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Common Myths/Excuses For Not Spaying/Neutering Pets

MYTH:  My pet will get fat and lazy.

FACT:  The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don't give them enough exercise.

MYTH:  It's better to have one litter first.

FACT:  Medical evidence indicates just the opposite.  In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier.  Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.  Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

MYTH:  We want another pet just like Rover and Fluffy.

FACT:  Breeding two purebred animals rarely results in offspring that are exactly like one of the parents.  Wtih mixed breeds, it is virtually impossible to have offspring that are exactly like one of the parents.

MYTH:  My children should experience the miracle of birth.

FACT:  Even if children are able to see a pet give birth - which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion - the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults.  Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

MYTH:  But my pet is a purebred.

FACT:  So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country.  There are just too many dogs and cats - mixed breed and purebred.

MYTH:  We can sell puppies or kittens and make money.

FACT:  Even well-known breeders are fortunate if they break even on raising purebred litters.  The cost of raising such a litter - which includes stud fees, vaccinations and other health care costs, and feeding a quality food - consumes most of the "profit."  Well-known breeders raise breeds that they like.  These breeders also try to improve the standard of the breeds they raise.

MYTH:  I don't want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.

FACT:  Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego.  Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality.  He doesn't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

MYTH:  I want my dog to be protective.

FACT:  Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural instinct to protect home and family.  A dog's personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

MYTH:  I am concerned about my pet undergoing anesthesia.

FACT:  Placing a pet under anesthesia is a very common concern of owners.  Although there is always a slight risk involved, the anesthetics currently used by veterinarians are very safe.  Many veterinarians use equipment that monitors heart and respiratory rates during surgery to ensure that their patients are doing well under anesthesia.  Thus, the medical benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered far outweigh the slight risk involved with undergoing anesthesia.  Consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about this aspect of the procedure.

MYTH:  It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.

FACT:  The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet.  Many vets will want you to do pre-op bloodwork but this is an option, especially on a young pet.  A typical spay should only be about $100-$150.  There are also other options.  There are low cost spay and neuter clinics in most areas and many local programs like SPOT (Stop Over Population Together) in Atlanta that can assist in the cost of altering your pet.  You can also go to your local Humane Society and get a certificate with a list of veterinarians who will honor it.  This certificate requires the vet to alter your pet at a set rate they agreed to with the county.

MYTH:  I'll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.

FACT:  You may find homes for all of your pet's litter.  But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters that are already alive and who need good homes.  Each puppy you have in a litter essentially kills one in the shelter.  Also, in less than one year's time, each of your pet's offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population.  The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

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