The Paw Print Blog

Pet Parenting Articles

3 Reasons You Should "Fix" Your Pet

By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Affairs and Alliances

Jim with his dogs, Bodie and Sam

I think I know the basic definition of the concept of cause and effect. To be sure I was right, I consulted Wikepedia, which confirmed my understanding. Cause and effect (also written as cause-effect or cause/effect) refers to the philosophical concept of causality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event.

Having spent most of my adult life engaged in various efforts to protect animals, cause and effect means something a little different to me.

The failure to have one’s pets spayed or neutered CAUSES the EFFECT of the birth of unwanted puppies or kittens. It’s a simple concept, really. I suppose one could launch into a detailed “birds and bees” explanation. However, presumably, everyone in our readership has a pretty solid understanding of the origin of babies! If not, that’s a whole different blog… I digress.

Spaying or neutering our pets is the right thing to do. First, it gives you assurance your pets are not contributing to our nation’s burgeoning population of unwanted puppies and kittens. Pet overpopulation is a national international crisis. There are  tens of thousands more dogs and cats than there are homes for them.

Every unplanned, unwanted litter makes the problem even worse. Although their only crime is being born, which isn't a crime at all, the animals are paying the ultimate price. They are dying on the streets and dying in our nation’s overburdened animal shelters. Furthermore, having your pets spayed or neutered makes them easier to live with! Pets who have been “fixed” (I LOVE that term!) tend to be calmer and less aggressive.

They also tend to stick closer to home since the urge to roam is often the result of searching for a mate. Having your male dogs and cats neutered before the onset of undesirable behaviors such as a territory marking can prevent such behaviors from ever showing up in the first place. Finally, surgically sterilized dogs and cats are healthier. Spay/neuter surgery eliminates the risk of reproductive tract cancer and other diseases. If you want your best friend to stick around as long as possible, having him/her fixed is like an insurance policy. Let’s review.

The CAUSE of not having pets spayed or neutered results in the EFFECT of unwanted puppies or kittens. Simply put, it is life or death.

The CAUSE of having your pets surgically sterilized results in the EFFECT of a happier, healthier friend for life who is not contributing to a surplus of unwanted pets. Again, we’re talking life or death. Speak to your veterinarian or your local humane society for information or referral to a low-cost program.

Do it NOW.

There have been too many puppies and kittens born as a result of the “ooops factor!” Even if your pet is always indoors, it only takes one single escape. With spring rapidly approaching, shelters are bracing for a tidal wave of kittens and puppies who will most surely flood their facilities throughout the warmer months. It is up to all pet owners to do their part to stem that tide.

Have you done your part? Are you glad your pet was spayed/neutered?


ABOUT JIM Jim Tedford serves as PetSafe® Brand's Director of Animal Affairs and Alliances. Working on the front line of animal welfare for over 20 years, Jim has served as CEO for organizations in New York, Louisiana and Tennessee. Prior to joining PetSafe, Jim provided marketing and fundraising services to animal welfare organizations nationwide. Jim holds a degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Jim and his wife Ann share their “empty nest” in the Smoky Mountains with adopted dogs Bodie, Sam, and Lila and a formerly homeless macaw, Gipper.

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While I agree with desexing pets, just because a female is unfixed doesn’t mean she will have offspring, same with males.  A responsible owner can own an intact pet without that animal producing more.

We totally understand where you’re coming from, and each pet owner should make the decision that is best for his or her pet. Yet, as a general rule, spay and neuter is the right choice! Thanks for reading and sharing your opinions, we love hearing from you!

I’m not sure why people wouldn’t spay or neuter unless they are showing or breeding. Even being responsible with an unaltered dog @ home is taking a large risk, the risk of cancer. Why would you not want to alter a pet for any other reason than keeping them around longer? If money of spay or neuter is an issue than you shouldn’t be owning a pet in the first place. I get so annoyed when people say they are being responsible with unaltered animals and then produce an accidental litter of ten! Ten innocent babies who have the odds stacked against them…

Lindsey, thanks for reading and sharing your advice! We tend to feel the same way!

I have a 5 month male poodle who is my son.
For health reasons and a happier life for him, which is better, neutering or not?

Hi, thanks for visiting our site! If you read this post, you will notice we do recommend neutering your sweet boy. However, you should discuss your options with your vet for a more professional consultation.

Thank you for your prompt reply.
There are no mating opportunities and hence having unwanted puppies is not an issue.
In the absence of any mating opportunities, and if unneutered, will his desire be strong enough to make him unhappy?
Secondly, from a better overall health standpoint, to neuter or not neuter?
At the moment he is very healthy, happy and playful.
There are very polarized views for both on the internet and I want to take a decision purely based on what is healthy and will keep my boy happy.
After all, why was he born the way he is?

Thanks for your response! We suggest you take your questions to your local veterinarian for professional medical advice. We want you have specific consultation for your pet, and that would be the best option.

My vet is supposed to be the best in the city. She is pro neutering for any and every male dog. To me the ‘neuter one and all’ sounds unscientific.
Post neutering, is my boy going to be bubbly and happy or depressed and slugish? This is my prime concern. What is your experience?
Thank you.

I have a female dog, who is spayed, and she is just as energetic as she was before! Thanks!

Thank you. I never imagined that taking a decision like this could be so tough.

Anytime we are deciding something that can impact our pets, it is a decision that requires lots of consideration. We completely understand. Good luck!

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What about recent studies which conclude that the longer you delay neutering, the better the long term health of the dog? UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine reports that delaying castration of male dogs until 12 months of age or so is better for the dogs

I always have my pets neutered as it can cause less problems such as cancer in females and testicle problems in males later life.

I like that you mentioned the need to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  This only attributes to dogs and cats being homeless and in poor conditions.  It is also important to consider the health benefits as well.

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