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Pets benefit from sterilization

Pets benefit from sterilization

Q: My boyfriend and I bought an adorable Lab-pitbull puppy we named Otis. I want to have him neutered, but my boyfriend refuses. How can I persuade him?

A: Start by telling him that neutered dogs live longer than unneutered dogs. If Otis is as adorable as you say, your boyfriend will want him around as long as possible.

When male dogs are neutered, the veterinarian removes the testicles, which produce testosterone. Testosterone causes dogs to roam from home in search of females in heat.

One benefit of neutering is that Otis is less likely to roam and get lost or hit by a car. Testosterone also causes dogs to mark their territory with urine, even indoors. Having Otis neutered will prevent that, making him much more welcome when the three of you visit your friends’ homes. And neutered male dogs also are less aggressive, though they still protect their people and property.

It’s not just males that benefit from sterilization. Spayed female dogs are less likely than unspayed females to develop uterine infection, mammary cancer and other reproductive cancers.

Editor’s Note: Each year 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the nation’s shelters because there simply aren’t enough resources to house and care for these animals. To raise awareness of this issue and to hopefully decrease the numbers of feral and stray animals breeding in the wild, February was designated Spay-Neuter Awareness Month.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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