In the wake of Mother’s Day last Sunday, I thought I would write this week’s article in honour of some very special mothers who find themselves with more than a few little ones to look after.
Everyone loves puppies and kittens, but not everyone is willing to take care of them.
While babies are fun in the beginning, they grow quickly and with mobility comes mischief. Even a small litter of babies can become a very big job in a hurry — requiring more food, more cleanup and more attention as they grow. (And do you know how hard it is to potty train three to four puppies at once?!)
Puppies and kittens are cute, and when friends and family come for a visit, it would seem that every one of the babies is going to have a new home as soon as they are old enough. Usually, by the time the puppies reach eight weeks of age, the interest has dwindled. While some are successful, many others are not — and only time will tell if it sticks.
Puppies and kittens are easy to fall in love with — so cute, so innocent, and so much fun! As they grow, these young animals need time, training and direction (especially when they reach their teenaged years).
Looking at statistical data provided by local dog rescue, Funds for Furry Friends, an average of 40 per cent of dogs rescued each year are under the age of one year old.
There are simply too many unwanted pets.
Population control is the No. 1 reason why spaying your female dog or cat is so important. The number of homeless pets nationwide is in the millions, and it just keeps increasing. With so many animals in need of homes, each unplanned litter only adds to the number of dogs in need.
Dogs that are spayed live a longer and healthier life. There are medical issues that include pyometra, cancers and mammary tumours that are much more likely to occur in intact females. Studies show that having a female spayed before she reaches her first heat will dramatically decrease the risk of urinary tract infections and mammary cancers.
Spayed females are much more content. A female in heat can be a noisy customer, vocalizing to try and attract a mate. In addition, a female in season is much more likely to urinate in the house, marking to advertise for potential mates.
A female in heat can also be much more competitive with other dogs. A female that is intact tends to focus a lot of time and energy on reproduction, where a spayed female has more time for other things.
There are a number of reasons why it’s a good idea to spay your female pets. Aside from unwanted puppies and kittens, it’s often the mother dogs that have the hardest time finding their own forever homes. (After all, a litter of puppies is a lot to compete with!)
Unwanted litters are always a surprise, and they can be prevented. This Mother’s Day, consider a spay!
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2012