Spay & Neuter! Your Dog's Health Depends On It
What Happens During a Neuter
In the most basic terms possible, your dog’s testicles are removed during a neuter. Not only does semen production stop for the dog, the production of Testosterone cease. This differs from a human male vasectomy, whereby the ‘Vas deferens’ are cut, preventing sperm from passing through for fertilization.
A very small amount of Testosterone is still produced in the adrenal glands.
Most people recognize Testosterone as the male sex hormone, but it is responsible for much more than that! The hormone is not only responsible for sex drive, but secondary characteristics help promote fat distribution, red cell production, and maintenance of muscle strength and mass in both dogs and humans.
A small amount of Testosterone is still produced, regulated by the brain's hypothalamus and pituitary gland, to assist with secondary functions like those listed above.
Why Regulate Testosterone Production in Dogs?
Most people simply assume this is done to prevent reproduction, but there are other reasons. Since male dogs mark as a means of establishing boundaries and letting both females/other males know they are around, a mostly testosterone driven behavior, marking will probably decrease completely.
Have you ever seen your dog urinate on raised objects, or wondered why your boy feels the need to pee on absolutely every tree you pass on your walk? It isn’t as much because they need to relieve themselves as it is to spread their scent. This could not only make walks easier on the handler, the chance for messes in the house (or other people’s) decreases.
After Testosterone production is slowed (nearly completely), these behaviors should stop. However, there are many reasons for a dog to leave his scent, so stopping isn’t always the outcome.
Some dogs are territorial and can be aggressive with other animals/people. In most cases, these behaviors are hormonally driven, and should cease, or at least decrease, when the male is neutered.
Although this is usually an outcome, just like marking listed above, it isn’t always the case. If a male is aggressive/defensive for other reasons (health/physical discomfort, fear, and a plethora of instinctual responses are all possible causes), he still may respond in the same fashion.
If a dog isn’t socialized well, such concerns could still be a problem; consider contacting an accredited behaviorist.
Spaying Your Female Dog
When a female dog is spayed, both the ovaries and uterus are removed. It’s a more complicated surgery than the males get, but still very common and presents very little risk. The female will no longer menstruate (bleed), or go into heat, and of course there is no chance for puppies.
Although less common, both spaying and neutering help prevent certain types of cancer and other rare diseases.
Keep it Clean!
The biggest post surgical concern for both male and female dogs is infection, although that is still rare. Be sure to keep the area clean; don’t let your pet play in the mud or otherwise overly exert him/herself until the stitches are removed!
At first, this term sounds outrageously cruel and inhumane.
The phrase ‘population control’ sounds terrible until you consider the Two Million plus dogs and cats that are destroyed annually in the US alone- not because they were violent, not because they attacked someone or were already suffering; the vast majority are completely healthy and well behaved animals destroyed simply because our shelters can’t support their ever increasing numbers.
Some dogs are old, sick and dying, or violent, but the number is minute in comparison to the rest. Many pet enthusiasts don’t realize exactly how bad this problem has become.
These statistics don’t even account for any of the animals in Europe, the Asian countries of the world, or anywhere else. Most areas of the world don’t host the animal treatment laws America does. Considering how bad it is becoming here, even with those regulations in place...
The overpopulation problem is largely due to greedy ‘mill’ breeders ‘manufacturing more product’ (because that is all it is to them) than there is a demand for. Because these large breeders almost never properly care for their animals, there is more potential for profit by producing as many animals as legally possible.
Puppy and kitten mills are still completely legal in most states throughout the US due to the revenue they produce for the state’s economy; the pet industry is worth billions of dollars. Restricting them on a federal basis would take an act of Congress, which would require a massive shift in public opinion.
Since most pet owners don’t understand the problem or realize how bad it is, this is unlikely to happen.
An Owner’s Responsibility
Unless you plan on breeding your pets responsibly, consider having them spayed or neutered.
Are you prepared to add to the ever growing problem already in existence? Do you really want to bring more animals into a world that can’t even come close to caring for the ones that are here now? Are you Absolutely Positive you can find responsible homes if your dog does have puppies?
‘Cant’ is a relative term. Compared to things like the Department of Defense (a 2016 budget of over 600 Billion dollars), the USDA is severely underfunded. Animal welfare is only a small fraction of the entity that is the United States Department of Agriculture, receiving little attention in comparison.
It’s just not that big of a priority to those that run our country. Change would require action on the part of Congress; consider reaching out to your congressman.