Spaying or Neutering Your Pet
Some people have a hard time knowing the difference between spaying or neutering. Here is the dictionary definition from the North America Encarta English Dictionary:
Spaying: “to surgically remove a female animal’s ovaries and adjacent parts of the uterus”
Neutering: “to remove the testicles or ovaries of an animal”
Now that you know what it is, you have to decide if you wish your pet to undergo this procedure. It is a big decision and can affect your pet significantly, in more ways than one.
Not spaying or neutering your pet can mean that your pet can bear offspring, i.e. a litter of kittens or puppies. You have to decide if you want this to happen. You have to decide whether you wish you pet to be a mother, or if you wish your pet to stand as a stud for a female. Your pet in heat is equivalent to a human female going through a menstrual cycle.
Let’s start with cats in heat: When your cat goes into heat, she can behave differently from what you are used to. Your cat may become unusually affectionate and may even rub her hind quarters against your furniture, other cats or people. She will become unusually vocal and may howl for several days at a time. You may find her assuming a mating position with her head down, forelegs bent and rear quarters and tail raised, with her legs treading rhythmically as if she were walking in place. Cats may also tend to spray everything with a strongly scented fluid. If your cat does not succeed in mating, she could go into heat as often as every 2-3 weeks for several months of the year. Spaying will stop this and would be a wise choice, unless you intend for her to mate and have kittens.
Dogs in heat: The length and interval of a cycle for a dog in heat can vary with each dog. On average for most dogs, the time between heat periods is about 7 months. Some dogs can even cycle every 4 months and some only once a year. The average length of a heat cycle is approximately 3 weeks. Some can be shorter (as little as 7-10 days) and some can be longer (4 weeks or more.)
How do you tell if your dog is in heat? During the first part of the heat cycle, you will notice a bit of bleeding and some swelling of the vulva. There may be an increase in urination. You will probably notice an increase in male dogs hanging around your house. But, during this initial part of the cycle, your female pet will not allow the males to breed with them, even though the males may be persistent. Only during the next phase of the cycle will she allow a male to breed with her, and that phase can last anywhere from 4-21 days. After that the female will start to go out of heat and be less willing to mate.
Your female dog will allow almost any male to breed with her and if you do not want mixed puppies, it is best to either keep your pet locked up, hire a stud to service her, or get her spayed. If you do decide to spay your pet, it is best to wait until the heat cycle is over which can decrease the chance of complications.
If you decide to move forward, you must -as with any other surgery- prepare your pet for the upcoming procedure by providing the correct nutrients to strengthen the immune system. After the procedure is done, you must keep administering those nutrients in order to ease the recovery.
With the decision to not spay or neuter your pet, comes with it the responsibility of finding good homes for the offspring. Although it is possible, this can be a very tedious and time-consuming task. And, you really should consider the overpopulation of dogs and cats in today’s world also. Many are left abandoned by their owners. You only have to visit your local humane shelter to discover many unfortunate animals.