Community News Puppy Dog Tails — 10 May 2011

I visited my family in Spain recently. When I wasnt stuffing my face, taking in the sights, wine tasting or power-shopping, I was noticing the local dogs and their male accessories. 

In Spain, it is not common practice to spay and neuter pets, which is obvious when you see the male dogs proudly parading around town, showing off their prized possessions.

Personally, I am very uncomfortable around intact male dogs. Maybe its because Im not used to seeing dogs in all of their glory; I work mostly with fixed animals. Nothing against their male parts, but in the long run, a neutered male is a happier, healthier male.

While there is a bit of controversy regarding the right timing for spaying and neutering, most rescue and animal advocacy organizations encourage parents to spay and neuter their pets between 3 and 6 months of age. The benefits of spaying and neutering are great for females and males, cats and dogs.

To begin with, a spayed female will not go into heat. Take it from me a dog in heat is a nightmare to deal with at home. Between the diaper and the pads and the fact that shes a dog who likes to lick and sniff and, well, you get it: you and your rugs are in for a seriously long and tedious few weeks. Yes, weeks; the average heat period last about 21 days.     

Additionally, a spayed female will be less likely to develop certain forms of reproductive cancer and will be safe from undesired pregnancies. Of course, your sweet girl would be happy to make beautiful babies with your neighbors stud muffin but we dont need any more homeless pets or amateur breeders in the world.

When it comes to male dogs and cats, the benefits of neutering are just as behavioral as they are medical. A fertile male isnt unlike an irresponsible teenager. Hell do anything in his power to find a sexy young thing in heat, even put his safety at risk. He will dig under your fence, run off when you open the door, and even get in fights with other males if he feels they stand in the way. You are likely to have more aggression and dominance issues with an un-neutered male, and they also run the risk of getting testicular cancer. 

While spaying and neutering can be costly, programs exist to help pet owners meet the expense. Even without financial help, however, the cost of spaying and neutering is minimal when compared to treating cancer and related illnesses. A great way to avoid the expense altogether is to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization that spays and neuters all pets before adoption. 

Spaying and neutering is really a no-brainer. Were very lucky to be living in an area where we understand the importance of ensuring the safety and health of our pets while keeping pet populations under control.

I know, I know, there are still men out there who cringe at the thought of their best friend getting neutered. But, think about it this way, fellas: nowadays dogs trade in their manhood for an N tattoo, which Im sure the spayed females find simply irresistible.

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Alexandria Times Staff

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