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The Facts About Spaying and Neutering

Puppy Starter Kit

Each day thousands of puppies and kittens are born in this country and many will end up in shelters. The good news is you can personally make a difference by spaying or neutering your dog.

Sadly, there are still many misconceptions about spaying and neutering. Once you know the facts, you’ll agree—spaying and neutering just makes sense.

MYTH: Spaying or neutering is expensive.

FACT: Spay and neuter surgery carries a one-time cost that is relatively small when you consider the benefits. And remember this: the health care bills for an entire litter of puppies can add up quickly. In addition, spaying and neutering reduces or eliminates the possibility of cancers and other diseases of the reproductive system. Ask your veterinarian about financial assistance, payment plans, or the name of a reputable organization that may perform the surgery for a reduced fee or for free. Local humane societies will often have assistance available.

MYTH: It’s a shame to alter a purebred dog.

FACT: Unless you plan to show your dog for conformation, spaying and neutering is highly recommended for his health and well-being. Spayed and neutered dogs are still eligible for obedience trials, field trials, hunting trials, and agility.

MYTH: It’s healthier for a female dog to have a litter of puppies.

FACT: Actually, evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat cycle are typically healthier. If you spay a female when she’s young, you decrease the chance of mammary cancers, and other illnesses.

MYTH: My dog will get fat and lazy.

FACT: Overeating and lack of exercise will cause your dog to become fat and lazy, not spaying and neutering. Some dogs do become more interested in food after being altered, so you may need to feed smaller portions.

MYTH: My dog’s behavior will change after being altered.

FACT: You might be surprised to learn that spaying and neutering may improve your dog’s temperament. Dogs that are spayed or neutered tend to focus more on their owners and less on their mating drives. Males become less aggressive, less territorial, and wander less from their owners.

Ask your vet if you have questions—he or she can fully explain spay and neuter procedures to you and recommend the best age to have this surgery. In most cases, it is considered safe to alter dogs as early as eight weeks of age. There is no age limit for healthy dogs to be spayed or neutered, and even older pets can benefit from the surgery.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall

    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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