Always Spay and Neuter Pets – To Breed Or Not To Breed?

Introduction

It is important to spay and neuter pets, as there are already too many abandoned pets put to death at local authority pounds, and animal rescues are bursting at the seams. People who do not spay or neuter their pets contribute considerably to that problem, along with people purposely breeding their pets irresponsibly, and people buying pets on a whim and then abandoning them when they are no longer convenient to keep.

Another good reason to spay and neuter your pets is because they can experience health benefits, as well as behavioural improvements. Spaying and neutering is what every responsible pet owner should do.

Image: Singer Morrisey explains how constant new litters of pets kills chances of shelter pets being adopted, or avoiding being put to death because of there not being enough homes.

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Every time somebody buys a new puppy, kitten, or rabbit, etc, they could have instead saved the life of an abandoned pet by adopting from a rescue. Because of the abundance of newly bred pets available that are chosen over shelter pets, more of those shelter pets are put to death, feeling scared, alone and unloved.

When puppies and kittens keep being bred, people keep buying them instead of adopting abandoned pets. Sadly, this means a large number of abandoned pets are put to death every year because all the life saving spaces at animal rescues are full.

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All the rescue spaces are full because there are not enough people adopting pets, compared to the number of people who are buying newly bred pets and then abandoning them.

Through spaying and neutering, you can prevent adding to the innocent deaths AND help your own pet live a happier, healthier, longer life.

It is always best to spay and neuter pets as soon as possible, without them having any litters. It is myth that an animal should have at least one litter. There is no benefit to that at all.

Image:  There are literally thousands of good reasons to spay and neuter pets. If everyone was responsible and spayed/neutered their pet, there would be many fewer innocent, adoptable pets put to death.

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When To Spay or Neuter Dogs

Vets often advise that dogs are spayed before their first season. In females, this is commonly around 6 months old. Males can be neutered around 8 months old. Both sexes can be neutered as early as 8 weeks old.

If your bitch has had a season, approximately 3 months should be allowed after her season before she is spayed.

A huge benefit of neutering male dogs earlier and bitches before their first season is that it reduces the risk of causing more innocent unwanted dogs being put to death by adding to the already huge overpopulation of dogs.

Image: It is not recommended for a bitch to have her first litter before being spayed. 

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When To Spay or Neuter Cats

Cats can be spayed and neutered around four months, but are more commonly neutered around five to six months of age. However, they can breed before this age, so be careful!

It is definitely not recommended for cats to have a litter before being spayed.

Image: There are benefits for not only the pets who are spayed or neutered, but also for the many of innocent pets who would have ended up being put to death due to pet overpopulation. Another benefit is to tax payers, whos money would not need to be used dealing with pet overpopulation.

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When And Why To Spay And Neuter Rabbits

Around 6 months is fine for rabbits, but they can breed well before then, so separation of same sex rabbits is vital.

Prior to rabbits being spayed / neutered, separating them with just a secure wire fence / partition that they can smell and touch each other through allows them to form a bond while preventing mating.

Rabbits are social animals and are happier with rabbit company. The best pairing is usually a male and female, as long as they are both neutered. Neutering can reduce aggression.

Up to 80% of female rabbits that haven’t been spayed can develop cancer of the womb.

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When To Spay And Neuter Ferrets

When ferrets are bought from pet shops and breeders, they may not be neutered. It is important to get them spayed and neutered as soon as possible. It is actually a matter of life or death.

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Ideally, female ferrets should be spayed prior to four months of age and before coming into heat for the first time. Female ferrets who are not spayed and come into heat, become ill and die without intervention.

If your female ferret is already in heat, she will need a vet to give her the “jill jab”. This is an injection which works to bring a female ferret out of heat and stop her from dying from heat-induced anaemia. Spaying prevents this from happening.

Life-threatening pregnancy associated problems are common in ferrets. This is another reason why spaying female ferrets is the safe choice. Ferrets are also difficult to re-home and are regularly put to death because of being unwanted.

Unless they are neutered, male Ferrets are prone to becoming very aggressive towards other ferrets and can aggressively attack them. they are also likely to bite people.

To prevent this, male ferrets should be neutered before four months of age if possible. If not, talk to your vet about having your male ferret neutered after this age.

Another advantage to neutering males is that they no longer smell so terrible!

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For more detailed information about why to spay and neuter your ferret, see here.

