Who wants you to “fix” your dog?

The cause and effect relationship between pet neutering and the dramatic reduction in shelters dog deaths in the US is clear and so well-known, neutering one’s pet has become a key tenet of “responsible dog ownership.”

After all this history, it is understandable that some people would be resistant, or even hostile to new information that could make owners less likely to neuter their dogs! It should also be noted that neutering is one of the first things taught in American veterinary schools and a key aspect of establishing relationships with new clients. On the other hand, a small but growing number of veterinarians are now performing ovary-sparing spays and vasectomies, practices that utilize the new information.

Below are a few statements from individuals and organizations about the value of neutering pets. Many still report only health benefits associated with fixing your dog. Be generous in your judgment of these sources, many are sincere, and simply stating opinions that are based on old data.

In Their Own Words:

  • “Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs […] Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems. – ASPCA, “Spay/Neuter Your Pet (note that the above facts, aside from ‘longer, healthier life’ are inarguably true — what is missing are health problems associated with neutering dogs.
  • “Experts say states with the healthiest and longest-living pets also have the highest neutering and spaying rates – USA Today, 05/07/13 (this statistic is true; however, just as we have done here, it is regularly taken out of context. There are important additional factors involved, such as living conditions and lifelong medical care received in various states. The USA Today article itself brings up).
  • Spaying or neutering is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your pet, your family, and your community. These routine medical procedures not only help control pet overpopulation, but they may also prevent medical and behavioral problems from developing, allowing your pet to lead a longer, healthier and happier life.” – Best Friends, “Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Handout: some of Canine Journal’s top benefits of neutering are health-related.
  • Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.AVMA, “Spaying and Neutering” (again, factually correct, but it omits the newer findings of health problems tied to neutering your dog).
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