After you bring your new Shiba Inu puppy home, you will have to make many important decisions (hopefully some that you have already given thought to). What type of food should the Shiba puppy eat? Where will he or she sleep? What kind of training will you provide? Perhaps one of the most important questions you will ask is whether or not you spay or neuter your Shiba Inu.
If you have ever watched The Price is Right, you know that Bob Barker is a huge advocate for spaying or neutering pets. Why is spaying/neutering so important? Most bluntly put, “fixing” your dog ensures that no unwanted puppies are born. No matter how beautiful, smart, athletic, personable, etc. your Shiba Inu is, unless you are a reputable breeder, there is no reason to breed your purebred Shiba Inu. The only other reason to not spay or neuter your Shiba is that you plan to show him or her, in which case you will need your dog to remain intact.
You may be wondering, why is having puppies such a bad thing? The number one reason not to have puppies is that the country is overrun with unwanted dogs and irresponsible pet owners. Every year, approximately 1.2 million dogs are euthanized at shelters. Leaving breeding only to reputable breeders is one way to combat this problem.
Some owners rationalize that there is no need to spay or neuter their dog because they do not plan to breed. Here is where the word unwanted applies. Shiba Inus are escape artists, particularly if a male smells a nearby female in heat, or if a female Shiba is in heat. They can dig under fences, climb over fences, jump fences, and in general find ways to transform themselves into canine Houdini’s. During these escapades, it can be extremely easy for your dog to impregnate another, or become pregnant herself.
There are a number of sex-specific advantages to spaying or neutering your Shiba Inu, as well. For male Shibas, neutering can reduce aggression. By removing a dog’s testicles, the dog produces less testosterone and other male hormones, which reduces the need for your dog to act aggressive. If your Shiba Inu is one who marks his territory inside the house (an extremely uncommon trait for a Shiba), neutering can help, as well. For female Shiba Inus, and female dogs in general, spaying before the age of 2.5 years can eliminate many common health problems. These include a sharp reduction in mammary tumors, which are the most common cancerous tumors in female dogs; elimination of the risk of pyometra; reduction in risk of perianal fistulas; and reduction in risk of uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors.
Very few (good) reasons exist in the argument of not spaying or neutering your Shiba Inu. Be aware that spaying too early can also cause health problems, so be sure to discuss these concerns with a reputable veterinarian. Many people worry that their dog will feel “wimpy,” or will miss out on the “joys of motherhood” if spayed or neutered. This just simply is not the case. Spaying or neutering your Shiba is one of the most responsible decisions you can make during your dog’s lifetime!