Why to Spay / Neuter Your Pets

Getting your pet spayed or neutered can / will:

  • Reduce the number of homeless pets killed
  • Improve your pet’s health
  • Reduce unruly behavior
  • Save on the cost of pet care

A USA Today (May 7, 2013) article cites that pets who live in the states with the highest rates of spaying/neutering also live the longest. According to the report, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs.

Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps.

Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system.

Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)

Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they  have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.

Curbing bad behavior

Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.

For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 5 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males.

In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.

Other behavioral problems that can be ameliorated by spay/neuter include:

Roaming, especially when females are “in heat.”
Aggression: Studies also show that most dogs bites involve dogs who are unaltered.
Excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related behaviors.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Cost cutting

Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to ten times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung around other dogs. Serious fighting is more common between unaltered pets of the same gender and can incur high veterinary costs.

All animals adopted out through Hiawatha Animal Humane Society are spayed / neutered prior to being adopted out into their forever homes.



Adopt, don’t shop – Top 5 Reasons to Adopt

Thinking of adding a pet to your family? Here are five reasons to adopt your new best friend.

1. You’ll save a life

Sadly, around 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets, and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven’t been adopted.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you’ll help save the lives of two animals—the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.

2. You’ll get a healthy pet

Animal shelters and humane societies are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition to medical care, more and more shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to make sure each family finds the right pet for its lifestyle.

It is a common misconception that animals end up in shelters because they’ve been abused or done something “wrong.” In fact, most animals are given to shelters because of “people reasons,” not because of anything they’ve done. Things like a divorce, a move, lack of time, and financial constraints are among the most common reasons pets lose their homes.

3. You’ll save money

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In addition, animals from many shelters and humane socities are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter’s fee a real bargain.

4. You’ll feel better

Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation in all age groups.

Pets can help your physical health as well—just spending time with an animal can help lower a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and dog walking, pet grooming, and even petting provide increased physical activity that can help strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation, and slow the loss of bone tissue. Put simply, pets aren’t just good friends; they’re also good medicine and can improve a person’s well-being in many ways.

5. You won’t be supporting puppy mills and pet stores

Puppy mills are “factory style” dog-breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most dogs raised in puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they’re no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either killed, abandoned or sold at auction.

Puppy-mill puppies are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores, over the Internet, and through newspaper classified advertisements to whoever is willing to pay for them.

Marketed as coming from great breeders, well-rehearsed sales tactics keep money flowing to the puppy mill by ensuring that buyers never get to see where the pups actually come from (a vital step in puppy-buying). Many of the puppies have serious behavioral and health problems that might not be apparent for months, including medical problems that can cost thousands of dollars to treat, if they are treatable at all. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not even aware that puppy mills exist, so when they buy a pet from a pet store, online or other retail outlet, they are unwittingly supporting this cruel industry.

By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren’t supporting cruel puppy mills with your money. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop purchasing their dogs. Instead of buying a dog, visit your local shelter where you will likely to find dozens of healthy, well-socialized puppies and adult dogs—including purebreds—just waiting for that special home—yours.


When Fluffy or Fido Goes Missing

We know that one of the most stressful things a family sometimes faces is when their beloved animal companion suddenly disappears. It is hard to think clearly at such a time so we hope this checklist will help you return your pet home quickly.

  1. Prepare flyers with updated information and pictures of your pet ahead of time!
  2. Contact your neighbors immediately and ask them to keep watch in the neighborhood.
  3. Check with your local police department.  Ask if your community has a dog pound and where they are located.

Lake City Police Department Non-Emergency Number: 651-345-3344

Wabasha County Sheriff’s Department Non-Emergency Number:  651-565-3361

  1. Contact your Post Office, mail carriers will often help keep watch.
  2. Contact veterinarians in your area. (Found animals are often brought to them)


Lake Pepin Veterinary Clinic – Lake City MN 651-345-2013

Zumbro Falls Veterinary Clinic – Zumbro Falls MN 507-753-2288

All Creatures Veterinary Clinic – Lake City MN 651-345-4040

  1. Contact your local newspaper, radio, and cable stations with “lost pet” ads
  2. Contact your local pet store / feed store as animals often turn up there or people have heard of a wandering animal.
  3. Check with your local Humane Societies!

Hiawatha Animal Humane Society (Lake City, Wabasha, Kellogg areas) 651-448-0396

Goodhue County Humane Society (Red Wing area) 651-388-5286

Paws & Claws (Rochester area) 507-288-7226

Winona Humane Society (Winona area) 507-542-3135

If you contact us at hiawathaanimal@hotmail.com we can post your pet on our website and Facebook page as lost and help you make flyers.

Of course, planning ahead is always the best way to prevent permanent loss. Having Fluffy or Fido micro-chipped is a very good way to ensure his or her return. Also make sure your pet wears a collar with name and address tang and PLEASE spay or neuter your pet; they will be more likely to remain “home-bodies”



The Truth About Declawing

Declawing Cats Can Cause Permanent Harm:

Many new cat owners are under the misguided impression that declawing their cats is an easy, harmless, quick fix for unwanted scratching damage.
The truth is, whether performed with a scalpel or the new laser technique, declawing is major, potentially disfiguring surgery that can have lasting effects on both the cat’s physical and behavioral health.

Potential Medical Complications:
Every cat that is declawed experiences days of pain and discomfort. But other, more serious side effects can include infection and tissue necrosis (tissue death) as well as lameness and back pain.
Declawing changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground, causing changes in the way they walk and creating discomfort similar to what humans feel when wearing an ill-fitting pair of shoes.
There is also the potential for regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.

Potential Behavior Complications:
For several days after the surgery, shredded newspaper must be used in the litter box. The unfamiliar smell and feel of the paper, along with the pain that occurs when scratching in the box, can lead cats to develop litter box aversion, a behavioral problem that causes them to stop using the litter box because of associating pain with the act of covering waste.
Also, because of the absence of their first line of natural defense, declawed cats may become biters in situations where they feel threatened or powerless.

Simply put, if performed on humans, declawing is the equivalent of cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

Train Cats to Scratch the Right Way:
Scratching is a normal, healthy cat behavior. They do it to relieve stress, stretch their muscles, mark their territory, and remove the outer sheath of their claws. However, this doesn’t mean that every upholstered surface in the house gets sacrificed to scratching.
Kittens begin to scratch at about eight weeks of age, which is the perfect time to introduce them to a scratching post, cardboard scratching box, or other “approved” scratching area. Experiment with styles and materials to find what your cat likes best. Adult cats can also be trained to use these surfaces.