While the Chinese celebrate 2011 as the Year of the Rabbit, the Vietnamese zodiac says it’s the Year of the Cat (Năm Tân Mão ). People born under the sign of the Cat are said to be ambitious, talented, sensitive, compassionate and patient. Not surprisingly, they also clash with those born under the Rat.
Vietnamese zodiac aside, 2011 has also been declared the “Year of the Cat” by Care for Cats, a broad network of feline volunteer advocates in Canada. They plan to advocate for the welfare of Canada’s cats by raising awareness of the value of cats, dispelling cat myths, and addressing important issues such as spaying and neutering to curb cat overpopulation, implementing Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) programs for feral cats, and increasing shelter adoptions and “return to owner” rates.
As a domesticated species, cats need human care and companionship to not only survive but to stay healthy. According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) the biggest problem that threatens cats in Canada is homelessness. Although it’s impossible to determine how many homeless cats are in the U.S., the ASPCA estimates there could be as many as 70 million. Did that number shock you as much as it did me?
Getting a puppy or kitten is so much fun. Watching them learn, investigate new things and grow is exciting, but they soon reach the age where they’re mature enough to reproduce. It’s best to have them spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and this safe procedure can help prevent health issues too.
Responsible breeders take great care to make sure the dogs or cats they use in their breeding programs are healthy. They go to extensive lengths to try and eliminate as many genetic defects as they can through responsible breeding. For the rest of us, our duty as responsible pet owners is to spay and neuter our family pets before they are old enough to reproduce.
Some vets recommend spaying and neutering as young as 6-14 weeks, whereas others prefer to wait until the pet is closer to 6-7 months of age. Those in favor of altering as young as possible say it’s the best way to prevent accidental pregnancies. Vets who do early age spaying and neutering believe the pet heals more quickly from the operation and has less discomfort than those who are altered at an older age. However, many pet owners are concerned about putting their 8 week old puppy or kitten through an operation that requires anesthesia. Having your pet altered is a simple and safe operation any qualified vet can perform, whether it’s at an early age or when the pet is older. The important thing is to have them altered to give them a better quality life.
Female dogs that aren’t spayed go into season or into heat approximately every 6 months. This can be a real annoyance to pet owners and to all other pets in the household.
The heat cycle for a female dog lasts about 3 weeks. During that time her vulva will swell and she will have a bloody discharge. While she is in heat your dog will be constantly releasing pheromones which will attract all the male dogs in your neighborhood.
Do not leave your female dog alone outdoors when she is in heat. Male dogs will become aggressive and have been known to dig and jump fences to mate. Keeping your female indoors will help eliminate the fear of unwanted puppies or attacks by neighborhood males.
To spay or not to spay, that is the question. There are two schools of thought when considering spaying or neutering a dog. Do you realize that by spaying or neutering your dog, you may actually be saving their life? You cannot adopt a dog from a shelter without having it spayed or neutered; this is a requirement of most shelters these days. Spaying or neutering your dog also helps keep the pet population down and keeps the animal shelter populations down. This can also keep more pets who need homes from being euthanized.
Spaying a female dog keeps her from having an unwanted pregnancy and from getting mammary cancer, which is the equivalent of breast cancer in a human. Did you know that 25% of unsprayed female dogs get mammary cancer? That is one in four, which is even more frequent than women get breast cancer. Not only that, but an unspayed female dog’s chances of getting mammary cancer rise with each heat cycle she goes through before she is spayed. Spaying your female dog, even after she has had a litter of puppies, will decrease her chance of getting cancer.
Spaying a female dog is called an ova-hysterectomy; the operation is done under a general anesthesia, and the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes are removed. Because the spaying operation is more involved with a female dog, the fees are usually higher. During the recovery period your female dog should be leash exercised for about two weeks and discouraged from leaping or jumping for at least another month or two, to enable her incision to heal.
Neutering a male dog will keep him from looking for a female to spread his genes, and it can help if he is aggressive to other male dogs or likes to start fights. It can also help keep him from getting prostate cancer. Intact male dogs are quite often more independent than a female and will wander. A male dog can smell a female’s pheromones for up to a distance of three miles. Neutering a male dog is called castration; the vet will remove the dog’s testicles and part of the vas deferens, which carries the sperm to the penis. The operation is done under a general anesthesia.
Some people don’t want to neuter their dog because they’re afraid it will gain weight. This doesn’t always happen and can depend on your dog’s normal activity level. If your dog seems to be less active after spaying or neutering, then their daily food allotment might need to be adjusted. You can also try to help them exercise more. Just like people, our pets can gain weight if they eat too much food. Make sure you speak to your breeder or veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s food.
Some vets will suggest getting your pet spayed or neutered before they reach six months old, as this is when they can become sexually active. Some will suggest waiting and let the dog go through a heat cycle; however unwanted puppies and possible cancers can come from this.
If spaying or neutering my dog will keep them healthier and prolong their life, I am all for it. Aren’t you?
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.