To spay or not to spay

2015-05-28 06:00

Hi Susan,

MY vet says I should have my female puppy spayed when she is about six months old. I want her to have a litter because I have heard that it’s a good thing and makes a more fulfilled dog. What do you think?

Dawie Venter

Unless you are a registered and reputable breeder who undertakes to remain responsible for all the puppies you are allowing your dog to have, I agree with your vet. A reputable breeder will take back any of the puppies that owners later decide they no longer want. Rescue shelters and SPCAs are unable to home all the many thousands of discarded pets, who ultimately have to be euthanised.

Spaying reduces the chances of breast cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra, an often fatal infection of the uterus. Neutered male dogs will have a greatly reduced risk of testicular cancer and will be much less inclined to want to roam, thus reducing their chances of being killed on the road, injured in dog fights and annoying neighbours. The unpleasant inclination to lift the leg on your furniture will also be highly unlikely if neutering is performed early enough.

A female dog does not need to have a litter in order to become a better or more fulfilled dog. Behaviour is influenced by hormones, whether it is to fight for a breeding right or to love and nurture the offspring. Dogs do not have any interest in collecting baby clothes. The desire to breed is strictly hormonal, an evolutionary need to replicate genes.

Baby animals are cute, which is thought to be nature’s way of keeping them safe. Unfortunately, there are far too many cases of callous humans abusing and dumping unwanted pets who have outgrown the initial attraction of the cuddly “baby” stage.

If you really would like to spend time with a puppy, go to a reputable rescue centre where you will be welcome to socialise with the puppies and perhaps even adopt one when the puppy is due for adoption into a good, permanent home.

Send questions to info@dogbox trainingschool.co.za

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