Whether you’ve recently adopted a dog or you’re considering it, one of the most important health decisions you’ll make is whether to spay or neuter your new pet.
When it comes to “fixing” male dogs, specifically, there’s a lot of misinformation swirling around. (“It’ll make my dog fat” and “it’ll change his personality” are two common myths that we’d like to bust forever!) Some pet parents even express guilt over neutering their dogs. But trust us, he doesn’t mind, and here’s why:
Neutering provides major health benefits. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male pup prevents testicular cancer and significantly reduces the chance of certain prostate problems as he ages.
Your neutered male will be more at peace. Neutering won’t affect your dog’s working abilities, friendliness or playfulness! However, it will likely reduce undesirable, sometimes dangerous behaviors including urine marking, attempts to roam away from home, aggression toward other dogs and inappropriate mounting. These things stress everybody out—including him.
He won’t become a deadbeat dad. Every year, millions of dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. You wouldn’t want your beloved pooch to be responsible for creating yet another unplanned litter, would you?
Many states and counties have established safe, low-cost spay/neuter programs that make surgery easily affordable and accessible. To find an affordable program near you, search our Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Provider Database. If you're in New York City, the ASPCA mobile spay/neuter clinic offers partially or fully subsidized spay/neuter surgery for low-income dog and cat owners in the five boroughs.
Attention, pet parents: The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) has voluntarily recalled specific lots of dry pet food due to potential Salmonella contamination. No Salmonella-related illnesses have yet been reported in association with these product lots, but P&G is recalling them as a precautionary measure.
You’ve brought a new dog into your home—congratulations! Now comes your first dog-training challenge: house training.
House training is not an exact science—there’s no sure-fire formula or timetable that will work for every dog. The important thing is to make it a positive, not a stressful, experience. Being attentive, patient and consistent are the keys to success, along with the following dos and don’ts:
Do: Closely supervise your dog. Limit the dog’s run of the house to the one or two rooms where you are able to see her at all times. Dogs usually show “pre-pottying” behavior such as sniffing, circling and walking with stiff back legs; all signs that you should get her to the potty area ASAP! As the training begins to take hold, you can slowly enlarge her territory as she learns where the potty area is—and that the house is not a toilet!
Don’t: Yell at or spank a dog for a mess she made earlier. If you catch her in the act, it’s okay to startle her by clapping or making a noise (hopefully this will stop her long enough for you to whisk her outside). But a dog will not learn anything by being scolded for a past accident, even one a few minutes old. Just clean it up and soldier on.
Do: Offer big, enthusiastic praise when she gets it right. Whether your goal is for your dog to eliminate on pee pads indoors or to do it outside, you have to really throw a party for her when she succeeds. Lavish her with praise, affection and some yummy treats!
Don’t: Rub her face in it. Ever!!! In addition to this action making your dog fear you, she’s incapable of making the connection that it’s the act of soiling indoors you object to—to her, you just really hate pee and poop. If she thinks that the waste itself is what you dislike, she’ll only get sneakier about hiding it from you.
A disturbing new trend—“pet flipping”—has been getting a lot of attention this week.
Pet flipping involves a criminal picking up a pet, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the pet parent of a missing pet, and then quickly selling the animal for a profit. Is your blood boiling yet? It gets worse!
According to Time, pet flipping is on the rise in cities including Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The stolen dogs are often purebred and very valuable. In March, an Indianapolis man was arrested after a three-month investigation found he had been stealing dogs for years, mostly purebred German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
“Many of these pets are housed in puppy mill-like conditions until they can be flipped—no food or water, caged and sick,” Dawn Contos, of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, said in an interview following the arrest.
It’s hot out there! And if your Golden Retriever or long-haired kitty seems to suffer when the mercury rises, you might feel some temptation to break out your grooming tools and give your pets a full shave-down. We get where you’re coming from.
But wait! Put down those clippers! According to experts, you’ll be doing your pet a disservice. Here’s why:
While you or I would hate to sport a fur coat in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief.
“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”
Dogs’ coats have several layers, and these layers are essential to your dog’s comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. And keeping your dog cool isn’t the only reason to leave his coat intact, Dr. Murray warns.
Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.
To protect your pet from sunburn and skin cancer, save longer walks for evenings, and consider applying pet-specific sun block to thinly covered areas like the bridge of your dog’s nose, the tips of his ears and his belly, Dr. Murray suggests, noting that pets with thin coats, as well as those with white or light-colored coats, are especially at risk for sun damage.
There are better ways to manage your pets’ coats to keep them cool: trimming and brushing.
“It’s OK to trim your long-haired dog’s long hair, such as any hair that hangs down on his legs,” Dr. Murray says. Just never attempt to clip mats off your pet’s coat with scissors, Dr. Murray adds. And if you’ve got a long-haired kitty, leave her coat intact. Instead, brush her a little more frequently during the hot summer months.
Of course, pet parents should remember to keep pets inside with plenty of water during hot days—hydration is key! For more important information on summer pet care, visit our Hot-Weather Tips. Stay cool out there!