Susan was educated at the Montreal School of Dog Grooming and became a certified esthetician for dogs and cats in 1988.
Reasons to Get Your Dog or Cat "Fixed"
There are a few reasons why we, as pet owners, should ensure that our pets live long and healthy lives: They give us love and companionship, and they are our friends and our responsibilities. So, contrary to some arguments out there, here are the benefits of getting them fixed:
1. Reduces Pet Overpopulation
Spaying or neutering them when young not only ensures there is less overpopulation of unwanted puppies and kittens, but it also has a basis in medical reasoning.
2. Reduces Reproductive Cancers
There are a few forms of cancer that will affect a pet due to the animal not being spayed or neutered. Ovarian cysts, breast cancer, and testicular cancer are just three. Having a pet spayed or neutered reduces such risks.
3. Less Marking and Milder Odor
Additionally, the urine of an un-operated male cat or dog is extremely strong smelling. It is made that way for a reason. It is the animals' way of marking territory and also attracting a mate to breed with. One male cat spraying is bad enough but, when there is one, there will be more trying to overpower his scent with one of their own.
In the case of indoor cats, just the smell in the litter box of an intact male is enough to change your mind on the dos and don'ts of whether to operate or not. That odor, unfortunately, is strong enough to enter the weaving of your garments. Like a skunk smell, visitors will smell it and visiting a friend, you bring that smell with you. It is inevitable. As for dogs, well, they will burn the grass of your backyard, smell strongly, and might do some nasty things to visitors' legs.
Request: Do Not Call Your Pet an "It"
When all is said and done, spaying or neutering your dog or cat is a must. I only ask one thing. Once it is done, do NOT call your pet an "it." There is nothing that gets my gall more than that. Removing the sexual organs from your dog or cat does not make them become a table or a chair. They are alive, breathing, and part of your life. They are he and she, boys and girls, males and females . . . not an inanimate object. Believe me, they feel your words and insults.
Fat or Thin: The Responsibility Is on the Owner
So often I have heard that operating a cat or dog causes them to get fat and lazy. I have had three dogs and four cats over the years. All of them had been operated on when they were approximately seven to nine months of age. Not one of them got fat with age. In my job as a groomer, I discussed this many times with clients and found that it is mostly the pet owner and not the spaying or neutering that caused obesity in their pets. A little common sense and a good diet of quality food usually fixed the problem.
Treating Your Pet Well Means Keeping Them at a Healthy Weight
It is the human owner that causes the weight gain. Feel sorry for them? Maybe a bit guilty? Give them treats. Wrong move. Their diet should be regulated and their weight kept within norms. Extra treats and cookies and home cooking are more for our benefit than theirs.
An adult dog will be happy even getting two meals of dry high-quality dog food per day. No more than that. They do not need treats and extra cookies and who knows what. Killing them with kindness, is what comes to my mind. Treats and cookies are big business. Do not be fooled by all that advertising hype.
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Don't Refill Your Cat's Bowl Just Because They Look Hungry
For cats, I keep the bowl of dry kibble full. Put the food and water bowls on a counter or top of the washing machine, instead of on the floor, making them exercise to eat. I fill it to the brim and they have enough for a few days. They eat when they are hungry.
The trick is to not fill the bowl until every single crumb is gone. If there is even one grain left, it means they are not really hungry. When they are hungry enough, they will eat that last tiny crumb and then call for more. It is the way of all wild cats, the ancestors of our domestics, to eat when hungry and to be able to go days without food if need be.
Wet or Dry Food?
It depends. Yet, again, treats and goodies are for our benefit. Cats don't need them and most times they are not really good for them. A good brand of high-quality dry food is acceptable. A normal, healthy cat has too high a survival instinct to starve to death from being "picky." Put down the kibble, and when that cat is hungry enough after burning off the excess useless fat, he or she will eat.
As for dogs, dry food may actually help to reduce some tartar or plaque accumulation on their teeth (versus wet food only). Dogs, naturally, evolved to chew, right? And, as always, supply clean water daily.
Your Cat and Dog Require Exercise
Exercise is key. An active animal is a healthy animal. Once operated on, don't think a pet wants to be left alone, no longer the cute little kitten or puppy they used to be. Even adult cats love a good chase of a string or feather.
Make Sure They Get Regular Exercise
Take that dog for a walk. Rain or shine. It will do the animal good as well as the owner. My dog loves to go trotting along beside my three-wheel scooter. She can do hours of it. When you think about how far and how long wolves, foxes and coyotes can lope along in one day, your domestic dog is not much different. Operated or not, most dogs love a good long walk.
Be Wary of Heat Stroke
Go outside, leave the computer, and just play ball or throw a frisbee. Your dog will thank you. Just remember that in the summer, dogs can overheat as much as we can. Some dogs will not quit until you do. Keep an eye on them. If there are high temperatures, keep water handy and do not push them too much. Early morning or after sunset is a good time on days like that of full summer heat. If you walk with them or run them during the hot summer months, always be aware of their mortality.
Any season, rain or shine. A dog is usually up for a good romp, whether on the street or in the backyard. Make it a daily experience, not a chore. Playing inside the house usually does not give a dog what he or she needs as space is somewhat limited and the hazards of furniture could cause bodily injury.
If you play inside, keep safety in mind. When you're outside, be careful of trees. Many dogs, when chasing a ball or a frisbee, forget how hard a tree can be and can smash into them. Such accidents can cause injury and sometimes even death. Be careful, play safe. But play!
Halti Head Harness
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2016 Susan May Gudge