Good news for dog lovers! Research published in PLOS ONE yesterday [April 17,2013] provides yet another reason to spay or neuter your pet! Sterilization in canines, according to the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine study, actually lengthens their lives. Dogs that had been sterilized lived an average of 9.4 years, while those not sterilized averaged only 7.9 years.
The lengthened life span does bring with it different causes of death. For instance, sterilized dogs in the study died of cancer more frequently than intact ones. That difference may be because “If elective sterilization increases life expectancy, then sterilized dogs might have a higher occurrence of diseases that occur late in life (such as cancer) simply because sterilized dogs live longer,” according to Dr. Jennifer Creevy, one of the authors of the paper and an assistant professor of internal medicine at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.
She goes on to say, “At the level of the individual dog owner, our study tells pet owners that, overall, sterilized dogs will live longer, which is good to know.”
You bet it is. It comforts us to know that by being responsible pet parents we are increasing the time we will have with our beloved companions.