Spaying & Neutering
Spaying or neutering your dog can seem cruel, but if your dog or bitch is not spayed or neutered, the results can be far more serious, particularly if litter after litter of unwanted puppies are born. There are two camps when it comes to spay and neuter surgery, those who agree with it, and those who oppose it.
Those for spaying and neutering include many dog shelters and rescue groups, who often sterilise all of the animals that they adopt. Some advocacy groups believe that spaying and neutering should be law for all dogs and cats. Many dog owners believe that dogs should not be allowed to create unwanted litters.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are many pet owners and animal care workers who think that sterilising animals is cruel, and that pets shouldn't have to lose their reproductive capacity. The cost of the surgery also prevents some families from having it done. Furthermore, myths about canine reproduction can put people off (including dogs turning into wimps, and bitches becoming fat.)
What does spaying or neutering a dog actually do?
Neutering male dogs often means that they roam less, mark territory less, and are less dominant with humans and other animals. Neutered dogs are often healthier. Female dogs who have been spayed suffer less from heat cycles that can lead to personality changes.
Dogs and bitches do not gain weight simply through sterilisation; this is controlled by diet and exercise, or genetic precondition.
Is surgery for spaying or neutering a dog expensive?
Many animal experts believe that spaying and neutering surgery should be free in order to encourage dog owners to sterilise their pets. The surgery is comparatively major, however, and particularly amongst bitches who have already had a litter it can be difficult and time-consuming. The operation includes pre-surgical exams, anaesthetisation, preparation and the actual surgery itself.
Taking responsibility for dogs who have not been spayed or neutered
Those pet owners who have taken the decision not to spay their bitches or neuter their dogs have a right to their choice, but they should take responsibility for their animal. For instance, if a dog has a surprise or unwanted (by the owner) litter, then the following essentials must be remembered:
- The bitch must have excellent nutrition and vet care during and following the birth
- The owner should stay with the bitch during a birth, in order to clean and dry the puppies and deal with any problems during the pregnancy or delivery
- The puppies must be kept warm and the whelping area must be kept clean
- The puppies should be kept for at least eight weeks
- The pups should have basic healthcare before being sold/given
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