As a potential dog or cat owner, you have many things to consider. You need to determine what breed best suits you, your family, and your space. You need to consider whether you will purchase a purebred or adopt an animal from a shelter. You have many choices, but one thing is absolutely essential: You must have your new pet spayed or neutered. Between five and eight million dogs and cats are killed in shelters each year due to an out-of-control animal population. Still, you may hesitate to have the procedure done because you believe one of the following myths.
One Litter Myth
Some pet owners still feel strongly that their female dogs or cats should be allowed to have at least one litter before being spayed because it is healthier for them. Veterinarians have found that the opposite is true. Spaying before an animal comes into her first heat, or fertile period, makes for a healthier animal, as it reduces the chances of mammary cancer and spares the animal the stress of giving birth. Pets can be safely neutered as early as eight weeks of age.
If you purchase a purebred, you may have in mind that some day you will breed your animal and raise a splendid line of dogs or cats. Others have felt the same way, which is why one-fourth of all shelter animals are purebreds. Half of all animals that end up in shelters are euthanized, and purebred status does not save them.
You may worry that your male animal will feel like "less of a man" after neutering, but that is a human concern and not an animal one. Pets do not have the same sense of sexual identity that humans do, and their personalities are not changed after the procedure. Their behavior may well improve, as they are less likely to fight, and they will not wander off to pursue females. Also, male dogs will not become less protective. They will still guard you and your home.
Since money is often an issue, many shelters offer low-cost spaying and neutering programs. Organizations such as Spay USA can refer you to one of these programs in your area. Owning a pet is a wonderful experience that comes with certain responsibilities. Having your animal spayed or neutered is the most important action you can take to keep more unfortunate animals out of the nation's shelters.
To learn more, contact an animal hospital like Caring Hands Animal Hospital.