Neutering, also called altering or sterilizing, refers to the surgical
removal of an animal's reproductive organs. A male dog's testicles are
removed in surgery called a gonadectomy, or castration. A female dog's
ovaries and uterus are removed in surgery called an ovariohysterectomy, or
spay surgery. Neutering procedures are the most common elective surgeries
veterinarians perform, and are very safe when conducted by a veterinarian
under sterile conditions. Random bred dogs should certainly be neutered,
but reputable breeders agree that purebred dogs not in a professional
breeding program should also be sterilized.
NOT FAT AND LAZY
The line about spaying or neutering making a canine companion turn chubby is practically a classic. The truth of the matter is that any overfed, under-exercised dog can put on weight regardless of its sexual state.
Nor will neutering or spaying cause a dog to become lethargic, although if a male has
been putting all his energies into pursuing lady dogs with lust in his heart. he may become calmer once the urge to merge has been quelled.
Some folks tend to anthropomorphize their pets. So they see the act of neuteririg a male as somewhat dcgrading and robbing him of his macho nature. Or they regard spaying as depriving their female of maternal rights, taking away her femininity. They feel they wouldn't want to see it happen to themselves and so they don't want to see it happen to their dogs.
This is so wrong. Dogs are dogs and people are people. Dogs don't even understand romance - candlelight and soft music are wasted on them. Please don't attribute your own beliefs about sexuality to your pet. Instead, think about what's best for his or her life with you, and his or her life in society.
There are many sound medical reasons for considering neutenng or spaying. Dr. Milts discusses them in his article on health, elsewhere in this issue.
There are also humanitarian reasons for the operations, the prime one being that your pet will not accidentally add to the overpopulation problem that results in so many
helpless, unwanted dogs
being put to death in animal
shelters each year. These
number in the millions. It is your responsibility to be sure that you don't allow your dog to contribute to the problem, through some fuzzy notion, about preserving your dog's sexual rights.
There are many practical reasons for considering spaying or neutering. A spayed female will not have messy, twice-yearly heats that leave blood stains on your rugs and furniture. Nor will she attract a bevy of amorous swains to
wail piteously outside your
door and water your shrubbery.
Instead she can be your
companion any time, ready for play or competition. since you don't have to worry about her periods of confinement.
The male dog that seems intent on grabbing your leg or making love to the arm of the sofa can be turned into a more reserved gentleman via the surgeon's scalpel. And the result is usually a far more tractable and pleasant pet. Neutered males are also less likely to leave home for some alluring female since the 'drive' is no longer there. another plus is that they won't be inclined to 'scent-mark' their territory (in other words. lift a leg) in forbidden areas.
What's more, a dog that is spayed or neutered before the age of sexual responsiveness will never miss sex. It will never occur to him or her.
There's one time when vou should not have your purebred dog spayed or neutered and that's when you intend to participate in conformation dog shows, which originated to help breeders select the very best dogs to carry on the breed. Since spayed or neutered dogs can't produce, the rules prohibit them from being shown. However, thev're happily accepted in other official and unofficial sports such as obedience or lure coursing.
If you have no interest in conformation shows or in breeding, consider the many benefits of spaying or neutering your pet.