Neutering Your Dog

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

Neutering Your Dog

A bloody, flesh-torn mixed Retriever female was standing alongside a busy intersection. Cars racing by on a crowded Monday morning, commuters trying to get to work on time, all seeing the poor maimed dog but too late for work to stop and do anything about it.

With four puppies waiting for this mommy Retriever to find food and come back to the hole underneath the overpass to nurse them, time had run out. It’s been three days since she had left and due to her injury by a hit-and-run vehicle, she will not be returning.

The puppies will starve. The entire family lost…

This sad story is not an unusual one. In fact, thousands of unspayed dogs with puppies – the results of interbreeding between strays – are trying to survive through the country’s woods and city streets.

Those picked up by the local animal services are the more fortunate ones. With a chance for adoption, especially for the puppies, these animals are cared for and fed for a bit of time. And when that time period runs out, and it’s definite that nobody wants them, the animals are painlessly put to sleep.

Filling the cages of SPCA buildings all across the country, there are loads of puppies and grown dogs, purebreds and mixed breeds, large and small, black, brown, red and white – all unwanted. They wait eagerly for hands to pet them, to love them.

With patient, trusting eyes and wagging tails, they wait.

For some of the animals time has run out and they are doomed to execution. Adoptions are few and new puppies and kittens looking for homes are coming in every day. Funds and space are often limited and, unfortunately, this is not unusual for an animal shelter. Scenes similar to this are being recreated in thousands of humane organizations around the globe.

The dog population in the United States has increased tremendously due to indiscriminate breeding, and homes for these puppies are practically non-existent. The purebred dog might have a greater chance of being adopted than the mixed breed, but even his SPCA cage is not likely to be traded for the loving confines of a home and family.

Few SPCAs can claim even one third of their annual intake of dogs being adopted, and too many can only note the thousands that they have had to “put to sleep”.

A cruel reward for man’s best friend?

Yes, it is, but one that will and has to continue until pet owners can make up their minds to spay and neuter their dogs, thus preventing countless litters of unwanted puppies, who may be put to death only weeks after they are born.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

The first Humane Society was founded in England in 1824. The first in the United States, organized in New York by Henry Bergh and chartered by the state legislature in 1866, was the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It is limited to that state only, and, though there is no national organization, there are about 600 similar societies in the United States.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is the name for many independent groups, which do important work in preventing the mistreatment of animals.  These anti-cruelty societies influence governments to pass laws for the prosecution of persons who mistreat animals, and enforce these laws by investigating cases of cruelty.

They also perform periodic inspections of places where animals are kept. Ironically, these same groups have been put in the position of practicing executioners by today’s society and its lack of conscience.

To combat the number of needless puppy lives wasted, the Pennsylvania SPCA announced that it would “neuterize” male dogs that it puts out for adoption as well as females.  By spaying thousands of females since the mid-19 70s, the SPCA estimates that more than 100,000 potential litters have been prevented to date.

But a female dog can hardly produce more than two litters, or 10 puppies a year, while the male dog allowed to roam at will can impregnate as many females as he encounters. This fact alone changed their policy so that now every person adopting a dog of either sex is required to leave a deposit which takes care of the “neutering”  expenses. This deposit was refunded as soon as a certificate from a veterinarian is produced to prove that the dog was spayed or neutered.

(Note: Not all organizations offer a refund on a deposit or fee for adoption so consult the individual animal shelter for their terms and policies.)

Unfortunately, many people are too unconcerned to follow through and have the operation performed when the puppy is of age.  A change in personality and the possibility of obesity is feared, when, in fact, a change, if any, in personality, will make the animal a better companion since the desire to roam will have diminished, and obesity can be counteracted with proper exercise and diet.

Money, in many cases, is not the problem, even though the spaying of large dogs can cost as much as five hundred dollars. To eliminate even this at least one SPCA in New York had a special clinic set up just for the neutering of animals, and the state of California even had mobile units traveling to different locations to perform operations.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

Many dog owners consider it too costly to get their animal spayed or neutered, too much of an expense – one that is usually put off for a long period of time until either the dog gets pregnant or hurt trying to escape the yard and roam free outside while looking for a mate.

