The Importance of Spaying and Neutering Your Dog

October 16, 2009

When you go into a shelter, I’m sure you’ve noticed that they are usually full of dogs. The actual statistics on how many dogs die each year in the shelters vary, but I think I’d be safe to say that at least 60% that go in, don’t come out. I thought that I would explain why this issue is so important and what we can all do to help save the dogs in our country from becoming another shelter statistic.ChihuahuaChiChiBelle2FrenchFries

Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders are one of the main causes of dog overpopulation. They breed dogs as a commodity, not caring about the health and welfare of their breeding stock, or the puppies they produce. These dogs usually are sold in Pet Stores as pure breed or designer breed dogs. They are sold at a premium price and oftentimes are sick and their temperaments are suspect and usually end up in shelters and rescues with serious illness or behavior problems.

People who allow their dogs to remain unaltered are also a main cause of dog overpopulation. The resulting puppies are almost always mixed bred who are sold in newspapers and grocery store parking lots. The people who sell their puppies this way have no way of knowing where these puppies are going and most will end up in the shelters due to a variety of reasons.

People who don’t think through the process of getting a puppy or adult dog also contribute to the dog overpopulation problem. These are the ones who end up getting rid of their dog several months or sometimes years later, because; the dog got too big, the dog needs too much attention, the dog needs too much exercise, or the dog doesn’t get along with the new baby.

The solution to this problem is simple.

1. Don’t buy puppies from puppy mills, backyard breeders, Pet Stores or grocery parking lots. Cutting off those that supply sick puppies or dogs breed purely for money will force them to get into a different business as soon as the money runs dry. When purchasing a puppy, either adopt them from a shelter, rescue or a reputable breeder. How do you know they are reputable? They allow you to come to their kennel and meet BOTH parents. They care about the breed and they care about YOU. They should ask you a variety of questions to ensure their puppies are going to a good home. You should feel as though you are going through a serious inquiry. This means they care.
2. Always have your dogs altered at six months of age. They will be healthier, less hormonal and thus, easier to handle, and they will not have puppies and contribute to the problem.
3. Consider adopting an older dog from the shelter. People tell me all the time that they want a puppy so it will bond with them and so they can ensure they grow up well socialized with good manners. These assumptions are INCORRECT. An older dog may have some “bad habits”, but most can be alleviated with a good dog behaviorist and a couple of months;  while a puppy will take over a YEAR to raise. All dogs require time and effort….why not give that time to a dog that will otherwise be put down?
4. And last, but not least, THINK before you get a dog. Consider all the things that go with owning a dog and make sure you are prepared for it.  Do you have the money, the space, the time to devote to another living thing in your house? And make sure you choose the RIGHT dog for you. This will eliminate the dog from being brought to a shelter or rescue when it’s discovered that dogs need all of the above to be happy.

Owning a dog is one of the most wonderful things in the world. EVERYONE should know the love of a dog. Please make sure you are informed when you decide you are ready to add more love to your family and help us who advocate for the dogs to keep them out of shelters and rescue and keep them in the home; where they belong.

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