If you live in Tulsa and have a dog or cat that is 6 months or older and is not spayed or neutered, then you are in violation of city ordinances and can be fined (unless you have a city authorized breeder's license). ARF will not adopt to applicants who have unsterilized dogs or cats.
Not spaying and neutering is being irresponsible and sentencing more animals to abuse and death.
Keep reading to learn about about how spaying and neutering your furry friend can keep it healthier and extend its life.
Why should we spay/neuter our pets?
Most reputable breeders and rescue organizations sell puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats with the agreement that the animal will be spayed or neutered. For puppies and kittens, they should be sterilized at 6 months old, although some groups allow male dogs to be neutered by the time they are a year old as some veterinarians believe that it's best to wait until a male dog is 8 or 9 months old to neuter. ARF spays and neuters at 6 months old.
Unless you have a breeder's license, you are required by the City of Tulsa to spay or neuter your pet. If your dog is picked up by the city, you will have to pay a fine if your dog has not been sterilized and you will be required to have the animal spayed or netuered before you can retrieve your pet again.
The basic disposition and temperament of your pet will not be changed by removing his or her reproductive capability. Neutering and spaying won't turn your pet into an obese, lazy animal. That is the result of excess food and insufficient exercise.
The benefits of spaying include:
Not worrying about accidental breedings.
The stress and inconvenience of confining the female dog in season (which is a City of Tulsa law, by the way).
Problem, expensive pregnancies.
The spayed dog won't develop uterine infection or tumors of the reproductive system as do so many unspayed bitches. An added benefit, it has been proven that if spayed before the first heat, the incidence of breast tumors is almost eliminated. If spayed before the second heat the incidence is still reduced, but not by as much.
The benefits of neutering a male:
Can make him more tolerant of other males.
Won't be stressed and upset by the scent of female dogs in season.
Less tempted to escape or wander or be distracted from their family or work.
Will not develop testicular cancer.
Lessens the desire to mark territory, making him easier to housetrain.
The risk of prostate cancer is lowered.
Dumb reasons to breed your dog:
Having puppies would be fun. It is also time consuming, demanding, and expensive. By four weeks of age a litter of three to five puppies is active, dirty, noisy, and potentially destructive. Four more weeks of care are required before they are mature enough and socialized enough to go to their new homes. Do you have the time to devote to this project? Time to take or send a bitch for breeding, sit up for hours during whelping, and hand-raise the litter if the bitch is unavailable to? Time to buy and prepare food, feed, and clean up four or five times daily? Time to go to the veterinarian for check-ups, inoculations, and with a sick dam or puppy? Time to scrub floors and pens, clean up feces and urine, and give medication? Time to individually socialize each puppy daily? Time to answer telephone calls, talk with prospective buyers, and answer the same questions over and over again? Time for all the paperwork required, including typing accurate pedigrees, health records, care instructions, records of sales, and so on?
It would be educational for the children. Educate your children by taking them to the dog pound and showing what happens when people breed dogs and don't take full responsibility for them. Also, dogs don't whelp at your convenience, and the children are often in school or in bed at the time of the delivery. Care of the pregnant dog and properly raising and socializing puppies are tasks for a responsible adult. Plus illness or death of the dam or puppies can be expensive and emotional.
It would help us get back our investment. You may find that the rate of return is very low. A stud fee, veterinary fees, advertising, and the daily care and feeding of a litter is very expensive. That is not even considering complications of whelping, which can be costly.
It would help fulfill the dog's needs. Says who? While the instinct for procreation is strong, the dog has no conscious knowledge of what it is missing, no regrets, and no guilt feelings. Spaying and neutering will remove the instinct and the problems often associated with it, such as wandering and marking. Pregnancy not only contributes nothing to a female's health, but sometimes causes problems. A spayed dog can't be accidentally bred, and will not be subject to the uterine infections common in older, intact females.
It will improve the dog's temperament if she was bred. No animal whose temperament needs improving should be bred in the first place, since the temperament is most often the result of hereditary factors and shouldn't be passed on. Raising a litter will not improve her "mood." She might even be an unsatisfactory mother, necessitating much more work on your part.
If you are still considering breeding your dog, visit the dog pound nearest you. Ask how many dogs are put down monthly. Suitable, permanent homes are difficult to find for every breed.
Doesn't the Tulsa animal shelter kill dogs?
ARF's main mission is to save dogs from animal shelters. This doesn't mean that we are "against" shelters. We are glad they exist and enjoy working with shelter employees to save as many dogs and cats as possible.
Shelters get a bad rap. Often, volunteers answering the ARF line hear people say things like, "I don't want to take this lost dog to the shelter and they will kill it and it's a really nice dog." Unfortunately, local shelter workers must humanely euthanize thousands of animals every year. If they didn't perform this service for their communities, cities and towns would be overrun with starving and diseased dogs and cats. Instead of giving shelters a bad rap, we should be pointing the accusing finger at pet owners who don't spay or neuter their animals. It is disheartening to see how many applications we receive from people who have "intact" dogs and cats in their homes, especially since the medical benefits are widely known.
ARF volunteers check area shelters weekly for animals. Under certain circumstances, we accept "owner turn-ins" - animals that can no longer be kept by their owners - and rescues from closed puppy mills. When we rescue shelter animals we know that we aren't taking a pet that is wanted and owned by someone else. There are always more dogs at the shelter than we have space for - and that's the most difficult job our volunteers must perform. Most the time when a volunteer goes to a shelter it is with instructions to bring back a certain number of dogs - usually fewer than five. Deciding which ones to rescue and which ones must be left at the shelter is something that not every volunteer can or wants to do, so these tasks are left to a select few ARF members.
However, the homeless animals at the shelter are the lucky ones. They aren't roaming the streets and dodging cars - sometimes unsuccessfully. They aren't terrified, hungry, and thirsty. They have a nice place to rest and food and water every day. The shelter workers pet them and take them on walks. If they are ill or injured, they are seen to by medical personnel.
Shelter and rescue workers share common goals and problems. Mainly, we wish more people would be responsible pet owners so that millions of animals wouldn't have to pay for their owners' irresponsibility and inhumanity.
What are puppy mills?
We are asked this question often by the public. If you would like to know more about puppy mills and why they can flourish in Oklahoma, read what the ASPCA has to say.
My dog is an inside dog, so I don't need to give it heartworm preventative, right?
We hear this all the time, which shows that pet owners need better education concerning heartworms.
Heartworms are the result of mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can be found indoors and outdoors. They can also light on dogs and come right inside with them. Oklahoma's weather is so odd, that mosquitoes have been sighted in every winter month. Therefore, we recommend that dogs and cats be kept on heartworm preventative all year long.
Heartworms can be treated in dogs -- and it's an expensive treatment and not pleasant for the poor dogs -- but it is fatal in cats. Many cat owners don't give their cats preventative because they think it is too hard to give a cat a pill. All you have to do is grind the pill to dust and sprinkle it over the cat's food once a month and your cat is protected from heartworms. Or you can buy a product that includes flea, tick, and heartworm preventative that is in liquid form and placed between the shoulderblades of the animal.
ARF expects people who want to adopt animals from us to have their dogs on heartworm preventative.
To learn more about this horrible affliction, go to this website.
When it comes to your pet's health, be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. Visit your veterinarian at least twice a year.