For that matter, when it comes to owning a dog, expenses in general are rarely considered. The everyday dog of an average family costs about $800 to $1200 per year in just food an care alone, but from there the price goes up.

The Commerce Department statistics indicate that Americans spend billions per year for pets and their comforts. These comforts range from a Poodle’s monthly beauty salon visit, complete with hair ribbon and nail polish, to a dog walker’s fee; from diamond collars, mink booties and lined raincoats to a personalized pillow and chair; from heated doghouses to chintz-covered casket in a pet memorial park. In fact, many pampered pooches live far better than a lot of people!

With birth control advocated and practiced by so many people today, it would seem only logical to include dogs, too.

Ecologists have brought the dangers of over-population to the attention of the public just as sympathetic animal lovers are trying to do in the case of a dog population – that has long since overflowed its boundaries. Due to the pill, legalized abortions, and a growing interest in vasectomies, the country’s birth rate has declined steadily.

With the public so birth conscience about itself, there is hope that it will apply the same thinking to its pets. The population explosion so feared and still predicted for our future has long since become fact for man’s best friend.

No place to go, no food, no man to love – they may live their life out in a matter of weeks.

In the future, with more apartments, fewer open acres, less food, and more polluted air, dogs and other pets might be limited to an even greater degree. A proposed ordinance to restrict pets to three dogs and/or three cats per residence was brought for action to the Reno, Nevada, city council. Other cities across the nation have followed suite with similar proposals.

Many unwanted pets are dropped along the roadside or abandoned in fields and woods. The belief that they will revert back to the wild and be able to support themselves is a falsehood that many pet owners think to be true.

Dogs, domesticated for so many generations, are the least likely animal to survive without human care. Usually, they are killed within minutes of being let out along the road by a passing motorist. Even hitchhikers standing by one of man’s most lethal inventions – the highway – survive longer.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

Unwanted dogs and other pets are often times carelessly tossed on the side of the road where they are expected to pick up their instincts to live in the wild and survive. But it does not work that way. Those dogs that are abandoned in the woods are destined for a slow, painful death, usually by starvation.

Few can hunt well enough to support themselves and those that do usually can only catch some neighboring farmer’s chickens. Half-starved strays often form packs, but this usually means that for self-preservation they will only cause more destruction by bringing down larger stock, such as deer, sheep and calves.

There has always been a question of how dangerous these wild packs of dogs are to humans. The Human Society of the United States in Washington, D. C. attributes only two deaths to children from dog packs in the Philadelphia area, but cases of maulings and maimings have occurred much more often.

A five-year old boy in South New Jersey had his left ear and part of his left leg bitten off by a savage pack of wild dogs early last year. Interbreeding and roaming the area for years, according to residents of the northern city where the incident happened, these starving wild dogs became desperate enough to try to kill and devour a small child.

Almost succeeding, they and approximately twenty five others were hunted down and killed or captured. Found also was a litter of puppies, “cute as could be”, who paid the price with their lives for the actions of their wild parents and some past human who deserted one or two dogs to begin with.

Dogs left on our city streets to fend for themselves are just as bad off.

Owners thinking to give them a chance to survive rather than taking them to an animal shelter where there is a possibility of a happy home, leave their dogs to face garbage-bred disease, poison, starvation, highway death, and even mutilation by sadists. The stoning of dogs and cats by children in most cities is a daily occurrence, which usually produces painful injuries rather than death.

Several years ago In Philadelphia, four school children on their way to class were bitten by stray dogs, as was a policeman who went to their rescue. The dogs were rounded up by police and sent to the SPCA for rabies tests and observations. Starved and homeless, little provocation was needed for them to attack, and where there was a possibility of adoption if they had been taken immediately to a shelter, now there was no hope, no second chance.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

Oddly enough, some of the greatest protesters of spaying and neutering pets are those people that consider their dogs not only part of the family, but also part of their religion.

“Until I asked my priest, I was afraid that I was going against my religious beliefs by spaying my dog,” said one woman dog owner, a member of the Catholic church.