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Health Benefits Of Neutering Male Dogs And Other Male Pets

Neutering your dog, or other male pets, offers several health benefits. Without neutering, an enlarged prostate is very likely, which is uncomfortable and may interfere with defecation.

The prostate is also vulnerable to infection and inflammation (prostatitis) in dogs that are not neutered.

In addition, certain types of hernias and testicular cancer can be prevented with neutering, and the chance of anal and perianal tumours can be greatly reduced.

Image: Neutering prevents a number of diseases, illnesses and conditions in male pets.

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Health Benefits Of Spaying Female Dogs And Other Female Pets

Spaying a bitch before she is 2 years old significantly reduces the risk of female cancers such as uterine, ovarian and mammary cancers. If spayed before her first season, it can totally remove the risk of these cancers.

Spaying also prevents pyometra and other uterine infections.

In addition, spaying a female obviously eliminates the mess associated with her being in season.

Much of the above information also applies to spaying other female pets.

Image: Some of the health benefits to spaying a female cat

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Health Disadvantages To Traditional Spaying & Neutering

If spaying or neutering is done earlier than 5 1/2 months in dogs of either sex, some studies suggest that growth hormones can be affected.

Urinary incontinence is thought to be higher in spayed bitches than those not spayed. However, it is still a small percentage and can be treated fairly cheaply with medicine.

Some bitches only need one or two courses of the treatment, whereas with others it will be ongoing, often with a reduced dosage.

My own rescued dog is on this medicine, although we don’t think her urinary incontinence was linked to her being spayed. Since she now only needs a very small amount of it every few days, it costs about £30 only every six months or so.

All the benefits of spaying and neutering far outweigh any disadvantages.235bf735a71599ff8f49d80e82810389

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Alternative Method To Traditional Spay And Neuter

Even though the many advantages of spaying and neutering are clear, there are some opposers to the traditional method of doing it who think there is a better way. They advocate vasectomy for males and hysterectomy without oophorectomy for females – sterilisation without desexing.

Even so, supporters of this method emphasise that they do not advocate non-sterilisation. However you have your pet sterilised, it is far better than not doing it at all. Talk to your vet about this method of sterilisation if you are at all concerned.

Image: Powerful reasons to spay or neuter your pet.
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If I Spay and Neuter Pets Will They Put On Weight?

Many people believe that spaying and neutering cause animals to put on weight. A number of scientific studies have resulted in conflicting conclusions.

While some studies found that spaying and neutering may affect the metabolism of the pet, they conceed that it may just be the natural aging process which has the same effect.

Diet and exercise should always be monitored and adjusted so that your pet is receiving the correct amount of both for its metabolic rate.

Energy and activity levels do not change because of being neutered and neither does appetite. Therefore, there is no reason that dogs or other pets should put on weight because of being neutered.

Image: Reasons pets put on weight are because of energy and metabolic rate decreasing because of age, over feeding, not enough exercise and, more rarely, other underlying medical conditions.

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Behavioural Benefits Of Spaying And Neutering

The only behaviour changes are positive ones.

  • Dogs tend to become more obedient.
  • Interest in running off is eliminated in approximately 90% of spayed or neutered dogs of both sex.
  • Aggression towards other male dogs is eliminated in approximately 60% of neutered male dogs.
  • Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs.
  • Sexual mounting / humping is eliminated in approximately 70% of spayed or neutered dogs, but the dogs may still use mounting and humping to demonstrate dominance.
  • Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat.
  • If you have more than one pet in your household, the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.

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My Personal Experience

I would always spay and neuter pets because I would never want to have the deaths of innocent shelter pets on my conscience by accidentally adding to overpopulation. I also want my dog to experience the health benefits associated with being spayed, such as living a longer life.

With my dog, my spay and neuter experience has been only positive. I am glad to say that the same is true with other people I have spoken to, and that they have had similar experiences to mine.

Before being spayed, my dog would be easily distracted and run off towards other dogs which were so far away they were just dots on the horizon. No matter how much calling I did, or how stern I made my voice sound, she would take absolutely no notice.

Post spay, the difference is amazing. She actually listens to me! If she begins to head towards another dog, as soon as I call, she responds and comes back. She is also still as friendly and loving to us as she always was.

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The Cost of Spaying And Neutering

In certain areas, some charities offer money off neutering to low income families on benefits. You must have proof of receiving these benefits to qualify.

