate of the National K9 School for Professional Dog Trainers, a No Limitations graduate of Sit Means Sit and a certified first aid and CPR instructor from Pet Tech 240-793-5787.