My husband doesn't want to talk about having our 2-year-old dog neutered. Can you help? Pam R., Seminole
Mention the word "neuter" and men often become very uncomfortable. As if this surgery somehow affects their own anatomy. Why? Dogs and cats, unlike people, do not dream of a committed relationship with Mr. or Ms. Right, nurturing their offspring for 18 years and anticipating grandchildren. Here are some related questions and answers:
What about spay and neuter basics?
Sterilizations — spay for the female and neuter for the male — are the most common veterinary surgeries performed, with many advantages. Aside from preventing unwanted litters, sterilization reduces the risk of certain health problems, including cancers, allowing you more years with your pet.
What about the miracle of birth?
Rent a nature video. The reality is in the United States, 4-million dogs and cats are euthanized every year because there are no homes for them. Neutering or spaying is the difference between life and death for so many animals.
Will my male dog become a sissy?
Your canine's charisma will not change after neutering. He will remain playful, friendly and social, and less desirable behaviors like inappropriate mounting, urine marking, aggressive behavior to other dogs and roaming will be greatly reduced.
Will my pet become fat?
Pets become overweight due to too much food and not enough exercise. In this respect, they are like their humans.
When can this be done and is it expensive?
Anytime after 8 weeks of age and up. Ask your vet about the full cost of a procedure. A list of low or no-cost sterilizations is available at www.SPCATampaBay.org. The SPCA has a program for people on limited income. As a part of the SPCA's Fix-a-Pit Program, pit bullterriers and pit bull mixes can be fixed for free. Applicants can enroll on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SPCA in Largo 9099 130th Avenue N. For more information, visit www.SPCATampaBay.org.
Paulette Keller is a SPCA Tampa Bay volunteer. If you have questions you'd like the SPCA to answer, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "Ask the SPCA'' in the subject line. Or mail it to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Photos will be used as space allows and cannot be returned.