Common Myths

Myth Truth

I love my pet so much, I want another one just like her.

Your pet's offspring won't be exactly like their mother or father. It is entirely possible that the puppies or kittens will inherit their parents' worst traits rather than the great ones you are trying to duplicate. And of course it takes a mother AND father to create a litter... so at best your pet's offspring would only get half of his or her characteristics.
But have you ever noticed how each child in a family is different from her siblings and parents? The same is true for animals. No youngster is an exact clone of just one parent. Each animal is an individual with lovable quirks and habits of its own.

A female cat or dog should have a litter before she is spayed.
There is no reason why your pet should have a litter before being spayed. In fact, the sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future. Learn More...
A neutered dog won't make a good watchdog.
Aggressiveness is not the same as protectiveness: a sterilized dog protects his/her home and family just as well as one who hasn't been neutered. What's more, early neutering can prevent unwanted aggression.
My pet will become fat and lazy.
Pets become fat and lazy if they get too much food and not enough exercise. It is true that altered animals need fewer calories. But there's an easy way to keep them fit and healthy: cut down on their meals and treats, provide toys to keep them busy, and make sure they get their walks or playtime every day.
My children will not have the chance to witness "the miracle of birth."
Did you know that your pet may get sick and even die during pregnancy and birth? Also, it is not uncommon for one or several of the babies to die within the first few weeks after birth. Why not get a book and teach your children about birth without endangering your family pet's health?

Most animals will give birth at night and away from the family in a quiet corner. But even if children are able to see a pet give birth, the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and later given away as it suits us. Explain to your children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

If you really want the full experience, please consider caring for a litter of kittens or puppies who are already born instead of creating more animals when there are so many who don't have a family to love them. Most animal shelters and rescue groups are always looking for foster homes. You will make a great difference for homeless animals, your kids will love it just as much, and you will be teaching them to treat animals responsibly.
It is not safe to spay a female before her first heat. Early spay or neuter is risky.
As long as a kitten or puppy is healthy, weighs more than two pounds, and is two months old, he or she can be neutered or spayed. Male rabbits can be neutered as soon as their testicles become visible (at 3 to 4 months of age). Female rabbits can be spayed at 4 to 5 months old. Veterinary medicine has made great strides in recent years and many veterinarians now practise perfectly safe early sterilization.
Neutering is cruel and painful to the pet.
Every surgery carries certain risks, but sterilization is the most common surgery performed on animals today. Spays and neuters are performed with the same general anesthesia used in human medicine, and pain medication is available for animals that need it.

Most pets can go home the same day. And with just a little rest and TLC, your pet will feel just fine in a couple of days. In fact, many males act perfectly normal the day after surgery so don't be surprised if your freshly neutered dog tries to play ball with you as soon as he gets home. You may find that the most worst thing you have to deal with is trying to keep your dog from running and jumping for a while (7-14 days after surgery depending on your vet's recommendations).

Kittens and puppies are so adorable that it will be easy to find homes for them.
In six years, one female dog and her offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies, and in seven years one cat can be the source of 420,000 kittens! But even if your pet does have "just one " litter, it won't be easy finding good homes for all of them. Every year hundreds of kittens and puppies die in shelters right here in San Diego County. Most of them are perfectly healthy and cute, but there simply aren't enough homes for them. It's not a question of age or cuteness... it's pure math. Learn more...
We don't need to neuter males because they aren't the ones having the litters.
Every litter is sired by a male. A single male can impregnate many females in just one day! Also, neutering isn't just about preventing litters. It also improves your pet's health and behavior.
I don't want my male animal to feel like less of a male.
Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Your dog, cat, or rabbit won't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
My animal is a purebred so breeding her won't contribute to the problem.
A large number of animals killed at shelters and pounds are purebreds.  Remember, pet overpopulation is a problem of numbers, not "what kinds" of pets.
It's too expensive to get my pet(s) spayed or neutered.
The cost of spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost; and it truly is a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It certainly is a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and babies. Your pet's pregnancy and the time until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs. If there are complications things get even more expensive. Then there's the heartache if things go wrong and you lose a baby or the mother.

Most importantly, SNAP is here to help you. Check out our Low-Cost Resources to find out how you can get your pets spayed or neutered at an affordable price.

If you have a concern that isn't listed here, we invite you to contact us. Let's talk about it! Email SNAP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.