Even paying full price, the cost to spay and neuter pets is far less than to provide proper care for a litter of newborn puppies or kittens and their mother.

Last but not least, not spaying and neutering pets costs lives. The lives of innocent abandoned pets that are put to death because of the pet overpopulation that neglecting to spay and neuter pets contributes to.
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Misconceptions And Myths About Spaying And Neutering

Myth: If you spay and neuter pets they put on weight.
The main reason dogs or cats put on weight is because they eat too much and exercises too little. Many studies can find no evidence to suggest pets gain weight because of spaying and neutering.

Myth: Bitches should be allowed to have one litter before being spayed.
This is an old wives tale. There is no reason for bitches to have a litter before being spayed. All that will do will add to the already out of control dog overpopulation and cause more innocent dogs to be put to death.

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Myth: When you spay and neuter pets, it changes their personalities.
The only behavioural change is that undesirable behavior is reduced, such as roaming and aggression in dogs. See the ‘Behavioural Benefits of Spaying And Neutering’ section above for more information.

Myth: Bitches should not be spayed until they have had their first season.

There is no reason for a bitch to wait until after her first heat to be spayed, unless on the advice of a vet for a specific medical reason.

Image: You may think it’s OK to breed animals if you find them great homes. But what can seem a great home may not be, and what about if they don’t spay or neuter their pets, how do you know what will happen to their pets babies, and their pets babies babies, etc? Statistics say that many of them will end up in shelters, alone and unwanted, then put to death. All because you didn’t spay or neuter your pet in the first place.

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Thinking About Just One Litter?

Isn’t it wrong to deprive an animal of the natural right to reproduce?
It is not cruel to prevent pets from reproducing. It is responsible. People who do not spay and neuter pets, resulting in a litter, become responsible for the deaths of many innocent shelter animals. Causing that to happen is cruel.

This is because there are nowhere near enough homes for the existing population of dogs and cats due to the high pet abandonment rate, and as long as people breed their pets, people buy puppies and kittens instead of saving the lives of the abandoned dogs and cats by adopting them.

Responsible, reputable breeders should have homes for all their puppies / kittens, or any animals they are breeding, before mating even takes place (see Bad Breeders). Even then, it is likely they are taking away a home that could have been given to a shelter dog / cat. As a result, the dog / cat will be put to death amongst millions of other innocent, loving, healthy, adoptable dogs / cats of all ages.

I’ve got a pure breed / pedigree dog, can’t I allow her to have just one litter?
There are a lot of purebreds in shelters as well as mixed breeds. Around 25% – 30% of the dogs in shelters and rescues are pure breeds. Many of those never find homes and are sadly put to death along with millions of others every year.

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How Can I Help?

You can help stop the deaths of innocent dogs, cats, rabbits, and more, at pounds and shelters by spreading the word any way you can.

Use your voice to educate and influence other people.

Share the information or images on this page through social media, or on any other platform you can.

Put up posters and flyers in your area, such as the one below, or deliver them through doors.

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Use what you wear to raise awareness, by displaying messages your accessories and clothes, like the T-shirts below.

Image: Pro-spay and neuter T-shirts sold in our Fundraising Store

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Do a school assignment on the topic that will help educate classmates and teachers.

And of course, last but not least, spay and neuter your pets.

Spreading The Word On Social Media

Join social media sites selling puppies and kittens, and on posts where people state they are looking for a dog or cat, respectfully ask them if they would consider adopting a rescued dog or cat, and point them to the list on this website where they can find animal rescues in their area.

Let the know there are general dog/cat/animal rescues, rescues for small dog breeds only and large dog breeds only, and rescues for specific dog or cat breeds that cover probably every breed.

Tell them how by adopting they will be saving a life because the life saving rescue space they make available by adopting can save the life of a pound dog or cat that would otherwise be destroyed when their short time at the pound was up. There are far more animals needing these life saving rescue  spaces, so the more people who adopt, the fewer pets have to die alone and unloved.

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Why Else Do Animal Need Our Help And What Can I Do?

If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at the Types Of Animal Cruelty section of this site. This section will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.

Sadly, what you will find is only the tip of the iceberg, but do not worry, because in the Help Stop Animal Cruelty section of this site, you can find a large and varied choice of ways that you can help stop the suffering. Have a look and see what ways would most suit you.

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