Why you should spay your female dog

“Remember, help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.” These are Bob Barkers famous closing words to the Price is Right. Bob was right, spaying your female dog will help reduce the number of potentially unwanted pets filling up animal shelters and roaming the streets. It will also offer benefits to both you and to your dog, ensuring a longer and happier relationship.

Spaying is a relatively simple procedure performed under a general anesthetic in which the vet will remove your dog’s uterus and ovaries. This greatly reduces the risk of your pet developing uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and pyometra (pus filled uterus). These conditions are potentially fatal and expensive to treat.

If you are concerned about the costs of spaying, call your local humane society for advice on low cost spay and neuter programs in your area. You may be able to save up to half of the standard fee.

Spaying your dog will make her a better, more manageable pet. Dogs that are intact can exhibit more difficult or aggressive behaviour than those that are spayed or neutered. Females will go into heat, probably twice a year for six to twelve days. During this time, called estrous, they will attract the attention of every intact male within sniffing distance. These dogs are only responding as nature dictates, but they will be a nuisance to you and to your neighbours and may be aggressive in their quest for your female. She may be nervous and edgy, making her more prone to biting.

Estrous is also a messy time. During this cycle your dog’s bleeding can ruin your carpets and your furniture. Cleaning or replacing these may cost you far more than spaying would have.

If you do not spay and one of those persistent males reaches your bitch in heat, you will be responsible for a litter of puppies as well as for the care of your dog while she is pregnant. Some females may require cesarean section in order to safely deliver their puppies, and the least you will need to provide for the pups before re-homing them is their first shots. These veterinary bills can mount.

Finding responsible homes for several puppies can be difficult and problematic. Experienced breeders use rigorous checks to vet potential homes for their puppies. Even they sometimes misplace pets, and carefully planned pups end up at shelters and in breed specific rescue services. Most pet owners do not have the proper experience to place puppies responsibly, and you may be contributing to the unwanted pet population.

Some pet owners have unfounded fears about spaying. First of all, it won’t make your dog fat. Lack of exercise and too much food will do that. A bitch does not need to have at least one litter to be “right.” The best time to spay is at six to seven months, before the first estrous. Allowing your dog to have puppies so your children can witness the miracle of birth is irresponsible. Would you like them to see the puppies euthanised? Unfortunately, this is the fate of far too many pets bred by irresponsible owners.

Spaying your female dog will prolong her life, preserve her health, and improve her temperament. It is the responsible choice and the one that will ensure she is with you for a long, happy time.

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