Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Furry Friends Feature: Myth Busters: Spay and Neutering Your Pet

Nationwide, animal shelters are overloaded including here in Greater Williamsburg. In the midst of a busy puppy and kitten season, Heritage Humane Society is in myth buster mode to help area residents understand the benefits of spay and neutering.

The area shelter receives routine requests for spaying and neutering. It does not have a hospital component at the shelter and recommends that people contact one of these local veterinary practices or another one of their choice for spay and neutering questions or to schedule the procedure.

Myth: Spay or neutering my pet will change its personality.
Busted: Spay and neutering dogs and cats actually makes them less aggressive. By fixing them, they are not prone to the fluctuating hormone levels. This also keeps them from spraying the house as a way to mark their territory. They are calmer and less likely to nibble (or more) on home decorations such as cushions and furniture. Spaying or neutering can actually improve your pet’s relationship with their human companions and friends.

Myth: Spaying or neutering my pet will lead to laziness and weight gain.
Busted: Nope, spaying or neutering pets will not cause them to become lazy or less energetic and it won’t cause weight gain. Since fixing them will reduce hormones and slow their metabolism, it is important to talk with the veterinarian about what their food portions should be reduced to after their surgery. It’s also important to keep treats to no more than 10% of their diet each day and avoid giving them table scraps, which can be loaded with calories.

Myth: My pet can’t get pregnant because she’s indoors or always on a leash.
Busted: During the hustle and bustle of getting groceries in the house, taking out the trash, or receiving a package, it is easy for a pet to slip out. By removing the risk of pregnancy, you are assured that there are no unwanted litters or complications for your pet or the litter than can happen during pregnancy or after.

Myth: Altering my pet can compromise their health.
Busted: Spaying or neutering can actually protect your dog or cat from certain types of cancer. Spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus. Without these organs, ovarian cysts, uterine infections and cancer of the reproductive tract are no longer a concern. Studies have shown that dogs spayed before puberty have a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer than dogs who are not spayed or eventually spayed later in life.

Myth: My puppy or kitten is too young to be spayed or neutered.
Busted: Pets reach their maturity age much faster than humans do. Dogs and cats reach puberty by six months of age. This may vary by breed as smaller breeds may mature earlier, while large breeds may take up to two years. Veterinarians usually recommend having your pet spayed or neutered six to nine months of age. Also, a female dog or cat does not need to complete her first heat cycle before being spayed.

Myth: If my pet has a litter, I know plenty of people who will adopt them.
Busted: The heartbreaking reality is that the number of pets that are bred in the world far exceeds the number of people willing to take them into their homes. Many kittens and puppies end up at shelters, which are already overcrowded and understaffed. Others end up neglected or trying to survive on their own even though they are domesticated animals who depend on humans for basic shelter, food, water, and health care.

Dogs and cats adopted through the Heritage Humane Society already have their first round of immunizations, are microchipped, and by state law, are already spayed or neutered. Save money and change lives – yours and homeless pets – by adopting a dog or adopting a cat at the Heritage Humane Society. For those unable to, there are fostering, volunteer, and donation opportunities to help support the welfare of Greater Williamsburg’s homeless pet community.

To learn more and to register your dog for training, visit HeritageHumane.org or call 757-221-0150. Heritage Humane Society is located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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