Hers is not an unusual statement. This feeling became so widespread that the National Catholic Society for Animal Welfare (now the Society for Animal Rights) had to issue a statement concerning the spaying of animals. It says:

“Catholic humanitarians often are asked whether the church approves of spaying animals to prevent their reproduction. Catholic doctrine does not forbid the control or prevention of animal breeding. Animals are not moral persons; they do not have intellect and will. Therefore, there can be no moral imputability in limiting or preventing the breeding of unwanted animals.”

The statement goes on to say:

“Millions of cats and dogs to which homes are not available must be destroyed each year in the United States. Additional millions roam the country, homeless, uncared for and unwanted by anyone. Spaying of owned female dogs and cats, as a means of preventing the suffering caused by breeding additional unwanted animals, while millions of dogs and cats are without homes or care, is recognized by Catholic humanitarians as not only morally permissible but urgently indicated.”

Denying a dog the altering operation is done for any number of ridiculous reasons. One of the most popular excuses is for the children in the family to witness the “beauty of birth”. However, the ugliness of euthanasia just a few weeks later is never considered.

One woman in California took matters in her own hands when she was left with an over-abundance of puppies. She did so by parking her station wagon, loaded with the latest litter, in a local shopping center and handing them out to any passerby that would take one – man, woman, and even children.

No thought at all was given to their possible fate. Laboratories on the lookout for puppies to use in their experiments love a situation like this, as horrible as that may be.

Often a female dog’s reward for producing puppies is a trip to the pound along with her offspring. Her owners will keep one of the puppies, often a female to repeat the cycle, because it’s “so cute”, and forgetting all about their former companion.

Then there is breeding for money by unknowledgable owners, which is usually a disaster. Seeing the high asking prices in a newspaper’s ad for pedigreed puppies will inspire many to breed their own dogs. Putting their dog with that of a neighbor’s or friend’s of the same breed, but opposite sex, will often produce puppies of inferior quality that end up costing money after veterinarian’s fees, rather than making money.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

Did you know that more pets are abandoned during the hot summer months than any other time of the year?

Families pick up a puppy for the children to enjoy during their vacation at the shore or in the mountains, and abandon it on the way home. In sections of Long Island, New York and New Jersey, more strays have been found than usual after the summer months.

Trying to find homes for the strays and puppies is a never-ending job for humane organizations.  Some shelters feature a column in the local papers with pictures and information on available animals. Often a cute picture is all that is needed to stir up interest, although people who adopt a dog on a whim is of no help. Then it’s only a matter of time before the dog is returned to the shelter.

Some are brought back only after a few days because they “don’t bark when a stranger approaches the house”. Many people don’t realize that it takes time – at least a couple of weeks – for a dog to establish ownership and a sense of belonging. He then barks to protect something of his (a home and a family).

Too often a neighborhood burglary will send people to the local SPCA for a watchdog that ends up on a six-foot chain, day and night.  Because of this, many SPCAs perform house checks to see if there are adequate facilities before allowing one of the larger breeds to be adopted.

Though euthanasia is believed to be the worst thing that could happen to a dog, it is by far one of the best.  Laboratories all over the country are looking for animals on which to experiment. Hours, days, and even weeks of indescribable agony undergone by animals during experiments could never be compared with the finality and peacefulness of euthanasia.

Dog nappers, a constant threat to family pets, also supply many laboratories with vivisection subjects. And other laboratory source are the people who insert ads in local newspapers stating: “Wanted to buy: Your unwanted puppies” These are also many of the same people that also answer the advertisements: “Free to a good home.”

The SPCA recommends to make sure your puppies don’t wind up on an experiment table by checking on their new homes before allowing them to be taken. Unfortunately, SPCAs in some states cannot refuse to sell unlicensed, unclaimed dogs after 48 hours and licensed, unclaimed dogs after 10 days to laboratories.

The only way to protect family pets is to keep them from straying and to put tags on them so they can be identified if lost. Care and concern for pets by their owners would eliminate suffering, confusion and unhappiness experienced by too many a man’s best friends.

