Why should I spay or neuter my dog?
We receive questions on this topic regularly.
- Pet overpopulation isn't as big of a problem as it seems, right?
- Wrong. Pet overpopulation is a HUGE problem. It is difficult to obtain exact figures of how many dogs are euthanized in shelters every year (there is no requirement for these numbers to be reported), but the reports paint a grim picture for these dogs.
- 90% of dogs entering shelters are considered healthy and adoptable, yet only 25% are ever adopted from the shelters.
- Approximately 25%-30% of dogs in shelters are purebred.
- Reports suggest that more than 50% of the healthy dogs who enter animal shelters every year are euthanized simply because the shelter is full.
- This equates to approximately 2 million healthy dogs being euthanized every year in shelters, simply to make space.
- Dogs who are surrendered to a shelter by their owner are likely to be euthanized without ever being made available for adoption.
- Do spayed/neutered dogs live longer?
- According to this article, neutered males live 18% longer than un-neutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.
- Are spayed/neutered dogs healthier?
- Spay/neuter surgery can prevent certain illnesses, and is much less costly than treating any of these illnesses:
- Spaying a female before her first heat cycle drastically decreases her risk of mammary cancer, and eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Spaying a female eliminates the chance of her getting pyometra, a life-threatening uterine infection.
- Neutering males decreases the risk of prostate cancer and prostate enlargement.
- Neutering males eliminates their risk of testicular cancer.
- Does spaying/neutering a dog reduce behavioral problems?
- According to this article, spaying/neutering can decrease many common behavior problems, without changing the dog's personality.
- Spayed/neutered dogs are much less likely to engage in urine marking. Yes, even females are known to mark.
- Spayed/neutered dogs are less likely to try to escape in order to find another dog to mate with. This DOES NOT reduce the need to supervise your Siberian and use proper containment - they may still attempt to escape for other reasons.
- Dogs who are spayed/neutered are less likely to bark excessively, hump, and engage in other dominance-related behaviors.
- Dogs who have been spayed/neutered are less likely to show aggressive behaviors toward humans and other dogs.
- Spayed/neutered dogs are generally more docile and easy going.
- I think my dogs are great and want to breed them. The puppies will be just as great, and I'll make a little money by selling them. Why shouldn't I?
- Responsible, reputable breeders do not make money from breeding dogs. Actually, they often lose money.
- Veterinary care must be provided for a pregnant dog, as well as medical care, vaccinations, and worming for the puppies. This can be expensive.
- A pregnant or nursing dog eats a lot! High quality food for mom and the puppies is essential - and costly.
- There is no way to know how many pups will be in a litter, and the costs increase exponentially with each additional puppy.
- Speaking for Spot provides a few valid considerations concerning breeding.
- Pregnancy is risky. Many dogs have complications that are costly and can be life-threatening. Some deliveries require a cesarian section, often as an emergency procedure.
- Breeding dogs involves a huge time commitment. Pups must be cared for and cleaned up after around the clock for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. They must also be socialized properly, which requires your time and attention every day.
- Just because your dog has a great temperament, that doesn't necessarily mean their offspring will. Just like people, dogs develop their own personalities which may be very different from the personalities of their parents.
- Most pet dogs are not suitable for good breeding. Good breeders make sure that both parents are healthy and free from genetic health issues that could be passed on to puppies. They also know that these health issues are not in either parent's lineage, going back a few generations. Most pet owners do not have this information, and it is not possible to get this information on dogs from a rescue or shelter.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we firmly believe that responsible breeding should be done only by those knowledgeable Siberian breeders who are looking to IMPROVE the breed and not just bring cute puppies into the world. If you truly care about the Siberian breed, you owe it to the breed to produce only the best possible examples of the breed, conforming to the Siberian standard in every way. This means that the stud dog and bitch are excellent examples of the standard in form, temperament and function and this is not just assumed by you but actually proved in the show ring or on the trail. It means you have done all the necessary medical testing to ensure hereditary diseases such as cataracts, hip dysplasia, epilepsy and auto immune disorders are eliminated from your breeding program. It means you breed only to these standards to produce the BEST example of the breed possible and think beyond your "beautiful" dog. Everyone thinks their dog is beautiful. All those dogs dying in shelters would be beautiful too if you cleaned them up and gave them a good meal.
You certainly have the right to breed your dogs. But you have a RESPONSIBILITY to the breed that needs to come above your personal wants and wishes if you wish to breed ethically. You can ignore this responsibility-certainly many do and justify their decisions to make them feel better. But the bottom line is this-if we wish to keep the Siberian looking and acting and working like a Siberian, we need to have higher standards than just breeding our beautiful pets. We need to breed only those dogs that have proven to be outstanding examples of the breed in form, function and temperament. Anything less is doing a huge disservice to the breed and the fanciers everywhere.