Neutering Your Dog: It’s Only A Matter Of Time

The neutering and spaying of male and female dogs, respectively, not only helps future generations of the animals but also contributes to the well-being of present pets. 

The spaying of females is never given a second thought by most people, unless breeding is definite because of the problems when the female comes into season. Unfortunately, the male ego dominates the fate of the male dog and getting the boy “fixed” typically sends chills of anxiety through the minds of men dog owners.

“Go right ahead and spay my female dog, but don’t touch my male!”

..says many men who associate their dogs with “themselves”.  The belief that the dog won’t be a whole true male bothers them and they don’t want to be responsible for its castration. Men stick together!

According to several veterinarians, there is no reason not to neuter a normal, healthy male dog and in fact provide many positive reasons for the operation. For example, altered males rarely roam the neighborhood or fight with other dogs, but are still protective of family and home.

Castrated at the preferred age of between eight and twelve months, there will be no personality change in the dog, only an elimination of the desire for the opposite sex. His male habits will not have developed yet and since he hasn’t found out about females, he won’t know what he is missing.

Be careful not to have the operation too soon!

If the operation is performed too early on the dog, his penis and urethra will not mature, causing stones that may develop in later years to be very painful and probably impossible to pass. Castration performed on a dog between one and three years may result in a change in his behavior pattern.

If the dog has been a wanderer (always searching for females) or a fighter or sexually aggressive, even toward people, especially children, the operation will take an edge off his obnoxious behavior. Suddenly beginning to wet in the house after 2 ½ years, one male dog stopped this spraying behavior immediately after castration – reported his owner.

Older dogs may hot change at all.

Unfortunately, castration doesn’t always succeed in making the older dog a nicer pet. If the dog is naturally a garbage hound or a runner, there will be no change in his behavior pattern.  If the sex habits are ingrained in his make-up, he will continue them even though the reason has gone.

This is one excellent reason why castration should be done before the dog is a year old – to eliminate instincts before they become habits, habits impossible to change later in life.

Neutering Your Dog

Does having your dog spayed or neutered make a negative difference in their behavior or personality?

Afraid that their dog will become a fat, lethargic “nothing” is a popular misconception believed by too many dog owners.

True, metabolic needs change after the operation (especially in regard to food), but with proper supervision of diet and exercise the dog will maintain his correct weight and former liveliness.

An altered male doesn’t lift his leg on prize bushes and flowers, killing their foliage, because the instinct to leave his mark everywhere has gone. He is less apt to have prostate trouble, such as cancer of the prostate gland; and a grouchy dog with medical problems, such as tumors or fungus of the testicles, will feel better and have a nicer disposition.

An unaltered male in a neighborhood with unspayed females is in agony and unlivable. According to more than one veterinarian, such a situation is very unfair to a dog that is not used for breeding, so consider your dog’s mental and physical frustration when considering the question of neutering.

The spaying of female dogs, more common and not filled with so much concern, also has points in its favor. A spayed female dog is less likely to pick up uterine infections than an unbred non-spayed female, and the discharge of a female in heat is eliminated.

And since females in season stir up male dogs throughout the neighborhood, the owner of a spayed female is much more popular with the neighbors.

An unspayed female in season and running loose is a public nuisance, and owners can get fined up to $1000, depending on where they live.

For the dog’s protection, she should be watched when outside if in season, and never left alone. More than one female left tied and alone outside by an ignorant or uncaring owner has been bred to death by males from which she couldn’t run away from. In short, neutering operations have more pluses than minuses in their favor for both male and female dogs.

The mounting number of unwanted animals is the greatest problem humane societies everywhere have to face. On one Saturday alone fifty-one puppies were brought to the Bucks County SPCA. With only eight puppy pens available, what was the solution?

Unfortunately, it meant immediate euthanasia.

Is this how we repay centuries of companionship and love? Man’s best friend is sometimes his only friend. What can be done about this needless waste of life? When considering spaying or neutering, think not only of your dog, but also of its possible offspring and their future and fate.

Put your ego aside, put your worries and fears aside, and remember – there are no reasons not to neuter and many reasons favoring the operation.


The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.

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